Today, the common wisdom is that television is so much better than film. What people fail to mention is that TV wouldn’t be where it is today without film.
That being said, TV is getting inspiration from just about any source it can, and lately they have been turning towards older movies. Bates Motel and Hannibal, which are still running strong today, made headlines when they debuted last year. This past Wednesday, Fargo premiered on FX and accomplished the nearly impossible task of replicating the unique tone and style of The Coen Brothers.
Turning a movie into a TV show used to be viewed as a poisonous idea (anybody remember My Big Fat Greek Life?), but now it has become a popular practice filled with rewards. TV shows adapted from movies work when they take what they have been given and craft it into something new. Don’t try and rewrite history: have the series take place in the same world as the given movie, with an unspoken awareness that this movie and the events that took place in it actually happened at some point in either the past or future.
As much as I would love to rant against this trend as a killer of originality, it just seems pointless. It is easier to accept that some stories will just be told over and over again in different forms because that is how storytelling works. Besides, given the liberties they take, Fargo and Bates Motel might as well be separate stories. The truth is that familiar brands sell.
So instead of fighting against this trend, I will embrace it. Here are a few films, new and old, that could make great TV shows:
As long as they can find somebody else as good as Jack Nicholson to play Jake Gittes, then I would be on board. Los Angeles in the seedy 1930s is interesting enough for one film. I can’t even imagine the possibilities that backdrop could lend for television. Sure, the characters in Chinatown are incredibly memorable, but there is a lot you can do with that setting.
There has been plans for a third Ghostbusters movie for way too long now. Ivan Reitman and most of the stars have no interest in the project. Instead of trying to ruin a classic, they should just start from scratch with a new series. This could either be a prequel or a loosely based adaptation with completely different characters. I could see Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr., and Adam Pally in the leading roles. There are endless possibilities with this idea. There are a lot of ghosts out there, or so I am told.
Here is another action comedy with a lot of potential for new stories. Hot Fuzz might have been more fitting as a movie, given that it is all about a love for movies. Yet, I would enjoy seeing Simon Pegg and Nick Frost back together on the small screen with Edgar Wright at the helm (the three of them first collaborated on Spaced).
The ending of In Bruges doesn’t necessarily leave a lot of room for more stories from these characters. You could say the same thing about Fargo though. An In Bruges TV show would be amazing if it could recapture the sardonic and hilarious tone of the source material. Bruges is a tiny city filled with possibilities. The only issue would be finding somebody who could drop an f-bomb as elegantly as Ralph Fiennes can.
This Is the End
It is about time the Apatow Gang came back to TV. No matter how big of movie stars they all become, the small screen will always be there for them. It would just be fitting if the likes of Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Jay Baruchel just played themselves, given as it is hard for me to separate them from any character they play. That’s not a bad thing. This is about as close as I can get to reviving Freaks and Geeks without creating a Frankenstein monster from pieces of a long cancelled TV show.