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TV Shows That Got Their Own Movies


A successful TV to film adaption is generally one that translates the feeling of the show, but is able to expand it in scale, and give well known characters an outing befitting the new run time. This, however, is a rarity. Let's take a tour of some of the more notable of these adaptations, broken up into categories, to make the task a bit more feasible. Note that these films must be directly connected to the shows they are adapting, with the same characters in mostly the same world. So, movies like 21 Jump Street, which is more of a reboot, or the Transformers series, are out.

First things first, some loose ends: El Camino, which follows Jesse from Breaking Bad, is by no means a bad film, but does feel like an unnecessary tack on. Absolutely Fabulous and Mr. Bean both benefitted from the grander scale antics the big screen gave them. Downton Abbey comfortably gave you more of what you like from the motley crew, but hear this; avoid the Entourage and Sex and the City films at all costs. Each follow the most vapid and despicably, voracious, self-obsessed, consumerist stereotypical examples of men and women ever to stain the reputations of film, men and women.

Next, Animation, for kids: There are the never-ending stream of Veggie Tales, the head on the Hydra that is Kids Christian entertainment, and plenty of direct to video Scooby Doo specials (On Zombie Island is a standout, but maybe a little bit too spooky for younger kids). Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension maintained the show's irreverent slyness and wonderful creativity, and Spongebob got a great adventure for his first movie that was originally meant to complete the series (the explosive, rock ‘n roll finish is absurd, goofy and wholesome). The universal silent slapstick of the adorable Shaun the Sheep is a favourite the world over. Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, Hayao Miyazaki's first film, holds signs of the brilliance to come, and also of his obstinate confidence in his vision (he altered the characters somewhat to make them more agreeable for himself, infuriating some fans).

Animation, not for kids: The Simpsons Movie corralled the show's original writers to rehash some of their best ideas, making for a pretty satisfying upscale of the show where everything is a bit edgier and the family dynamic seems to really be on the line. Beavis and Butt-head Do America was fittingly underachieving, whilst South Park Bigger Longer and Uncut is exactly what it claims to be, and that means it's more biting, crass and obscene then viewers could have hoped for (fitting since the movie is a satire of the discussion surrounding obscenity in popular culture). There looks to be a Family Guy movie in development, but that show is way past relevancy and even if this had come at the height of its popularity, I somehow doubt it would have ever been any good.

Live Action, for kids: Way ahead of the rest, the campy '60s Batman movie, where one of Batman's biggest threats is a group of ducklings who won't get out his way so that he can dispose of a bomb, is good for a laugh. But the practice of adapting live action kids' shows is more common these days with Nickleodeon and Disney typically capping off the run of each new wave of juvenile stars with their own movie (including Drake & Josh, Hannah Montana, Suite Life, and the Wizards of Waverly Place, which is a bit better than its contemporaries). Best of all though are the Muppet movies, which arguably have become more culturally relevant than the show ever was. A Muppet Christmas Carrol brings together the most of the many, many films, Michael Caine is a fantastic choice for Scrooge, playing serious across from these bright and chipper actual puppets.

Sketch/Spoof Comedy: Da Ali G Show features four Sacha Baron Cohen characters who got their own movies. Borat is obviously top dog, but don't skip out on his great indictment of superficial America; Bruno). The Jackass movies are basically extended and expensive episodes of the show, a.k.a. unreviewable. There are far too many SNL movies, which build entire plots around characters from 5-minute sketches (the worst therefore has the most annoying character: It's Pat, and the best: Wayne's World). Finally, the hilarious Naked Gun movies, thankfully stepping up to serve a deluge of visual gags, best described as cleverly stupid.

Star Trek has a long line of films which follow up their series', starting with Star Trek: The Motion Picture. This entry bores some, but it is intelligent sci-fi, powered almost entirely by intellectual curiosity and spectacular sights (more 2001 than Star Trek 2009). Subsequent movies, like the Star Trek the Next Generation films, whilst being crowd pleasers, were more standard fare, shifting the focus of the series towards sci-fi action, which is perhaps the quickest genre to age in all of film or TV.

So we come to the best of the best; Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. To this day, this is an extraordinarily divisive prequel. Many viewers, used to the show's quirky and involving characters and mysteries being able to face the disturbing truth at the heart of the town in frightening but palatable ways, were put off by Fire Walk with Me, which did away with all pretence of innocence. This is best exemplified by taking the beacon of hope that was the late Laura Palmer, so radiant that her death inspires the passionate pursuit for her killer which unravels the façade of the rest of the town, and revealing her to be, as is everyone in Twin Peaks, a deeply troubled soul. Some audience members were uncomfortable that a film about murder, incest, molestation, drug abuse and under age prostitution was joyless. They felt it didn't capture the spirit of the show. Rather, it takes you to its logical conclusion. It is a doubtless fact of the show that Laura suffered horribly, and this film, maintaining the strangeness of its predecessor, examines her entirely. It is uncompromising.