7 TV Franchises That Will Live on Forever

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24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY: Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) tracks a man suspected to be a key participant in a plot to assassinate the President in Part Two of the
Daniel Smith/FOX


Jack Bauer isn’t done yet. The original 24, which debuted in 2001, lasted eight seasons… and then got a chance to Live Another Day in a 2014 revival. Then FOX applied the real-time format to a new set of characters with 2017’s 24: Legacy. Now the network is developing a prequel series, an “origin story of how Jack Bauer became Jack Bauer,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Law & Order: SVU
Barbara Nitke/NBC

Law & Order

NBCUniversal’s cable channels need never worry about filling their daytime schedules: More than a thousand Law & Order franchise episodes have aired since 1990, thanks to the original Law & Order and its spin-offs Special Victims Unit, Criminal Intent, Trial By Jury, and True Crime. And then there are all the shows set in the same universe: Homicide: Life on the Street, New York Undercover, Deadline, Conviction, and all of NBC’s Chicago procedurals.

Keep Your Friends Close
Cliff Lipson/CBS


CBS’s NCIS is entering its 16th season (and still ranking in the top five best-rated shows), NCIS: Los Angeles is entering its 10th, and NCIS: New Orleans is entering its fifth. But don’t forget: This military crime procedural franchise was a spin-off of JAG, which ran for 10 seasons.

Jan Thijs/CBS0

Star Trek

This franchise has boldly gone where few have gone before, now in its sixth decade on television. And to think NBC canceled the original series after just three seasons! Since then, of course, fans have enjoyed an animated series on NBC, The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine in syndication, Voyager and Enterprise on UPN, and Discovery on CBS All Access… along with 13 feature films and counting.



That other “star” franchise is still kicking, too. The ten-season Stargate: SG-1 — a 1997 spin-off of the feature film Stargate — begat the five-season Stargate Atlantis and the two-season Stargate Universe on Sci Fi-turned-Syfy, as well as the one-season animated series Stargate Infinity. After nearly seven years off the air, the franchise returned this year with the web series Stargate Origins.

Doctor Who - Jodie Whittaker - Picture shows: The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker)

Doctor Who

The BBC’s time-bending sci-fi drama run in various incarnations since 1963 and just recently introduced its Thirteenth Doctor, but it has also spawned the TV spin-offs Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, K-9, and Class — as well as films, audio dramas, novels, and comic books.

Arrow -Stephen Amell
Jack Rowand / ©2017 Warner


The so-called Arrowverse is the youngest entry on this list, dating back only to 2012, but just like the Flash, it shows no sign of slowing down. In addition to Arrow and The Flash, The CW also hosts the TV series Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow and the web series Vixen, Freedom Fighters: The Ray, and Constantine: City of Demons. Plus the supercharged franchise also boasts two series of shorts: Blood Rush and Chronicles of Cisco.

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In today’s crowded primetime landscape, only a select few television shows last longer than few seasons. Even fewer trigger spin-off series. Even fewer launch franchises that last for decades.

But some of the shows in the gallery above have reached those rarefied heights, and the others are well on their way. Scroll through to read about seven series that might just outlive us all.

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