10 Best TV Shows Based On Movies
Despite how often they influence each other, TV and movies serve completely different purposes. Originally, television was in the home and film was out in the world. Television was largely mindless and film was something to behold. Both deserve celebration in their own respective ways, but television and film lived separate lives for quite a while. Eventually, the two started to bleed into each other. Some films got lazy, while some television got smart. Both can coexist in peace, and there’s no need to pit them against each other, but the ways in which they influence each other are much clearer now than they ever have been in the past. The area between the two is far grayer nowadays. We don’t mean television about movies or movies about television, either — we mean television shows based on movies.
In what (at least for now) seems to be a direct remake of the original film series, FOX’s Lethal Weapon follows Murtaugh and Riggs as newly-paired up partners — this is where the first movie begins, as well. While it had a rocky start — the actor who plays Riggs, Clayne Crawford, was fired for his inappropriate and borderline abusive behavior on set — it seems the show has a promising future of relatively good ratings and steady viewership.
Based on the Coen Brothers film of the same name, FX’s Noah Hawley (also responsible for the network’s hit Marvel show Legion) manages to replicate the feeling and tone of the Coen’s best on his anthology series Fargo. Coming up on its fourth season, the show exists in the same universe as the original film while also referencing many other Coen Brothers films, as well. It’s not a remake, it’s not a sequel, but it’s sort of a mix of both.
About a Boy
Based on the 1998 novel and 2002 film of the same name, About a Boy takes a story originally set in the UK and places it in the United States. Beyond this, the story is more or less the same (just stretched out over a lot longer runtime). The show takes some liberties in order to make it a sustainable concept for multiple seasons, such as making the male and female leads next-door neighbors, but it was ultimately canceled anyway.
Friday Night Lights
Like About a Boy, NBC‘s Friday Night Lights was based on the book and movie of the same name and made some creative decisions with the source material in order to stretch it out over multiple seasons. The cast rotates, but the coach stays the same. Also like About a Boy, the show was eventually canceled.
A semi-prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho set in the 21st century, Bates Motel follows Norman and his mother from the moment they open the motel to the moments during and after the classic film. It’s a reimagining of sorts, and it was hugely successful and enjoyable for both fans of the movie and fans who had never seen it before. It ran its course and ended in 2017.
Did you know that HBO’s biggest hit since Game of Thrones is actually based on a movie (that’s based on a book)? While it’s really different in both look and tone, the original film is a lot of fun in its own right. It’s got a campy 1970s feel to it, which is a huge departure from the melodramatic and often complicated feel of the HBO series.
Based on a show based on a movie, NBC’s Parenthood was breaking hearts and pleasing audiences years before This Is Us hit the air. Some might call it a spinoff or a reimagining, but the film and the series bear the same name and feature characters with similar but not quite the same names (“Buckman” becomes “Braverman,” for example) as well as a similar tone and reverence for family, love, and acceptance.
Wet Hot American Summer
Not only is Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer based off of a movie by the same name, but the first and second seasons also serve as a prequel and a sequel to the film, respectively. The entire original cast of comedians like Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks returned for the series, while other actors were creatively replaced when their schedule didn’t allow for them to make an appearance. The Netflix revival is a worthy entry to the Wet Hot timeline, so here’s hoping there’s more coming soon.
The Girlfriend Experience
Based off of the Steven Soderbergh movie from 2009, Starz’s The Girlfriend Experience takes the film’s original premise of a young attorney who lives a double life and expands on it by adding more characters, more plot, and more drama — all resulting in plenty more intrigue. It’s a great idea for a movie and an even better show.
It only makes sense that, since the movie made quite the impact on the horror movie industry back in the 90s, MTV’s television adaptation of Scream would be just as successful. While they aren’t technically able to use the same mask as the films due to legal troubles, let there be no doubt: the show follows a lot of the same beats as the movies, specifically all the self-aware teen slasher tropes.
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