Ten Deep 2.20.14: Top Ten Movies Based On TV Series
Posted by Mike Gorman on 02.20.2014
From South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut and Serenity to Wayne’s World, The Untouchables and more, 411's Mike Gorman counts down the top 10 movies based on TV shows!
"Top Ten Movies Based On TV Series"
We're just about a month away from one of the most eagerly anticipated returns of a Television series, Veronica Mars. Other series have been revived to great success, hello Family Guy!, but this time it is different. Veronica Mars is returning as a big screen released movie. Fans have high hopes for the success of the film and the possible sequels. I feel the same way but I do approach this with some trepidation as historically TV properties adapted to film have not been met with the best success. In this week's Ten Deep I did my best to identify films that did make the transition well. Also, I should say that I focused primarily on theatrically released films and did not include TV movies. Let's see if you agree with my decisions.
10. The Brady Bunch Movie
Often a TV to big screen adaptation goes the route of parody and this is definitely the case with The Brady Bunch Movie. The creators captured the full cheese and nostalgia of the original series allowing us to laugh at the film yet still remember the series fondly. The film succeeds most when it recreates the most referenced scenes from the series and presents them with no over the top nudge and wink, but more of a subtle jab at their clear dated status.
Borat began as a series of clips on Da Ali G Show but grew popular enough to make the jump to the big screen. On the TV series, the comedic magic of the Borat segments came when the character was truly a misunderstood & misunderstanding fish out of water. They managed to capture this energy in the film that led to many people quoting it, almost religiously, for several years after. Luckily for us, the Borat references have finally seemed to settle down in general allowing for the occasional quote to bring forth a chuckle, which for me translates into a sign of the film's success.
8. Wayne's World
Several Saturday Night Live sketches have attempted to claim big screen acclaim but none has done so as successfully at Wayne's World. It truly was "party time" and "excellent" when this basement dwelling grunge duo made the leap to the big screen. From the opening sequence featuring Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody (see below) to the expanded riffs on the sketches catch phrases peppered throughout the film, Wayne's World certainly proved that when something is well written and backed up by amazing talent, even a 4 minute TV sketch can become a hilarious full length feature.
When many fans cried foul upon the rapid cancellation of Joss Whedon's Firefly, it seems that the producers listened and saw potential in a cinematic continuance of the series. The loyal "Browncoats" rejoiced when it was announced that Captain Mal & crew would be back in Serenity. And while the film was well received by the diehard fans and critics alike, it did not do so well at the box office limiting the chances of a sequel occurring. This space-based western soap opera did manage to capture the wit and commentary of the series though as it made its way to film. The problem became whether or not the property was strong enough to survive that transition.
6. The Untouchables
The 1987 adaptation of the TV series The Untouchables continued the show's look at Eliot Ness' attempts to clean up Chicago during prohibition but placed a focus on his rivalry and attempts to capture Al Capone and his gang. The film was released to critical and financial success including 4 Oscar nominations and a win for Sean Connery as Best Supporting Actor. The film brought new life to a property that had already had its moment in the sun 30 years prior.
5. The Transformers: The Movie
If I was talking about the more recent live action adaptations of The Transformers I would probably be writing a "worst of" list instead of a "best of," because let's face it, they have not been the best. Instead I speaking of the earlier animated theatrical release, The Transformers: The Movie, which featured a kick ass theme song (see below) and managed to serve as a refresher for the animated series itself. New storylines and characters that appeared in the film soon made their way into the series. This happens a lot now with direct to DVD/TV films based on animated shows but was a true rarity in the 1980s.
4. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
I knew that one of the Star Trek films would make this countdown but at first I was not sure which one to highlight. Initially I thought the original probably made the most sense and I even entertained the idea of featuring the recent reimagining of the film franchise. Soon though I found myself continually coming back to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as in my opinion it is the best of the original films and even serves as "sequel" of sorts to an episode of the original TV series. For these reasons, it beat out the rest of the many Trek film forays.
3. Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
The wacky antics of the Monty Python crew made several smooth transitions to film and in planning this week's list there was never a doubt in my mind that the film adaptations of the BBC produced series would make this list, like with Star Trek it was just a matter of which one. In the end I chose the film that served as my own personal gateway into the Python universe and continues to make me laugh heartily with each viewing. Monty Python's The Meaning of Life taught us a lot of things about life like how sometimes a wafer thin mint can be too much or how you don't even need to be dead to donate an organ. The lesson I think we should remember most is that of course, every sperm is sacred…
2. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
I worried about South Park surviving the jump to the big screen because the show's antics always seemed better suited to short form to me, ie. The jokes come fast and furious but don't always last. I was happy to be proven wrong by the awesomeness that is South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. With this film the creators proved that could weave their inane plots and subplots into something that was longer than 30min but still held your attention and kept you laughing. I think in the end much of their success here was due to staying true to show's characters and content and trusting that their audience would respond well to something well, bigger and longer. I think they have developed this long form success even further with their more recent multi-episode arcs of the show.
1. The Addams Family
For me The Addams Family stole the top spot this week because not only did the film capture the true essence of its source material but they managed to update the setting into present day time in a truly seamless fashion. By this I mean that they were able to take the comedic pacing and elements of the original show and make them work just as well for a modern audience. I believe they did this by retaining the series mood and feel, but giving some of the family's antics a more modern makeover. It also helps that they recruited MC Hammer to create a kick ass earworm of an updated theme song. (I am only half kidding!)
Did I miss a TV to Movie adaptation that deserved a spot in the top ten here or were you happy with my collection? Let me know!
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