Best and Worst Television Adaptations
Article by: Greg Roberts
With this Friday’s release of the small to big screen version of The
A-Team, Killerreviews.com thought it would be fun to look at other
attempts in bringing successful television programs to the local
multiplexes. With no shortage of entries for us to discuss, we separated
them into the The Good, The So-So and the downright Ugly.
Star Trek (Pick your year)
Gene Roddeneberry was unable to keep his space trekking crew on
television for more than a few seasons. But on the big screen, the franchise
was breathed new life. Starting with Star Trek: The Motion Picture back in
1979 through J.J. Abrams Star Trek in 2009, the various incarnations of the
Starship Enterprise have churned out film after film with Trekkies and non-Trekkies
alike lining up to see where they will boldly go next.
The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)
Bringing the Brady gang back for a big screen adaptation seemed like a
dumb idea at the time. But director Betty Thomas perfectly cast Gary Cole
and Shelley Long in the lead roles and transported the family from the 70’s
and smacked them into the 1990’s where the Brady gang seemed more out of
place than ever.
The Addams Family (1991)
Gomez and Morticia live the eccentric life while a con artist and someone
claiming to be Uncle Fester try to rid them of their untold wealth. The film
was edgy and dark and stayed true to the look and feel of both the
television show and the comic strip. The Addams Family was successful enough
to launch a sequel – Addams Family Values – and introduced audiences who
didn’t get to see Mermaids the year prior to a young Christina Ricci.
Mission Impossible (1996)
Tom Cruise channelled his inner action hero in this Brian De Palma update
of the 1960’s television classic. Cruise was agent Ethan Hunt and is framed
and hunted by his very own agency. Great action sequences – including the
finale atop a speeding train – and a complimentary cast including Ving
Rhames and Jon Voight made Mission Impossible one of the highest grossing
films of 1996 and spawned two (and soon to be three) sequels.
Other Good: Charlie’s Angels
Getting director Richard Donner behind the cameras with Mel Gibson, Jodie
Foster and James Garner in front was a good idea. But the movie, which was
an action comedy was as forgettable as it was amusing.
The Flintstones (1994)
Casting genius again with John Goodman taking the role as live action
Fred Flintstone. The film did topple the $100 million mark at the box
office, but it missed the mark in attempting to bring the cartoon series to
Starsky & Hutch (2004)
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson brought the cop television series to the big
screen then adapted it into more of a comedy than an out-and-out shoot ‘em
up. The results were mixed. Snoop Doggy Dog in the role as Huggy Bear was a
riot, but the film got sappy and lost its way as it churned towards the end.
Get Smart (2008)
Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway stepped into the shoes of Agents 86 and
99. The film was definitely better than The Nude Bomb which was the first
attempt to bring the television series to theatres, but it still lacked the
umph and innocence of the original characters to catapult the film into
anything more than just a line item on each actors resume.
Other So-So’s: Josie and the Pussycats, Wayne’s World, Scooby-Doo
Dukes of Hazzard (2005)
So, so bad. This film which starred Johnny Knoxville and Seann William
Scott was neither funny nor interesting. All the elements were there
including Daisy Duke played by Jessica Simpson (pre-cupcakes) and the
General Lee as their get-around-town vehicle. But the story was lame and the
jokes fell flatter Gary Coleman on his way home from work.
Speed Racer (2008)
Big things were expected from the Wachowski brothers in adapting the
animated television program to the big screen. These were the same geniuses
that brought us The Matrix and their passion for this project had us
salivating in anticipation of the release. But a color score that would make
Dick Tracy look like it was in black and white and effects that were just as
childish as the story left audience in the cold and made Speed Racer one of
the biggest busts of 2008.
Lost in Space (1998)
Joey from Friends battles Gary Oldman who turns into some kind of
spider-creature. Nuff said.
Wild, Wild West (1999)
Will Smith hasn’t made many mistakes in his picks for starring vehicles,
but this mess directed by Barry Sonnenfeld was a travesty. With special
effect dollars being thrown at a gigantic robotic spider and a uninteresting
villain that had no legs played by the usually reliable Kenneth Branagh, the
film failed to connect with audiences.
Yet again, the casting department did a great job in nabbing Nicole
Kidman to play the nose twitching witch Samantha. But adding Will Ferrell’s
schtick that was already getting old by 2005 into the mix and a story
written and directed by hit or miss Nora Ephron was a disaster.
The Avengers (1998)
Arguably the worst of the bunch (and that says a lot as we won’t go into
the many Saturday Night Live films). How could you screw up a film with
names such as Thurman, Connery and Fiennes attached? Easy, have the story
surround a weather changing machine and throw in the some terribly executed
special effects and action sequences. People were not exactly crying out for
a big screen adaptation of the 1960’s British television show back in the
mid-90’s. A terrible film ensured there would be no follow-up.
Others Uglies: The Beverley Hillbillies, The Saint, The Mod Squad,
Masters of the Universe.