Why do some TV adaptations of classic movies succeed where others fail?

For every Buffy there is a Bueller.

There's always going to be a movie that comes out and the TV executive sees it and thinks, "Hey, we can make this for TV!" A prequel to the film, does it live up to the authenticity of the material, does it stray from its own tangent -- millions of dollars are poured into making it, and then comes the moment of truth. Season premiere.

Some made it, like Willow and Cobra Kai, some started strong and then fell ("The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles"), and others died upon arrival. There are many of them: Dirty Dancing, Ferris Bueller, and more. So, what determines whether a TV adaptation will work? Well, if there is a formula on how to make these series 100% successful, it hasn't been found yet. But for kicks and giggles, let's give it a go.

TV Adaptations of Movies: The Elements of Success

Successful TV adaptations do have many things in common. First, they stay true to the spirit of the movie. The 1980 film Fame follows the lives of a group of students attending New York's acting high school Art, from freshman to graduate. It was adapted as a series that ran from 1982 to 1987, and like its big-screen parent, it also focused on the lives of high school students, and in larger numbers, while retaining the celebration of the arts that made the movie so popular. popular. Others stay true to the spirit while continuing to tell the story. Take Ash vs Evil Dead, for example, a series that ran from 2015 to 2018. It has all the absurdity, one-liners, horror and gore...very, very gory...that made the Evil Dead series a cult classic and continues the story of Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), now in his 50s, without skipping a beat.

Some share an element in that they take the film's premise but tweak it differently, distinguishing it from the source material. Buffy the Vampire Slayer began in 1992 with Kristy Swanson as cheerleader Buffy Summers, who learns she's a killer destined to save the world from vampires. It's an interesting film, even if it's largely forgotten, but to say the success of the switch to TV has severely damaged Buffy's impact The Vampire Slayer TV Show. The basic concept, that of the cheerleader who becomes the vampire slayer (Sarah Michelle Gellar), is preserved, but through deeper mythology, diverse recurring characters, an academic level exploration of themes of good and evil, and Powerful heroine, revolutionary for its time. HBO's "Westworld" is another one that expands beyond the simple premise of the 1973 film — robots go bad and kill people — to something more. Successful adaptations also don't detract from the source material, as Stargate SG-1's 10-year run is a good example, a series that took an interest in the concept of 1994's Stargate but never publicly teased it.

TV Adaptations of Movies: The Elements of Failure

Likewise, failed adaptations have a thing or two in common. The 2003 drama My Fat Greek Life is an example of a TV show that failed because it didn't stay true to the spirit of the film, in this case the hugely popular My Fat Greek Wedding. The film's uniqueness, its genuine warmth, the unforced comedy that flows naturally from the story is ditched in favor of a standard, run-of-the-mill sitcom, Can't stand out. Likewise, the 1988 film adaptation of the 1987 film RoboCop didn't stay true to the satirical, deeply violent classic. In fact, it can't — RoboCop: The Animated Series is a Saturday morning cartoon for kids. That's right. The fundamental difference between content and genre is because someone sees Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) getting blown to shit and other characters being killed in extremely violent ways, excerpted from a show where a guy is surrounded by big breasted women and Say "I'll buy that for a dollar" and think, "You know who would love an animated version of this, kids."

Clueless, based on the film of the same name, failed mainly because it used False bits and pieces as story material. Many of the characters repeat their roles from the film, but the show focuses more on the appearance and jargon of the world in the film than on the relationships and core of the film (even dropping Cher (Alicia Seale). Verstone) and Josh (Paul Rudd) completely). The people behind Ferris Bueller in the 1990s have committed many of the factors that have plagued TV adaptation failures, but we'll use that as Example of a TV show that tried a different direction but ended up in disaster. The series is based on Ferris Bueller's Day Off, of course, retaining the fourth wall breaking moment and the film's self-awareness, but then trying to blend with it, and Ferris (Charlie Schlatter) knows that the film, based on his life, exists, And disliked protagonist Matthew Broderick's portrayal of him so much that he even cut Broderick's cardboard in half with a chainsaw to show his disdain. The concept can work, but it doesn't work here because it ends up demeaning the film's provenance. One strong commonality among failed shows is poor casting decisions. Take John Hughes' beloved Uncle Buck, starring comedy legend John Candy. The 1990 series flopped and was canceled even before all episodes aired, with comedian Kevin Meaney playing Buck. Minnie is an interesting guy, but not John Candy (fun fact: a second attempt at the Uncle Buck series in 2016 also failed).

The most disappointing reason for a TV adaptation to fail is simply timing. Take Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, for example. The program is really good, there is All that would normally be a successful adaptation: it stays true to the Terminator films and continues the story in an interesting way. Where is the mistake? The series premiered in January 2008, well after 2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and picks from the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day... which was released in 1991. The franchise is no longer in the spotlight, and the lukewarm response to Terminator Salvation in 2009 showed a complete lack of interest in the franchise (highlighting another negative: overvalued interest in the film/franchise love).

TV Adaptations of Movies: What Have We Learned?

Can you take a look, we got it! Keep that feeling going, find a good cast, creatively reimagine the movie for the small screen, strike while the iron is hot. Simple...but it's not. The truth is, the success of TV series based on movies is akin to catching Bigfoot, snaring the Loch Ness monster with fishing line, or the proverbial lightning in a bottle. Sure, you can increase the odds, but public opinion is a sly beast and can change in an instant, so a "guaranteed hit" is never really a guarantee. That said, it's probably a safe bet From Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star is unlikely to work anytime, ever.

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