Television

With Talk of More All American Spinoffs Is the Franchise In Danger of Overextending Itself?

Since The CW revamped its schedule, the football drama All American remains one of the last originals.

Since its spinoff, All American: Homecoming, was also renewed and is scheduled to air sometime in the summer of 2024, it’s not overall surprising they want to capitalize on both.

It’s not uncommon for a TV to expand its universe into spinoffs. Most often, procedural-type franchises such as CSI, Law & Order, and the One Chicago Universe have done it.

However, we’ve seen teen shows do it successfully, including The Vampire Diaries universe on The CW and The Fosters transitioning into Good Trouble on Freeform.

All American and All American: Homecoming are succeeding the way they are. Do we need additional spinoffs?

What is All American About?

All American was inspired by the life of professional football player Spencer Paysinger. Daniel Ezra portrays the fictional lead role of Spencer James.

All American has seemed like a mixture of other popular teen television shows, including Friday Night Lights, The OC, and Beverly Hills 90210. Like Ryan moves in with the Cohens on The O.C., Spencer moves in with the Bakers and becomes like family.

Billy Baker cared about his players like Eric Taylor did on Friday Night Lights. He alternated between compassion and tough love because he often considered them his children.

Right from the beginning, All American oozed drama and tension and left audiences wondering if Billy Baker and Grace James had a fling that would destroy everything.

That scandal, plus the drama that the Baker twins caused, was enough to keep audiences glued to the television, and we haven’t even begun to discuss the leading couple, Spencer James and Olivia Baker.

Spencer and Olivia oozed chemistry from the minute they met, but at the time, it seemed forbidden since they were all living under her parents’ roof. However, they bonded in ways others didn’t understand, and it was hot when they became a couple.

However, Spencer and Olivia have had a complicated relationship when they’ve been on and off as they’ve experienced growing pains. It’s amusing that her twin brother, Jordan, ended up being engaged to her best friend, Layla.

Besides Olivia, Layla had one of the best character arcs. We’ve seen her admit her vulnerability, conquer her depression, and become a successful businesswoman. She’s a total badass who has helped and supported her friends, including Coop and Patience.

While All American: Homecoming has tackled sports and mental health better, the mothership has featured plenty about addiction, mental health, and grief, most recently with Billy’s death.

While everyone is moving on, they are still finding it difficult without Billy.

What is All American: Homecoming About?

All American: Homecoming had a backdoor pilot on All American Season 3 Episode 17, when Jordan, Simone, Spencer, and Olivia visited Simone’s Aunt Amara and toured Bringston University.

Initially, the spinoff focused on Simone’s (Geffri Maya) tennis aspirations and her love triangle with Jordan and infamous baseball star Damon Sims (Peyton Alex Smith).

Maya and Smith oozed chemistry, so Simone and Damon quickly became a rootable couple, just as Jordan and Layla did on the mothership. As Jordan and Simone ended their relationship, there wasn’t as much need for crossovers between the two shows.

The last time they interacted was in the holiday episode on All American Season 5 Episode 1 before Simone ended things indefinitely. Simone is stuck in another love triangle with Damon and another baseball player, Lando.

All American: Homecoming covered so much more than love triangles, though. They were better than the mothership at delving into sports and mental health issues.

Coach Marcus struggled with having bipolar, and after he melted down, he was determined to show his players that needing help wasn’t a weakness.

The series dealt with some core issues like bomb threats, sexual assault, racism, and danger. Near the end of All American: Homecoming Season 2, Coach Marcus and Amara created a student service building to help with mental health.

Is There a Need for More Spinoffs in the All American Universe?

Showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll recently hinted there were more stories ahead.

“I’ve been talking to the studio about some possibilities, so the ideas and interest are there. We’ll see what happens, but right now, our focus is on the mother ship and  All American: Homecoming and really seeing these characters through,” she says.

“But the beauty of this world, the universal story, and the pursuit of what is seemingly the impossible dream for the Black community are endless.”

Her dreams for the universe seem endless, as she often refers to All American as her multiverse. Carroll would love for the series to run for years, as Spencer and Jordan have joined the NFL and have their own families.

Ideally, she sees this generation as Beverly Hills 90210. Is it better to branch the characters into multiple shows or keep them on the mothership?

What Ideas Would Work for Possible Spinoffs?

The All American franchise is about watching the Black community achieve their dreams. When All American: Homecoming first started, the series branched off into Jordan’s girlfriend, Simone Hicks, fulfilling her dream of playing tennis at Bringston University.

The options are limited if the series wants to follow some of the same characters. The best option would be a new show or spinoff about Spencer getting drafted into the NFL and following his professional and Olivia’s journalism careers.

Another option could be following Thea Mays as she changes back to her professional tennis career.

Another interesting choice would be an All American: Homecoming prequel about when Coach Marcus and Amara were in college and he was drafted. There were hints that her family disliked him, and then Marcus took some drugs to assist with a sports injury.

These choices destroyed their relationship, but it would be exciting to see this play out versus only hearing about it.

Besides those options, the series would start with brand new characters in a spinoff, and that’s risky when viewers are already invested in long-term characters and story arcs. While they may get invested, do we need another spinoff?

What do you think, All American Fanatics? Should The CW create another All American spinoff or further invest in its long-term characters? What would type of spinoff would you like to see?

Let us know in the comments below.

All American airs at 8/7c on Mondays on The CW.

Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on X.

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