TV-Inspired Films: Sometimes Size Does Matter

Zachary Quinto as Spock in the 2009 Star Trek film

Zachary Quinto as Spock in the 2009 Star Trek film (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing – just ask Hollywood. When they stumble onto something that seems to whet the audience’s appetite they can’t wait to super-size it. That’s what happens when successful TV shows are brought to the big screen. Each of the films below was inspired by a television series and some hit the mark better than others. While none of these movies could have been made without their small screen inspiration, sometimes bigger really is better.

“Charlie’s Angels”

A trio of svelte beauties who flaunt brains and brawn as well as bodacious bods working for a mysterious disembodied voice to right wrongs and bring justice to the downtrodden – all while looking completely fabulous – what’s not to love? The ’70s TV show was a prototype girl-power vehicle that used sexist stereotypes to the advantage of the hot women being stereotyped. The 2000 reboot of this classic franchise that featured the incomparable Farrah Fawcett and sublime Jaclyn Smith was the perfect campy homage to bring this sexy, silly premise to a whole new generation. Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu brought a smarter, if slightly goofier, vibe to the film that was way more fun than the television show.

“Star Trek”

There have been a slew of movies based on the penultimate sci-fi series “Star Trek,” but the absolute best (I don’t care how hard-core you are) is the most recent adaptation featuring a sexy Mr. Spock played by Zachary Quinto, a dead-on portrayal of the irreverent Bones played by Karl Urban and an unforgettable turn by Simon Pegg as Scotty. This origin story for space-cowboy Captain James T. Kirk does everything right when it comes to paying tribute to the original series (there’s even a sexy green alien for Kirk to get down and dirty with) and adding in the bells and whistles of modern filmmaking technology. While “Star Trek” remains one of the most influential television series of all time, there’s no denying the overwhelming cheese factor in those original episodes. The latest film transforms the series into a bona fide action adventure without losing the quirky genius that die-hard fans fell in love with the first time we joined the U.S.S. Enterprise in going where no man has gone before.

“The Brady Bunch Movie”

The “Brady Bunch Movie” is by no means an amazing film; however, the big-screen adaptation of the sitcom that was the precursor to “Modern Family” is a delightfully ridiculous tromp through the wacky and sugar-coated world the Bradys inhabit. The movie brings the family into the ’90s, but the catch is they’re still living in some 1970s time warp anomaly. All your favorite moments are thrown in, from Marcia breaking her nose to the curse of a Tiki idol found in Hawaii on a family vacation. And a few necessary liberties were taken to spice things up, the most notable being the sexual tension between Marcia and Greg. This is one case where the film version is a great send-up of an already pretty silly show. If you look to the Bradys for wholesome family lessons then stick with the TV show, but if you want to see their world turned upside down while still clinging to their “Sunshine Day” attitudes, then this movie will definitely tickle your funny bone.

“Mission: Impossible”

This is one more case of modern technology finally catching up with the awesome premise of a kick-ass TV show to make a movie that eclipses the show while simultaneously doing the spirit of that show total justice. There’s no doubt that the “Mission: Impossible” film franchise is one of the most successful TV-to-movie leaps of all time, and it doesn’t hurt that mega-star Tom Cruise sits at the helm as the leading man of mystery. The films include all the suspense, secrecy and spy shenanigans one came to expect from the original 1960’s series and carries it off with a sleek, modern edge that continues to satisfy – even after four silver screen outings.

“The Simpsons Movie”

This is one of those things that I suppose just had to happen. “The Simpsons” is an American television institution and hasn’t lost its appeal after 23 years on the air. The irreverent humor, the political statements, the nuclear family values — they all remain fresh and engaging. While it was entertaining and brought us classic moments like Spider Pig, it was really just a regular half-hour episode on steroids – and didn’t bring anything new to the franchise except the chance to pay $8 to see a drawn-out version of something you usually get to enjoy for free while sitting in your underwear with a beer on the couch every Sunday night. While I love “The Simpsons,” their foray into the world of film was unnecessary and slightly disappointing.

What TV-inspired films are your favorite and which could you do without?


About the Author

Lisa has been a TV fanatic since she was little, and continues that obsession writing for

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