Though movies often get a bum wrap for “not being original,” thanks to remakes, sequels, and adaptations, there’s one place that picks up the films and gives them an even longer life – television. There are already a ton of TV shows in development that are based on movies and this season will see the premiere of even more like Taken, Training Day, and Westworld, just to name a few. With that in mind, here are some of our picks for the best TV shows based on movies.
Best TV Shows Based on Movies: 12 Monkeys
Based on the 1995 Terry Gilliam film of the same name, 12 Monkeys tells the story of a doomed future with no other options but sending a man to fix the mistakes of the past. Aaron Stanford (X2: X-Men United) stars as James Cole, the role originated by Bruce Willis, the man tasked with stopping the release of a deadly virus in our present day that will wipe out most of the population of the world. The series picks up a lot of the threads that were present in the film but also twists them to fit the long-form nature of the show and creates a web of intrigue and unexpected twists that do the original film justice.
Best TV Shows Based on Movies: Bates Motel
Though thought by some to be a prequel to the Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho, Bates Motel tells an origin for Norman Bates (played by Freddie Highmore) and his relationship with his mother Norma (Vera Farmiga) as well as the town they live in. The series presents the unraveling of a young man and his transformation into the titular “Psycho” that we all know in unexpected ways. Farmiga delivers an all-time great performance as Norma, alternating her time as the actual character and the mental hallucinations of her son.
Best TV Shows Based on Movies: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Based on the 1992 horror comedy of the same name, that didn’t live up to creator Joss Whedon‘s hopes and expectations, Buffy is not only one of the best TV shows based on movies but one of the best shows in general. What truly separates the series from the film is how it was able to take the idea of twisting genre tropes on their head, specifically that the pretty blond cheerleader can’t defend herself in a dark alley from monsters, and is able to explore it like no film truly can. The series is also responsible for some of the smartest horror TV of all time, with plenty of laughs to go around.
Best TV Shows Based on Movies: Clerks: The Animated Series
Though only six episodes were ever made, and only two even aired on television, Clerks: The Animated Series captures the spirit of Kevin Smith’s film but is able to take it to places that no “real-to-life” film or series can. Instead of sticking to the dynamic of the film, the series supplants the cast and world into the web of television cartoon shows. In some ways the show is even better than the film, though perhaps not as honest.
Best TV Shows Based on Movies: Fargo
Though the work of Joel and Ethan Coen is hallowed ground to many, Noah Hawley was able to take the core tenants of the classic 1996 movie and transition them into a new type of story. By sticking to the guns of black humor, snow clad crime, and compelling oddball characters, Fargo has cemented a place alongside not only its basis but also among the great TV shows of the 21st century. The series also made the fashionable and smart choice of telling all-new stories ever year in the anthology format, which offers further opportunities to make it its own type of animal.
Best TV Shows Based on Movies: Friday Night Lights
Based on the film from 2006 (itself based on a book), Friday Night Lights remains one of the most culturally honest shows of the era. While plenty of network shows glamorize “big city living” or simplify police work, Friday Night Lights offers a look at small-town life and explores important and controversial topics that effect everyone. Set in a world where where winning is everything, Friday Night Lights is the champion.
Best TV Shows Based on Movies: From Dusk Till Dawn
Based on the film written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez, From Dusk Till Dawn does something many other movie-to-TV shows don’t and that’s re-adapt the events of the film. Though certain liberties are taken with the overall story, the show is equivalent to the novel version of the film’s short story, as Rodriguez himself would say. The series retains the wild ride of the movie too, pushing all the horror buttons fans want, satisfying gore hounds, and being funny along the way.
Best TV Shows Based on Movies: MASH
Based on the Robert Altman film of the same name, you’d probably find a photo of MASH if you looked up the word “classic” in the Encyclopedia. The series is set in a military hospital during the Korean War but had a comedic tone, albeit a dark one. What makes the series even more special is how it was able to tackle the issues of dealing with war, POWs, and the treatment of military veterans all while the Vietnam War was being fought on the same network it was being broadcast on.
Best TV Shows Based on Movies: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Star Wars is no stranger to cartoons, but the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series set a new bar for their output. Nestled between the events of Star Wars: Episode II and Star Wars: Episode III, the series offered an official expansion into the world of George Lucas’ movie series while delivering storylines, new characters, and sheer pathos that the films couldn’t offer. The show surpassed the prequel films in almost every respect and set the path for another worthy entry, Star Wars Rebels.
Best TV Shows Based on Movies: Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
Technically a prequel, WHAS: FDC scratches the itch that we didn’t even know we had after the first film and offers even wilder jokes and set ups than previously thought possible. Though it was made a full 15 years after the original film, it doesn’t miss a bit in creating one of the craziest TV worlds and forcing viewers into a ride that can only be described as coming of age movies on amphetamines.
What do you think are the best TV shows based on movies? Let us know in the comments below!