Recently, there has been an influx of films based on television programs. While this is a common practice in Japan, it’s a trend that’s rarely practiced stateside save for a few studios willing to take a chance or for large franchises seeking to rake in that sweet box office cash.
Below are two lists based on films and television series that I have seen and can comment on with confidence.
Top 3 Movies Based on Television Series
#3: The Addams Family
This is one of those films I watched as a kid and didn’t understand right away. As I got older, I began to understand the humor and premise of the film. Now while it is an entertaining comedy, the humor isn’t as subtle as it was in the original TV series from the 60’s. While I hear that the sequel is better, I haven’t actually seen it, and the plot of the imposter Uncle Fester is why I place this at number 3.
#2: Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad
This film, and its subsequent sequels, was based on a television series that only lasted 6 episodes. Police Squad was a series that was both as send-up and a parody to cop series such as Dragnet. The fourth wall jokes and crude humor didn’t win over television audiences, but was a hit at the box office. It’s a very funny parody of police dramas and one of the late Leslie Nielsen’s best roles.
#1: The Fugitive
The Fugitive was television series from the 60’s and starred David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble, who is wrongly accused of his wife’s murder and goes on the run while pursuing “the one-armed man” in order to clear his name. The last episode of the series is listed as one of the most watched television episodes, first holding the record until it was usurped by Dallas, with the episode “Who Done It?” The current record holder will be mentioned later on.
This is one of those cases where more people know about the film than they do the television series. As one of those people who have only seen the movie, it’s safe to say that it’s an engaging film, complete with the mystery and intrigue of a noir film and the fast-paced action of a contemporary film. Since it’s been airing a lot on channels with broadcast rights, then chances are you have either seen it, or will see it in the future.
Top 3 Television Series based on Movies
#3: Buzz Lightyear of Star Command
Now I may get some backlash for this, but hear me out on this one. There was a time when Disney did a decent job producing animated television series that were based on movies. They were successful with an Aladin spin-off, and I believe this show is worth notice.
The Buzz Lightyear series actually surprised me in how deep and intense it got. True it had some goofy moments, but some of the deeper storylines really made it interesting. A couple of my favorite moments of the series involve Buzz’s former friend turned villain, Warp Darkmatter and the rival space ranger Ty Parsec, who always saw himself in Buzz’s shadow. If the show is this engaging in the Toy Story universe, then it’s no wonder the toy was popular.
#2: Stargate: SG-1
This series is proof that an action-packed adventure series can be thought provoking, as this builds on the concepts introduced in the original film, the ancient Egyptian god being aliens that seek to conquer the universe. While people scoffed at the idea in the film, the series built upon it in a way that really makes you think. It doesn’t limit it to the Egyptian gods, but also branches out to other mythologies.
The characters and events in this series are really well written and really keep you hooked. So far, there has yet to be a subsequent Stargate series that outdoes this one, as the latter series are more focused on action and have become generic space operas.
This is one series that does a great job of blending comedy and drama, the same way the original film and novel did. The last episode of the series holds the record as the most watched television episode with 125 million viewers tuned in.
As someone who has watched the series, it is one that makes you laugh, cry, and laugh off said tears. It captures the ridiculous actions of Captain “Hawkeye” Pierce and also explores the toll that being in a war-zone can take.
It is also one of the few series where even the cast was divided about whether or not to end it, the actors in favor of continuation being cast in a spin-off series known as “After-M.A.S.H”
Next Week: A look at how young-adult fiction is being brought to the silver screen