Most movies based on TV series are very weak, but you can find some gems if you look and remember hard enough. I decided to create a list of shows based on movies that ended up being okay or even very good. It wasn't easy, but after asking a few people and researching some shows, I found a couple shows that I thought were good or at least tolerable. Keep in mind; I am going by personal opinion and what I HAVE seen, not critically acclaimed series. I apologize, but M*A*S*H*, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, nor Friday Night Lights have made my list. :( If I ever watch a good length of either of these series and I like more than one show or another, I will fix my list. Also, I tried not to do series that are based off comics then turned movie then turned animated series.
Let us begin!
10. Disney's Aladdin (Animated, Syndication/UPN Chicago)
I loved the Aladdin movie as a kid (and still do to this day.) The animation was great, I liked all the characters, and Robin Williams delivered as the Genie. It's a shame the series didn't have Robin Williams as the Genie, but they found a reasonable replacement: Dan Castellaneta AKA Homer Simpson. While he didn't completely convince me as a suitable replacement for Robin Williams, I did enjoy his work and it was nice that as far as I remember, most of the original voice actors returned for this series (including Gilbert Godfreid as Iago.) There were plenty of interesting new villains and scenarios for the series. The show was harmless fun.
9. Pink Panther (Animated, Original Set of Cartoons on NBC)
To this day, I still can't believe this cartoon was originally based on the Pink Panther movies and that in the movies; Inspector Clouseau was the main character/protagonist. I first watched and enjoyed the cartoons on TNT (remember they used to play cartoons?) in the blocks featuring Popeye and Bugs Bunny. The Pink Panther cartoons come off as very iconic to me and while I wouldn't say he is as popular as Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse, nor would most children of today likely recognize him, I will always have a place in my heart for the Pink Panther cartoons. The original cartoons where he didn't speak, not that horrid show where he starts talking.
8. Harry and the Hendersons (Live Action, Fox Chicago/Syndication)
Okay, this is by no means a very good show, hell the movie itself might not be great, but you know what, it has great nostalgia value. I remember loving the original movie featuring John Lithgow and as a young child, I was thrilled to find out that a Harry and the Hendersons series started airing on TV. Every Saturday, I would watch WWF Superstars on Fox and when it was over my brother and I would have lunch and watch Harry and the Hendersons. Very goofy but it entertained me. :)
7. Weird Science (Live Action, USA Network)
Oh the memories I have of watching this and Duckman on Saturday nights. This is one of the few TV shows based on a movie where I actually prefer the show to the movie (yes I said that.) Personally, I felt that the people playing Gary, Wyatt, and Chet (him especially) were a lot funnier than the original actors and come on everyone: Vanessa Angel>>>>>>>Kelly LeBrock, hotter back then and now (I know there might be a slight age difference but in their primes, Vanessa Angel is way hotter!!!) When I was younger I thought it was hysterical and "mature", now looking back it is pretty tame and corny but I still enjoy it for it's nostalgia value. Also, Vanessa Angel. :)
6. Freddy's Nightmares (Live Action, Syndication/Now on ChillerTV)I never knew about this show until a couple of years ago. I started searching YouTube for videos of Freddy as well as the Friday the 13th Series. I have grown to enjoy both series of movies as well as the iconic characters of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhies. Unfortunately for Friday the 13th, Jason was NEVER in the series and it was more about "Jason's victims" with weird supernatural elements. What I liked about Freddy's Nightmares is that while Freddy may not be in every episode as the main bad guy, there are plenty of episodes where he does get involved, he is narrating, and more importantly, the original actor of Robert Englund plays him!!! The show is a little ridiculous and has a much lower budget than the Nightmare movies themselves, but I am a sucker for shows like Tales from the Crypt and Monsters, and this show falls under that category. Also, how can you not like a show featuring the original Freddy Krueger?
5. Teen Wolf (Animated, CBS)
I like the Teen Wolf movies (yes both of them, my hero Michael J. Fox in the first one, Jason Bateman in the second.) This is a fine Saturday morning cartoon featuring lots of corny jokes and typical troublesome scenarios for the main characters. It's highly entertaining and I still enjoy it today. The MTV remake series doesn’t have shit on the movies or the animated series!! Also, you have to love both the opening and ending themes!
Ending (Go to 3:09 mark)
4. Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex (Animated, Japan/Adult Swim)
Now this is a show I have not finished but have enjoyed from what I have watched. Both the original movie and the TV series have very deep stories that do require a lot of attention but if you watch both closely, you'll enjoy it! It's a very fun futuristic cyberpunk show that is a thrill to watch. The animation is incredible and I really enjoy the main character Motoko Kusanagi (who inspires some many awesome/sexy cosplays), Battou, and the adorable Tachikomas. There is plenty of action and enjoyment to be had from both the series and the movies.
3. Toxic Crusaders (Animated, Syndication/UPN Chicago)Troma fans may get angry with me but this is another movie to TV show where I think I enjoyed the show more. It's controversial to say as this show is VERY toned down from the original Toxic Avenger movies (which I enjoyed) but I personally feel the writers worked very well with the challenge. I enjoy Toxie a lot in this series as he talks like he's Barney the Dinosaur but looks like a horrid zombie corpse (well minus blood and being very green.) I love the hidden (and not-so-hidden) humor in this show. What other children's show in the 90s will you hear a giant bug woman resembling Roseanne believing someone is a stripper for her bachelorette party and talking about having a "fling"? It's in the same vein as Freakazoid and The Tick, and in my personal opinion, was a show ahead of its time. "Hey I'm sitting on top of the world! With my mop, tutu, and girl!!!"
2. Ninja Scroll - The Series (Animated, Japan/DVD)
I have plenty of friend that love anime. For those of my friends and to those reading that don't watch anime but love action movies, go rent a copy of Ninja Scroll. It was a great action movie that really got me into anime: lots of violence, action, and a little "mature/sexy" scenes. Seriously though, it's a great movie and while the series may not be as great or gory, it's still very fun! The series is treated like it's own story but does have some connections made to the original movie. The series is very fun as it has decent animation, a really good story and character build up, and while it may be a little tone in terms of violence, it still delivers in action!
1. The REAL Ghostbusters (Animated, ABC)
How can you forget the classic opening to the show or the movie?
Whoops, that's not the Ghostbusters we know and love, here's THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS!
If you're a child of the 80s (and perhaps the early 90s), how can you forget this show? It may not have been your favorite show (could have been Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, could have been G.I. Joe, might have been He-Man or Captain N, ;) ), but let's face it, unless you were deprived as a kid, you know you enjoyed this show and likely had the action figures. We can argue all day what is better between the movies or the animated series. Let’s face it they both are great! They are still talked about today, you can see multiple Ghostbusters costumes be it at an anime or comic convention or even a group of people dressed as the crew at a bar on Halloween. This show hosted a lot of crazy monsters: an evil granny with a monstrous canary, a boogie man who would scare two children and deprive them of sleep, and let's not forget this show gave Slimer a cuter, cuddlier personality. While some may be embarrassed to admit, we enjoyed it. It created so many toys, video games, and don’t forget the awesome Hi-C Ecto Cooler drink!
This is my top ten, if you want to disagree, agree, or blast me for what order I placed the shows or for having/not having a certain show on there, please comment! Tell your friends to read it too! Now for some other info related:
TV Shows you (and I) Didn't Know Were Based on Movies:
1. Mr. Belvedere (From the movie Sitting Pretty, based on the novel "Belvedere")
2. What's Happening!!! (Loosely based on the movie "Cooley High")
Shows You May Not Have Known Were on Air:
1. Delta House (Continuation of National Lampoon's Animal House)
2. Fast Times (Continuation of Fast Times at Ridgemont High)
3. Ferris Bueller
4. Casablanca (?!?!?!)
5. Bad News Bears
6. Dangerous Minds
7. Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles
Upcoming TV Shows Based on Movies:
1. Tron: Uprising (10-Part Animated Series Coming to Disney XD, should be awesome!)
2. Star Wars: Underworld (Live Action Series, Currently on Hold)
3. Harold & Kumar: Animated Series (Was Being Pitched, Status Unknown)