TV Shows Based On Films: The Winners And The Sinners

August 13, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Features

These days, TV shows are being cancelled left and right.

We’ve lost a whole load of awesome shows that we’ll probably never see again. Actually, having said that, we thought the same about Family Guy and Futurama, and they, like Jesus, came back to us.

In the olden days, when a good idea was needed, TV bosses just turned to the big screen. But the whole idea of a TV show based on a movie doesn’t really sound like a winner, does it? We know TV-to-film can be hit and miss too, but that’s a conversation for another time, say, when someone tries to make Murder She Wrote into a movie.

But much to our surprise, there are actually a bunch of really good versions out there. Some of the film-to-TV remakes have actually been much more successful than the original film. Though not all of them are winners; some of them were dropkick-your-telly awful.

Some of them are telly winners and telly sinners, so we thought we’d showcase some of the best and worst cinema to TV translations.


Wow. There are almost no words.

We started with the worst just to show you just how awful these things can get.

OK, Matthew Broderick may have slipped down the ladder of coolness into relative obscurity over the years, but damn was he the coolest white guy since The Fonz. This TV show, however, is an abomination.

We’re ashamed for the people that thought this would be a good idea.  It’s got the short blonde guy from Diagnosis Murder as Ferris and his sister is played by a pre-Friends, Jennifer Aniston. John Hughes R.I.P. never gave it his blessing, which is always a bad sign when the creator thinks your show is poop.


For anyone who didn’t see Guy Ritchie’s masterpiece, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, firstly, why not?

Secondly, for the love of God, we hope you didn’t see this TV version instead. Accept no substitutes.

The translation was shaky at best and while it imitated Ritchie’s style very well (probably because he was the exec producer), the characters were so ridiculously different from the film it was like a porn version of the original.

Not to mention that they actually changed the race of one of the characters. We’re all for being multi-cultural but why not just write a new character? Laziness, that’s why. It was so stupid it was practically brain-dead but at least it gave us our first proper look at Hotty McFitty, Scott Maslen, of Eastender’s fame.


Space; the not so final frontier, because there’s about a million space-based shows right now.

This show has almost totally eclipsed the movie from 1994, Stargate, starring Kurt Russell and James Spader. 

Forgot it was a movie, didn’t you?  Well, that’s what we’re here for. The shows follows scientists that use an ancient gateway to travel to other worlds. Oooooh.

The film spawned, count ’em, 4 spin-off shows, one of which is still to debut this October. So we think it’s safe to say that this has been one hell of a successful transition.

A tip of the hat to you, Stargate. I mean, really, how many shows run for 10 series nowadays?


We had the time of our lives with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey up on Kellerman’s mountain resort in 1987, but we were dismayed to see its televisual counterpart.

None of the original cast returned (no surprise there) and the ropey looking cast they got in doesn’t really sell the idea of a forbidden summer love. It was cancelled halfway through the season after just 11 episodes. Oh, what a shame.

Some serious changes were made to the script, too. Baby Houseman was changed to Baby Kellerman and she was made the daughter of the hotel owner. She was the talent director and was put in charge of managing Jonny Castle. Snooze.

We probably would have just watched it for the soundtrack.


Tim Burton’s ghost with the most, Beetlejuice, got his own animated series in 1989 after the success of the movie in 1988. It actually managed to retain creator, Burton, as an exec producer. With Burton’s blessing and magical touch, the series faired pretty well and produced over 100 episodes.

It followed Lydia Deetz, a goth kid who needs a friend and ends up being besties with Beetlejuice and visits him in the ‘Neitherworld’.

The cartoon was wilder, wackier and a total riot, and although the Maitland couple from the movie are absent, there are plenty of Burtonesque monsters to be getting on with.

Here’s the intro to the second season.


Amy Heckerling’s genius teen comedy defined a generation of young women, changed our wardrobes and our language, and even made ‘Whatever’ an acceptable answer to any question.

Alicia Silverstone has done little of merit since the movie that made her a star was released in 1995 but at least she didn’t star in this turd. It was sickly and horrible and made us feel dirty.

Frankly we’re surprised it made it through it’s first season let alone survive to it’s third. Though weirdly it actually had several original cast members star in it like Stacey Dash as Dionne and Donald Faison (Turk from Scrubs) as Murray.

We hated this show so much we couldn’t bring ourselves to show you a clip, so we’re showing you the trailer for the original film instead.


This bad boy almost speaks for itself. The original film isn’t horrible but was utterly eclipsed by the sheer awesomness of the TV show.

Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Buffy Summers was a sarcastic, sweet, sexy and sword weilding slayer from Sunnydale. Sorry for all the S words there but it’s true. There were vampires, there were demons, there was singing.

Buffy seems to work in almost any format; movies, TV, comics and novels. It seems that a transition from big screen to little did the Slayer a world of good, even having it’s own spin-off: Angel

While it would have been all too easy to show you a clip of Buffy, we’ve decided to treat you to something you might not have seen. Here’s what happened when Buffy was animated, with several original cast voices…


Well when there’s something strange in our neighbourhood we usually just call the police but everybody else calls on The Real Ghostbusters.

After the worldwide success of the 1984 flick, Ghostbusters, a cartoon was made 2 years later and remains a precious memory of those who watched it. Even though none of the original cast voiced characters, it still had Slimer so it’s all good.

Following the spooktastic exploits of Peter, Egon, Ray and Winston, the series produced 147 episodes and is still a fan favourite.

Now sing along, and don’t pretend you don’t know the words.


Emily Moulder

If some of these were a blast from the past, why not check out our Top 8 Generation Defining Teen Shows. Or maybe you should come join us in crying over how Hollywood Ruined Our Childhoods