While it seems like just about every film in theatres today is based on a book, the trend in TV appears to focus on finding inspiration from movies. Case in point, CraveTV’s latest series Snatch, based on Guy Ritchie’s 2000 cult-favourite English mobster film.
The new TV series stars Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint and Skins star Luke Pasqualino as best friends Charlie and Albert, two small time criminals who are trying to get rich off stolen diamonds while keeping themselves off gangster Sonny Castillo’s (Ed Westwick) hit list. No one wants to get fed to the pigs.
If the upcoming series wants to stick around for a sequel, known in TV terms as Season 2, it may want to take some lessons from these 10 series that successfully made the transition from the big to small screen.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
Movie Release: 1992
Movie Stars: Kristy Swanson, Luke Perry, Donald Sutherland
TV Seasons: 7 – (1997 – 2003)
TV Stars: Sarah Michelle Gellar, David Boreanaz, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan
Biggest Change: The film version of Buffy was a dark comedy, with bright pops of cheerleader uniforms and early ’90’s fashion causing some critics and viewers to dismiss the film as fluff. On the other hand, the TV series was a thrilling drama that is often included in critics ‘best of’ lists for TV series.
What Worked: Both the film and the hugely successful TV series were written by Joss Whedon, with Whedon’s focus on a strong female character at the centre of both versions.
Movie Release: 1960
Movie Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin
TV Seasons: 5 (2013 – 2017)
TV Stars: Freddie Highmore, Vera Farmiga
Biggest Change: For starters, Mrs. Bates is much more alive in the TV series.
What Worked: By expanding on the universe of the Bates Motel first created by Alfred Hitchcock, the TV series allowed viewers to see the backstory on Norman and his mother Norma, explaining how they came to own their hotel…and became murderers. That’s a big part, too.
Movie Release: 1985
Movie Stars: Michael J. Fox, James Hampton, Scott Paulin
TV Seasons: 6 (2011 – 2017)
TV Stars: Tyler Posey, Dylan O’Brien, Crystal Reid, Tyler Hoechlin
Biggest Change: The first season of the hit MTV series stayed close to the 1985 film, aside from changing lead character Scott’s main sport from basketball to lacrosse (more opportunity to unleash his werewolf anger).
What Worked: Expanding the film into six seasons allowed the MTV series to go deeper and darker into each character’s story, expanding the werewolf universe and adding additional elements of the supernatural.
Movie Release: 1996
Movie Stars: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Skeet Ulrich
TV Seasons: 2 (2015 – present, a third season is in production)
TV Stars: Willa Fitzgerald, Bex Taylor-Klaus, John Karna
Biggest Change: The original Scream series was based around a serial killer tormenting a small town, with the first film in the long-running franchise concluding with two teenage boys as the murderers who initially killed their friend’s mother. In the TV series, cyber-bullying is the catalyst for a new string of murders.
What Worked: The teen language of Kevin Williamson’s original Scream film is updated to fit today’s youth, with the screams and slashes just as terrifying in both iterations.
Movie Release: 2001
Movie Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore
TV Seasons: 3 (2013 – 2015)
TV Stars: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas
Biggest Change: The character Clarice, originally portrayed on the big screen by Jodie Foster and then Julianne Moore, is absent from the series, but her role as the audience’s view into the mind of Hannibal is broken up into several characters in the series.
What Worked: The character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, first made famous by Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, is still just as terrifying when portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen. Maybe it’s the mask?
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Movie Release: 2004
Movie Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Garrett Hedlund, Jay Hernandez, Derek Luke, Tim McGraw
TV Seasons: 5 (2006 – 2011)
TV Stars: Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Aimee Teegarden, Taylor Kitsch, Jesse Plemons
Biggest Change: Main character names were changed and five seasons allowed the Friday Night Lights TV show to expand much more into the personal lives compared to the football-centric film.
What Worked: Peter Berg adapted both the Friday Night Lights film and TV series from H.G. Bissinger’s book “Friday Night Lights,” based on a real football team in Odessa, Texas. Berg kept the same focus on the personal in both the film and TV show, making each about the people on the field and not solely on the game of football.
Movie Release: 1995
Movie Stars: Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Donald Faison, Elisa Donovan, Paul Rudd
TV Seasons: 3 (1996 – 1999)
TV Stars: Rachel Blanchard, Stacey Dash, Donald Faison, Elisa Donovan
Biggest Change: While many of the cast members from the film returned for the series, leads Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd pursued their film careers.
What Worked: The TV version of Amy Hecklering’s groundbreaking teen film didn’t have the same social and cultural impact as the original, but it did continue to poke fun at the rich teens, while promoting a positive message of inclusion and female friendship.
Movie Release: 2008
Movie Stars: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace
TV Seasons: 1 (2017)
TV Stars: Clive Standen, Jennifer Marsala, James Landry Hébert
Biggest Change: Taken TV series lead Clive Standen plays a younger version of Liam Neeson’s retired CIA agent Bryan Mills, showing his life as an active member of the CIA.
What Worked: Rather than find his daughter, the character of Mills, who has yet to have children, must avenge the death of his sister. The high-intensity action sequences and cheesy, yet intimidating one-liners are still fully intact.
Movie Release: 1973
Movie Stars: Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin
TV Seasons: 1 (2016, second season has been confirmed)
TV Stars: Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins
Biggest Change: The HBO series largely stays true to the original film, but the biggest difference comes with the treatment of the robots. Specifically, the voice they are given and their growing autonomy, which threatened the future of the park and everyone in it at the end of Season 1.
What Worked: Michael Crichton’s cautionary tale about what happens when man tries to play God is kept largely intact for the HBO series, with cutting edge robotics and special effects making the story even more powerful.
Movie Release: 1996
Movie Stars: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi
TV Seasons: 3 (2014 – present)
TV Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Colin Hanks, Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton
Biggest Change: Murder is still the focal point of the Fargo TV series, but unlike the film, the show version features different characters and a number of different timelines and stories, with the original film acting as a stand-alone story that relates back to the town where no one should live.
What Worked: The Coen brothers’ involvement in the TV series spinoff of their 1996 film is relegated to a producer credit, but the quirky, dark humour from their original film remains intact in the Golden Globe-winning series.
Want to plan your binge watching in advance? Be sure to check out more of what’s coming to CraveTV in April.