Remaking old TV shows as movies is a tricky proposition. There are a few angles you can take with it, you could make the movie as direct an adaptation as possible. Or you could embrace the camp nature of the source material and make a farce of it.
Both tactics have failed miserably, but so to have they both worked. This spring’s 21 Jump Street is a prime example of a film that works by embracing the absurdity of the original’s sincere premise. Most indications of Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows might have succeeded in a similar fashion, so word of more classic TV adaptations can be met with some optimism these days.
According to Deadline, Universal has gotten behind their next TV to Big Screen adaptation:
Universal Pictures has set David Levien and Brian Koppelman to write The Rockford Files, a feature adaptation of the memorable series that ran on NBC from 1974-80 and featured James Garner as the down-and-out private eye. The studio will develop the film as a star vehicle for Vince Vaughn to play Rockford, and Vaughn and Victoria Vaughn will produce through their Universal-based Wild West Picture Show Productions banner.
Vaughn is a rather obvious choice, but hopefully it means they are going for a more comic approach. I know that will get fans of the original twisted up, but I think a strait forward adaptation of the show wouldn’t really work today. What could work is a Vince Vaughn staring vehicle using the show’s premise and the core of the main character. So long as it is more 21 Jump Street and less Starsky and Hutch we should be fine.