Last time on The Flickcast Five, we brought you some of our favorite movies based on video games, as we prepped for the release of Disney’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. This time around, we’re switching gears a bit (not much, though) as we ready ourselves for this weekend’s release of The A-Team, of course based on the original TV series from the 70’s. We bring you our favorite films based on TV shows.
Sure, there are some pretty bad adaptations from TV to film, such as Cedric the Entertainer’s Honeymooners, Christopher Lloyd’s My Favorite Martian, Leslie Nielson’s Mr. Magoo, and many more. Though we could go on, we wanted to focus on some of the better adaptations, as we think the upcoming A-Team will be quite entertaining, as a film like that should be.
Join us after the jump as each of the staff picks some of their favorite films based on successful (or not so successful) TV shows. And don’t worry, trekkies, your beloved most definitely makes the list.
Cortney Zamm: Serenity
In 2002, television mastermind Joss Whedon made fourteen episodes of a show called Firefly. While the show was canceled after just one season when it was placed in the Friday Night Death Slot on Fox, the show gained an incredible fanbase and strong DVD sales, which spawned a film adaptation in 2003 called Serenity.
The great thing about Serenity is that even if you haven’t seen the entire television series, you can still watch it and really enjoy the film. Whedon does jump right into the story but introduces his characters in a way that excites old fans and doesn’t confuse new ones. The incredible ensemble cast of Firefly, including the talented and handsome Nathan Fillion as Captain Malcolm Renolds, Summer Glau (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) as River, and Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb all returned to reprise their roles in the film, and they do not disappoint.
For fans of the original show, Serenity is a return to the characters and story that were far too short lived in Firefly. For newcomers to the material, this movie is definitely a great way to introduce anyone to Whedon’s incredible space-western.
Shannon Hood: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
In 1990, cult director David Lynch (Elephant Man, Eraserhead, Blue Velvet) took a bold leap onto the small screen with a show called Twin Peaks, and my mind was promptly blown. Lynch was one of the first movie directors I had followed who actually dared to make the foray into television. His wonderfully creepy, smart and surreal serial-drama had an enormous influence on my burgeoning love of all things pop culture.
I bought anything I could get my hands on that had to do with the show; books, CD’s, and a certain Time magazine cover that I proudly hung on my college dorm wall. To this day, Angelo Badalamenti remains one of my favorite composers, his score was simply haunting.
Twin Peaks had a relatively short lifespan-only two seasons, mainly because once the mystery of how Laura Palmer was killed was solved, the series lost all its momentum. Lynch utilized an amazing ensemble cast: Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Fenn, Kyle Maclachlan, Madchen Amick, David Duchovny (in drag!?), Ray Wise, Sheryl Lee, Miguel Ferrer, Heather Graham, Peggy Lipton, Piper Laurie, and Grace Zabriskie, just to mention a few.
For those of us in perpetual mourning over the demise of our beloved drama, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (a prequel) was released in 1992. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, but I seem to remember it being a lot darker than the television series, and it definitely gave me a sense of closure. If you were a fan of Twin Peaks, this is a must see.
John Carle: Jackass: The Movie
How do you turn a show based around clips of people putting themselves in horribly painful, embarrassing and disgusting situations in to a feature length movie? Most would say it couldn’t be done. Johnny Knoxville and the rest of his masochistic followers were able to pull it off… twice. With the only special effects of the movie taking place in the opening and closing credits, Jackass: The Movie is a laugh out loud film experience. Whether you are grossed out by what they are doing or in shock, it’s impossible not to at least uncomfortably giggle as Bam Margera and Steve-O put themselves in a variety of terribly uncomfortable situations.
From deficating in a hardware store’s uninstalled toilet to rocket skates, Jackass: The Movie pushed the limits farther than MTV would ever let them on television. Making almost $65,000,000 in domestic box office, a sequel was quickly put into theaters. Now, falling into the current 3D trend, a third Jackass film aptly titled Jackass 3D will be hitting theaters this fall. It’ll be amazing to see just what pain these guys can come up with to put themselves through in 3D that they haven’t already.
Chris Ullrich: Star Trek
Even though I was a big fan of the previous big screen adaptations of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek TV series, I have to go out on a limb and say J.J. Abrams’ version is now the definitive one for me. With state of the art visual effects, a terrific time travel storyline that encompasses many of the best elements from previous films and the series, engaging performances and an all out optimism for the future of humanity, Abrams manages to not only re-invent Star Trek for the movies but help us remember fondly what made it so great in the first place.
Sure, you could also include original cast movies The Wrath of Khan or The Voyage Home to this list as they are also great examples of what talented and determined people can do with a TV series adaptation. It’s amazing when you consider the original Star Trek TV series only lasted three seasons on NBC. In those 79 original episodes the seeds were planted for a worldwide phenomenon that endures to this day. You only have to look at Abrams’ Star Trek to realize the influence this one show had on so many creative people working in Hollywood today.
Abrams and his creative team are unabashed fans of Star Trek. In fact, they love it. This comes through in every frame of the film and in every way they sought to protect the Star Trek legacy while also expanding it and making it accessible to a new generations of fans. I, for one, couldn’t be more pleased with the results.
Matt Raub: The Twilight Zone: The Movie
There are very few anthology films that can cover the whole range of fantasy, horror, and science fiction, but this 1983 adaptation certainly does that. Not to mention the fact that the film is a collaborative effort of some of the biggest directors in Hollywood at the time like John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, and George Miller.
The movie took some of our favorite TZ stories and rebooted it for a new audience with some impressive visual effects. Once the film was a hit in theaters, John Lithgow trumped William Shatner as the first actor people thought of when screaming the line “There’s a man on the wing of the plane!”
The film also was the subject of much tragedy and controversy. Sadly, Vic Morrow was killed while shooting a scene with a helicopter during the “Time Out” short, and brought new and some negative attention to the film. Though the film was Morrow’s last, it was certainly his most memorable, and even ties into Animal House continuity.