As we inch away from Hollywood’s yesteryears, there have been a sudden influx of television shows that were adapted into movies.
Many joined the fray, but only a few have made it to the top of box office charts. The rest are either the by-products of directors who have ventured the road less taken, resulting in their movies becoming cult hits, while others just faded into obscurity.
Let us look at the movies from TV shows that have amused, delighted and left us cringing in horror.
‘The Addams Family’ (1991)
Before running the mind-wiping ‘Men In Black’, Barry Sonnenfeld had his hands full dealing with ‘The Addams Family’, a macabre band of quirky and morbid characters like Gomez Addams (Raúl Juliá), the patriarch, his wife Morticia (Anjelica Huston) and his two children, the sarcastic Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman).
However, contrary to its TV series, the film has a more dramatic plot, where Gomez's debt-ridden lawyer tries to pass off his loan shark's son as Gomez's long-lost brother in order to locate the hidden vault where they keep vast treasures.
The TV series merely depicts the Addams family as a group of supernatural beings whose macabre interests are often misunderstood by outsiders.
‘Mission: Impossible’ (1996)
Unlike most of the movies listed here, the film versions of ‘Mission: Impossible’ supposedly follows on from the television series, but there are almost no constants between films save for Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt. The only members lucky enough to appear in more than one movie are Ving Rhames and British comedian Simon Pegg. However, the films do retain certain hallmarks from the television series like Hunt receiving his orders via a recording which then self-destructs.
Both the television series and the films chronicles the various exploits of the IMF, a small team of secret agents used for covert missions against dictators, evil organisations and crime lords. The TV series ran for seven seasons, while the films have four instalments to date, with a fifth in the works.
‘Charlie's Angels’ (2000)
The death of actress Farrah Fawcett has definitely caused grief in many of her fans; most of whom know her by her role in the "Charlie's Angels" TV series back in 1976. She played Jill Munroe, one of the three original Charlie's Angels, alongside Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith.
The show tells the story of three female police academy graduates who are relegated to traffic duty. Disheartened, the trio quit and were then hired by the Charles Townsend Agency as private investigators.
However, the identity of their boss, Charlie, is never revealed, and the Angels communicate with him through a man named Bosley (David Doyle). In the film adaptation by McG in 2000, the premise remains the same as does the voice of Charlie (John Forsythe), although the Angels have been changed.
Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu play Natalie Cook, Dylan Sanders and Alex Munday respectively, whose mission is to rescue software genius Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell) before his revolutionary voice-recognition software is used for villainy. The film was a modest success and spawned a sequel, ‘Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle’ in 2003.
Many may not have watched ‘Firefly’ or its film counterpart, ‘Serenity’, but the few who have can testify to its greatness. Geek god Joss Whedon's space western have definitely broken new ground when ‘Firefly’ was first shown on TV in 2002, only have it cancelled before its first season run (only 12 episodes out of 14 were aired).
This series about the adventures and encounters of a group of ragtag individuals led by Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) who travel on a "Firefly-class" spaceship rose to cult status, thus making the release of ‘Serenity’ in 2005 much anticipated.
‘Serenity’ is one of the few movies that brought back its entire cast from the TV series to the movie, continuing where ‘Firefly’ left off, although the viewpoint of the film is shifted to that of River Tam (Summer Glau), the mysterious woman with psychic powers that’s on the lam from the Alliance.
‘Star Trek’ (2009)
Ah, the science-fiction series that defined movie fandom. ‘Star Trek’ spawned a league of fans known as Trekkies as well as six-season series, eleven feature films, dozens of games, hundreds of novels, numerous toy lines, replicas and a themed attraction in Las Vegas.
The original ‘Star Trek’ cast was led by William Shatner, who played the infamous James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, DeForest Kelley as "Bones" McCoy, James Doohan as "Scotty", Nichelle Nichols as Uhura, George Takei as Sulu, and Walter Koenig as Chekov.
The original show was cancelled after three seasons but its impact and significance was understood by J. J. Abrams. That led to the 2009 film reboot with an all-new cast such as Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin and an alternate timeline. The film even brought in Leonard Nimoy and featured Eric Bana as the villain Nero, a Romulan from the future.
‘The A-Team’ (2010)
Arguably, ‘The A-Team’ could have been so much better, but considering the scant material that it is based on, allowances would have to be made.
The main characters from the TV series return, with Liam Neeson taking over the role of Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith; Bradley Cooper as Lieutenant Templeton "Face" Peck, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as Sergeant First Class Bosco "B.A."(Bad Attitude) Baracus, and Sharlto Copley as Captain H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock.
The film has the A-Team on a mission to retrieve stolen U.S. Treasury plates and clear their names in the process, after having been falsely accused as war criminals "for a crime they didn't commit".
‘21 Jump Street’ (2012)
Contrary to ‘The A-Team’, the film adaptation of ‘21 Jump Street’ saw better critical and commercial success, not to mention a better looking makeover; with heartthrob Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill cast as the crime-fighting duo, Greg Jenko and Morton Schmidt.
Nothing about the film is the same as the TV series, save for its main premise of sending cops with youthful appearances undercover in high schools and colleges to infiltrate drug trafficking and gangs.
Furthermore, the ‘21 Jump Street’ TV series featured a squad of undercover cops while only two were involved in the film. Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) are former classmates who meet again at police academy. They graduate together as partners, but are assigned to park patrol, and eventually, reassigned to the revived specialty division on 21 Jump Street. They are then tasked with a mission to go back to their alma mater to stop a new synthetic drug from spreading to other campuses by finding the supplier.
‘Dark Shadows’ (2012)
Despite being based on the gothic horror soap opera of the same name, Tim Burton's ‘Dark Shadows’ did not get to enjoy same cult following that the original did, despite the solid performances and Burton’s distinct visual style.
The protagonist of the film, vampire Barnabas Collins, only made his appearance a year after the television show's run, while in the film he appeared 15 minutes after. This demonstrated that Burton's ‘Dark Shadows’ had tried to condense most of the original's major story plots into its two-hour reel.
‘The Three Stooges’ (2012)
Although not the greatest vaudeville and comedy act of all time, ‘The Three Stooges’ have clearly established themselves as pop culture icons.
Best known for their numerous short films that deal with physical comedy and slapstick, ‘The Three Stooges’ comprise Moe, Larry, and Curly. The Farrelly brothers' slapstick comedy film is a much longer tale of the stooges, but otherwise still divided into different acts.
The film places them in a modern setting where the trio is shown as orphans, who lived in the Sisters of Mercy Orphanage till they are 25. When they get wind that the orphanage will be shutting down unless they can come up with $830,000 in 30 days, the trio volunteers to go out and try raising the money somehow.
The film then follow the trio attempting to earn the money needed like helping a woman kill her husband so she can be with her lover and inherit his considerable fortune and being a cast member for ‘Jersey Shore’.