Sometimes, someone out there gets the idea to turn a movie into a TV show to keep the franchise fresh and alive. Of course, most of the time this idea fails horribly. However, these five series are the best TV shows to be based on movies.
Running from 1996 until 1999, Clueless was pretty true to the movie it was based on in the beginning. While there were some continuity issues within the show – such as everyone taking Driver’s Ed when Cher already took the license test in the movie – the message was pretty much the same. I feel that the show started going downhill when Josh just up and disappeared, which was also around the time that the show started deviating majorly from the movie. It started to become less about a clueless, well-meaning girl and her friends trying to survive high school and become more dramatic.
4. The Real Ghostbusters
The Real Ghostbusters was on from 1986 until 1991, and the first season scared the holy crap out of me. In my defense, I was three. I am one of the few that preferred the show after it became Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters because it was less scary and I was five, but even as I got older there was one thing I just absolutely loved about The Real Ghostbusters – it attempted to have some sort of continuity with the movies. It explained, for example, why Slimer was just hanging around living with the Ghostbusters even though he was one of the first ghosts they bust in the first movie. The series had a spin off in 1997 called Ghostbusters Extreme that wasn’t bad, but just could never recapture the glory of the original series or the movies.
Beetlejuice had ran from 1989 until 1991, lasting for four seasons. The cartoon had no continuity at all with the movie, but that was just fine – Beetlejuice wasn’t really in the movie much anyway. What we got to see was more of the ghost with the most, albeit watered down, and his interpersonal relationships as he annoyed his neighbors, got annoyed by his family, and tried to keep his best friend, Lydia Deetz, happy. At some point, I stopped trying to reconcile the movie with the cartoon and realized that they are independently great, but together just make a horrible mess.
2. Weird Science
Running from 1994 until 1998, Weird Science was based on the 80s movie of the same name, and may be one instance of the series being better than the movie it was based on. While the movie itself is pretty good, the plot just lent itself better to the sitcom format. Two teen boys make a cybergenie on their computer who grants their every wish, but it doesn’t always go as planned. Weird Science, to this day, is one of my favorite shows because it had the weird stuff I learned I liked in TV series at a young age, while keeping it funny, which is something the weirder shows don’t usually do.
1. Clerks: The Animated Series
I’m pretty sure Clerks: The Animated Series was canceled after four out of its six episodes aired out of order, and I sure as heck could never find it on ABC when it was on, even though I do remember seeing the ads. However, I did discover how much I loved the series when it reran on Comedy Central. Why did Comedy Central rerun only six episode? I have no idea, but I’m glad they did. The series was hilarious as it was still had the heart of Clerks, but animated and had many locations. They made fun of everything, including themselves. Of course, the problem here isn’t that the show sucked, but that it was on the wrong network for its target audience. Clerks has its place as a cult movie; Clerks: The Animated Series has its place as a cult series.
These five series are the best shows based on movies. When trying to create a show based on a movie to keep the momentum alive, it usually doesn’t fare well, but these shows prove that it can be done to some degree of success.