In the hugely competitive world of TV, brand recognition is one of the biggest advantages that a producer or network can have. All shows face a struggle to find an audience, but never is this more true than when a series is entirely new. GameSpot’s ever-growing list of canceled shows reveals just how few new series make it to a second or third season.
One way that a show can arrive with a built-in audience is if it’s an adaptation of an already successful movie. That’s the theory anyway. There have been several great TV series based on films, some of which are now better known in their small screen versions, such as M*A*S*H*, Friday Night Lights, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Most recently, the likes of Hannibal, Fargo, and The Exorcist proved that an interesting approach to an existing movie could result in good things.
Sadly, there are many more examples of bad shows that have been adapted from movies. The previous examples either did something interesting with the original concept or made use of the longer running time to expand on the characters and story. But too many shows think that slavishly copying what made a movie so popular, and stretching it over many hours, will result in something just as good. But as we’ve seen so many times over the years, it does not.
The other big problem of adapting hit movies to the small screen is the cast. Very few TV adaptations can afford the stars that made the film a hit in the first place, so often we are left with cheaper, and frankly less talented, equivalents. Sometimes it doesn’t matter, when the concept is strong enough to overcome a cast downgrade. But when your movie relied on the charisma and talent of someone like John Candy or Jackie Chan, it’s no wonder the TV version seems poor in comparison.
So here’s our look at the worst ever TV shows adapted from hit movies. In most cases, these series didn’t make it to a second season and have been wisely forgotten by most viewers. But they did happen, and serve only to remind us of how good the films were to start with.