TV Adaptations

The Shield

There might be just one movie in the history of American pop culture that was based on a TV show, featured the original cast, got a theatrical release, and was any good. That movie is Serenity, based on Joss Whedon’s 14-episode sci-fi series Firefly, and it essentially crammed into two hours what the other eight episodes in the rest of the season should have done: finished telling Mal and his crew’s stories. Otherwise, that TV-to-Movie sub-genre is a creative wasteland, full of good intentions and greater profit motives: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, The Simpsons Movie, the Sex and the City sequels, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. With the difficulty of introducing the characters to new viewers while not boring fans; the challenge of stretching out a 22- or 44-minute storyline to feature length; the disruption in routine for cast and crew alike; and the greater imperative to make a film visually interesting (that old chestnut about film being a director’s medium and TV a writer’s one applies here), it’s not difficult to see why big screen adaptations of TV shows fail. It’s a different case for reboots of older shows with new casts. They may be no better — looking your way, Bewitched! — but they come with different expectations and priorities. So when an oral history of The Shield made news yesterday for suggesting the possibility of a post-series movie, I was disappointed that one of my all-time favorite shows might one day be linked to such a disreputable sub-genre. To be fair, creator Shawn Ryan‘s pitch for the film […]

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Do you remember how there is somebody out there trying to put together a big screen re-boot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that doesn’t involve the property’s creator Joss Whedon, or is that a memory that you’ve repressed? Well, it’s happening, at least on some level. Warner Bros. wants the property to live on, and to that goal they hired a screenwriter named Whit Anderson to write a script some time ago. Unfortunately for those hoping for more Buffy, that script was submitted to the studio over the summer and Hero Complex has sources saying that the studio didn’t like it at all. Because of the disappointing words on page, the project has been sent back to square one and executives are looking for a new writer to take a crack at it. Someone Hero Complex describes as a “key player” in the production said of their progress so far, “If you’re going to bring it back, you have to do it right. Anderson came in with some great ideas and she had reinvented some of the lore and it was pretty cool but in the end there just wasn’t enough on the page.” So I guess now that the proposed film has hit a stumbling block the question has to be raised, is this the beginning of the end for a new Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or is the next writer who gets hired going to be able to do something with the property that the studio finds acceptable?

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It’s been a long, winding road to get Disney’s new version of The Lone Ranger to the big screen. We went through the whole casting process, we went through a phase where everybody was waiting to see if Gore Verbinski would come on to direct, we were told that Disney had canned the movie due to its budget being out of control, and then there was a whole series of will-they-won’t-they back and forths where Verbinski kept trying to cut money from the budget to save the film and nobody knew whether or not each cut would be enough to do the job. But, finally, after what feels like years of reporting on this movie already, Deadline Tioga is saying that it’s actually set to go in front of cameras in February. The amazing thing is, despite all of the delays and uncertainty, The Lone Ranger still has the original cast it put together in place. Armie Hammer is still going to be the title character, Johnny Depp is still going to be Tonto, and they’ve even now got Tom Wilkinson signed, sealed, and delivered to play the film’s villain, Latham Cole, and Ruth Wilson locked in to play the female lead, Rebecca Reid. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, there’s also a strong supporting cast featuring names like Barry Pepper and Dwight Yoakam that are still on board.

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In today’s world of instant gratification and excess, enough is never enough. So if somebody makes two seasons of a TV show that you really enjoyed, it’s not a blessing that you got to experience the show at all, it’s a tragedy that the show didn’t last for six seasons and a movie. These days if a show gets cancelled or stops production the rumors of a feature film spin-off are inevitable and near-immediate. I blame Firefly for actually getting a post-cancellation movie made. Now TV shows can never rest in peace, we have to hear about the potential Deadwood movie and the potential Arrested Development movie ad nauseam. Today there’s a new show that you can add to the movie rumor pile, because Bret McKenzie just happened to make an offhand comment to a reporter about turning his HBO collaboration with co-star Jemaine Clement and director James Bobin, The Flight of the Conchords, into a feature. “We’re gonna try and do a movie,” he told THR, “We just need a story.”

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Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming spy movie The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which is an adaptation of a popular television series from the 60s, has had some trouble finding a leading man. The movie will tell the tale of the teaming of two spies under the banner of the United Network Command for Law Enforcement. If Soderbergh’s vision of the material stays true to the TV show’s, then those men will be American secret agent Napoleon Solo and his Russian counterpart Illya Kuryakin. Originally, like in most of Soderbergh’s movies, George Clooney was just going to play the lead role. He had to drop out of the production due to the always looming scheduling conflicts or whatever though, so Soderbergh has been on a mad rush to fill Clooney’s shoes. Since all of the man’s movies that don’t star George Clooney usually star Matt Damon instead, he was the next guy to get a look for the role, but he ended up passing. Then things got desperate, Soderbergh went way out of his wheelhouse and tried to get Johnny Depp to play the part, but he passed as well. That’s a lot of Hollywood’s biggest leading men telling you that they can’t be in your movie. What is a director to do? What Soderbergh seems to be doing is moving on to the next big thing. According to Variety he is in intense negotiations with Bradley Cooper to step in and be his guy. Cooper has been in a good number of films […]

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Bryan Singer has been talking about wanting to make a Battlestar Galactica movie for quite awhile now. But Singer is also one of those directors who always seems to be talking about wanting to make a lot of movies, so you never know what’s really going to happen and what isn’t. Recently some things have gone down to make this adaptation of the late-70s TV series (and, reportedly, not of the mid-2000s remade TV series) possible, however. Firstly, Singer’s remake of Excalibur has fallen apart, leaving a gaping hole in his schedule that should likely be filled with work on Galactica. And now, there’s even more concrete evidence that work on this project is going to start moving forward, as Deadline Rockvale is reporting that Universal has hired John Orloff to write a script. Orloff is a fairly established screenwriter already, and he most recently penned Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous and Zack Snyder’s movie about the owls which are from Ga’Hoole, so it would seem to me that his hiring is a good indication that this is project is being taken very seriously, which is good news for fans of space ships and robot people. Even better news is that Orloff seems to be a pretty obsessive fan of the Galactica universe himself. He told Deadline, “I have wanted to write this movie since I was 12 years old, and built a Galactica model from scratch out of balsa wood, cardboard, old model parts and LEDs. I love BSG, and I would […]

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Jericho Will Hit the Big Screen

Jon Turtletaub promises that we haven’t seen the last of the crew from “Jericho,” and we’ll be seeing them soon at our local Megaplex.

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Anne Hathaway and Steve Carell in Get Smart

Steve Carell leads a great cast of classic characters that deliver a spy van full of laughs and do the original TV series slapstick justice.

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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
B+

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