This weekend 21 Jump Street scored the top spot at the weekend box-office and Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall are busy preparing a sequel and after posting my review someone on Twitter told me one of the reasons they liked it was because it was a huge improvement compared to most TV-to-film adaptations. While I enjoyed it, I wasn't as excited over it as some people seem to be and I never even thought to compare it to other TV-to-film adaptations, especially considering a film needs to stand on its own, whether it's simply better than other films that tried to make the leap from the small screen to the silver screen is irrelevant. But it did get me to thinking... what are the best TV-to-film adaptations?
So I started the process of compiling a list and while 21 Jump Street is a good flick, it isn't one of the top ten TV-to-film adaptations and while there are several failures in this category I have to say many of them I haven't even seen. I wasn't about to spend my time watching The Beverly Hillbillies, Fat Albert, McHale's Navy, Thunderbirds, The Honeymooners or any number of the awful-looking Saturday Night Live spin-offs from The Ladies Man to It's Pat. So, no, I haven't seen every TV-to-film adaptation just as I haven't seen every TV show these films have been adapted from.
Admittedly, there are some TV adaptations that I haven't seen that I know some people are fond of such as The Addams Family, The Brady Bunch Movie and To Trap a Spy. So, yes, like every top ten you're going to find on the Internet, this is my own. I just wanted to make sure you realize, nothing was forgotten or overlooked, but simply a few I may not have ever seen.
That said, here are the ten films I consider to be the ten best TV-to-film adaptations and I would love to read your personal lists in the comments below.
Based on "Maverick"
I know this is a pick that will immediately have Internet readers rushing off to the comment section to say, "But what about The Untouchables? What about The Blues Brothers? What about...? What about...? What about...?" Well, sorry, for me those movies just don't do it for me compared to the next nine or Maverick, a film which I simply enjoy watching each and every time. Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster are great together, I love James Garner in it, love James Coburn and Alfred Molina as Angel. I know it won't be a popular choice, but it's an honest one.
As for both The Untouchables and The Blues Brothers, I'm not exactly big on either of them. The Untouchables is one I would definitely watch again, but it just doesn't move me in such a way that I necessarily want to watch it again. And I just am not much of a fan of The Blues Brothers. Sorry, I know it's not a popular opinion, but it's the truth.
Three Outlaw Samurai
Based on "Sanbiki no Samurai" (Three Outlaw Samurai)
I only saw this film from director Hideo Gosha recently when Criterion released it in February 2012, but I immediately took to it as I am prone to do with samurai features. The film is an offshoot of the original Japanese television series of the same name. It's probably the least recognizable name you'll find on this list, but it's an addition I felt was necessary and appropriate even though evidence of the television series it was based on is essentially missing.
If there is any kind of film that tends to continually impress each time I'm introduced to a new one it's the samurai feature and while films such as Akira Kurosawa's classics including Yojimbo and Seven Samurai as well as Sword of Doom and Onibaba are the first that leave people's lips when the genre is discussed, just give this one a chance and I think you'll find yourself recommending it to your friends.
Based on "Firefly"
I've never seen a single episode of "Firefly", but Serenity was one hell of a sci-fi western that never got the attention I believe it deserved. unfortunately some things just don't capture the audience attention or Universal was unable to bring the audience in with its marketing campaign. Either way, Serenity served as what I consider to be my official introduction to Joss Whedon considering I didn't watch "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or "Angel" and wasn't rushing to see who was responsible for Alien: Resurrection. However, now he's a filmmaker that's big on my radar and the main reason I'm looking forward to The Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers.