‘The Office’ spinoff ‘The Farm’ gets the preemptive axe

It's a sad week for "Office" fans: after casting and hyping the series, NBC has not given "The Farm" the green light. The series' spinoff, which was supposed to focus on Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) and his family on their beet farm, might still air as part of the last season of "The Office," but it won't get to be its own show.

"NBC has passed on moving forward with 'The Farm' TV show," Wilson tweeted. "Had a blast making the pilot -- onwards & upwards!"

But the premature death of the spinoff isn't necessarily a bad thing. With Steve Carrell's departure from "The Office" two seasons ago, and B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling leaving at the end of the 2011-12 season, it's likely time to put "The Office" to bed. And while fans may want to cling to the characters they love, the show's charm arguably relies on its ensemble and the dynamic between them.

This isn't to say the writers and actors aren't talented. Mindy Kaling's "The Mindy Project" has been picked up for a full season, while Steve Carrell has seen success in film, with six (six!) planned for release over the next year. And while it may be tempting to give characters like Pam and Jim their own spinoff to navigate the waters of parenthood or Jim's recent sports venture, Jim needs Dwight for physical, and more obvious humour.

Frankly, there's only so far you can go with most "Office" characters. Creed has seemed mysterious (thanks to his references to cults, fraud, and his run-in with Jesse Pinkman during last year's Emmys), but he relies on straight characters like Angela and Meredith to balance his unpredictability. Kevin loves food and Stanley is resentful, but without characters like Andy and Oscar to play up those traits, they seem less dimensional.

True, spinoffs like "Frasier," "Rhoda," and "Archie Bunker's Place" were successful, but their characters were different, eccentric, or realistic enough to necessitate more concentrated story lines. Dwight, while wonderfully written and performed, is less like Archie Bunker ("Archie's Place") and more Joey Tribbiani ("Joey"): funny and necessary to the original cast, but not strong enough to stand on his own.

And you know what? That's fine. Considering how "The Office" has maintained its strong fan base for over eight years, these actors deserve to find out who else they can be.