We often see movies that have been adapted from TV shows, but not as often the opposite. This isn’t always a successful formula but in some cases shows have been successful, if not in length of the shows run-time, but in creative genius. Some of the shows on this list are still running today, and some were canceled too early, but all were excellent markers of television sometimes even doing it better than the silver screen did.
Unfortunately, this was another show that was canceled too soon. In some ways I actually enjoy watching the short lived cartoon series more than the movie itself (not saying it’s better, but it was loads of fun!) as Clerks the cartoon embodied the light hearted humor of Jay and Silent Bob, while also doing it’s new own thing. The wit and humor was just as memorable and compelling.
9. The Clone Wars
Being an enormous lover, stalker, obsession, fan-girl, whatever you want to call it of Star Wars you’d think I watched this show every Friday night. Well………Ididn ‘t until recently, even though my oldest son (six) has watched it regularly since it was released on the cartoon network. I was a huge fan of the shorts in between Attack Of The Clones and Revenge Of The Sith but The Clone Wars I hadn ‘t experienced. It turns out it’s a pretty damn cool cartoon and I’m almost as intrigue by my sons viewing as I am with the show “Avatar: The Last Airbender “, which time will tell if that movie is successful. Either way this is certainly worth checking out even though it’s obviously not as great as the movies.
8. The Magnificent Seven
The movie was a classic, beloved by many, and when a show was cast with the likes of Michael Biehn and Ron Pearlman. The cast is what initially grabs you but the show itself was a remarkable love letter to the original film, while still being highly original on it’s own. With a cohesive balance of humor, action, and drama it gave the ensemble cast the ability and room to grow into what could have been a long winded series. Unfortunately it didn’t last very long, but it still remains one of my favorite shows ever.
Not unlike Stargate, Highlander was the creative force that followed with not just one television show but a series of spin-offs as well, not to mention even sequels to the original film. One of the biggest success stories in a transition from movie to television as each have loyal followings. The show had it’s own original appeal different but inspired from the Christopher Lambert films, while the films had their own distinct appeal as well. Each were done equally well in very different ways.
While it was a cartoon interpretation of Tim Burton’s creative dark comedy, this television show was one of the highlights of my childhood. Every Saturday morning was met with the tales and comedy of bothBeetlejuice and Lydia, forever friends in a quirky and darkly funny show bursting with energy and excitement each episode. Though it also remained on Saturday morning, it also aired on weekday afternoons on Fox. The longevity of the show was only a few years, but memorable ones.
5. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
It was the Best New Show on Television! I can’t begin to explain my excitement about the brief, though shockingly great two seasons. What intrigued me most about TSCC was that it pretty much disregarded the third films attempt to destroy James Cameron’s original mythology behind the storyline. That plot and storyline easily explained and shoved aside it built it’s character’s, it’s belief system, and it’s own mythology in accordance to James Cameron’s creative genius. But they weren ’t straight copycat’s either. The show brought new and different conflicts of interest that have made the show it’s own separate entity from the films. This is amazing stuff. Since Fox canceled it, it’s only further proof that they are morons when it’s comes to television programming along with the cancellations of Dollhouse and Firefly.
I was never an avid viewer of this show and could never connect with the characters or anything in it, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate the fact that it did connect with many, making people laugh and touching their hearts for years and years. It’s one of the few examples of the television show becoming a larger success than the actual film.
3. Lois and Clark
Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain became the infamous Lois Lane and Clark Kent. A lot of the time the show allowed itself to be campy or tongue in cheek humorous. You may not look at it and think Emmy winning show, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have a beloved following, and some may even argue that their Lois and Clark were better than the feature film *gasp*. Yes, many loved Hatcher and Cain together that much. I wouldn’t stretch that far, but it had a great run, and still an enormous fan base.
2. Stargate (SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe)
The world of Stargate is somehow still flourishing well over a decade since it’s creation on the silver screen. With the series SG-1 surviving an entire decade and the third spin-off show Stargate: Universe now flourishing even in it’s first season. Stargate appears to have many years left in it. Both of the straight to DVD films, The Ark Of Truth and Continuum have measured a surprising success, one that has evoked the question of whether or not more should be made in the coming year or the focus of Wright and Cooper should be diverted to the focus of Stargate Universe. Atlantis is scheduled for it’s own straight to DVD films eventually, but the main focus is the love and affection for the shows that has created years and years of pleasure to it’s fans, myself included. It has maintained a longevity, that no other shows in the science fiction genre have managed to accomplish. Each of the shows maintains themselves on a predominantly superficial level, making the shows fun and light hearted, but each have survived so long because of excellent writers, scripts, and amazingly charismatic casts. The film, which I loathe, was great in concept but took itself too seriously. On the other hand the shows have succeeded where it failed.
1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
I can’t imagine anyone arguing that Buffy isn’t the greatest television show adapted from film ever. Beyond the fact that I still deem it one of my favorite television shows of all time, Joss Whedon took his campy and silly film and made a dramatic character driven show about a teenage girl fighting vampires. Seems insane, but the brilliant execution of the idea and the underlying adolescent metaphors were smart, but also superficially stimulating. Over the years Buffy has finally gotten the acknowledgment of how much substance is actually there, but the show itself is very action oriented and the fast paced. Under the surface and eventually in the forefront you find Whedon ‘s most intentional theme. The show was best at emoting the feeling of darkness and loneliness, which is really the show explored. The essence of the show was discovering oneself in the midst of extraordinary circumstances.
Honorable Mentions: Clueless and Ghostbusters
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