Can you hear that? The sound of “Unchained Melody” wafting gently through the air and around your extensive collection of nostalgic 90s memorabilia? According to Deadline, Ghost, everyone’s favorite story about murder, true love and pottery sex is getting the TV adaptation treatment via writers Akiva Goldman (Fringe, The Da Vinci Code, Batman & Robin) and Jeff Pinker (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Fringe).
The original movie centered upon a freshly-murdered man (Patrick Swayze) who uses a psychic (Whoopi Goldberg) to reconnect with his fiancee (Demi Moore and her terrible haircut) back on Earth. Seeing is this is a pretty self-contained story, that ends with Swayze finally leaving the Earthly world and traveling to Heaven (the spiritual plane? afterlife?) after fulfilling his duties and protecting his lady, it’s unclear what a weekly TV series would entail. In my dreams, it’s a buddy cop-esque show where Oda Mae and Ghost Swayze stand-in team up to solve mysteries together.
The Ghost team has indicated that this is just one of many movie-to-TV adaptations to come out of Paramount’s recently revamped television division — that has free pickings of its film division from which to select. The TV unit, which launched in July, is responsible for that Beverly Hills Cop pilot that never made it off the ground last season. If all goes to plan, there are endless Paramount films from the 80s and 90s that are poised for prime time: Pretty in Pink, Top Gun, Pet Sematary (the pets keep comin’!), a Clueless reboot (it’ll happen, give it a couple years).
Though the Ghost plot seems like a strange choice for television, the decision to serialize the film on TV is undoubtedly inspired by the recent success of other movie-to-small screen adaptations. Over the last few seasons, we’ve seen shows like NBC’s Hannibal and A&E’s Bates Motel gain decent ratings and critical praise. Hannibal, based on Silence of the Lambs, is a truly great interpretation of a classic movie, staging impossible, creative murders and disgustingly beautiful dinners. You know why they’re disgusting, right? The first season managed to pull in an average 4.7 million viewers and has been picked up for a second.
Bates Motel, a modern prequel to Psycho, is a bit of an odd premise, but one that is somehow working because nobody can do crazy in a wrap dress like Vera Farmiga. Bates, a Twin Peaks-minus-the-magic show, earned its own second season with respectable ratings; the two adaptations are perfect examples of what could happen when you have a solid idea for morphing your classic movie’s material into something great, and not say…something like what happened with ABC Family’s short-lived stab at 10 Things I Hate About You. If Ghost has a solid premise and smart writing, there’s a good chance it can stick it out on television.
Because let’s face it — the movie-to-TV thing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Lest we forget, Ben Stiller is trying to make the most meta adaptation of Reality Bites happen, and Rosemary’s Baby will be haunting our dreams again soon. Just watch this “Unchained Melody” music video, okay?