Episode 172: A Look at The Recent Movie-To-TV Boom and the Fear of New Stuff


Last week, I talked about a show that got cancelled. It was a show that should’ve been championed by the SJW crew, not because it was based on a popular movie. The SJW should’ve mobilized to save the show because it was a television program that featured diverse casting decisions, which is the direct opposite of Hollywood whitewashing that they love to complain about. But since the show wasn’t that big of a hit, they didn’t bother.

Now, Rush Hour was probably greenlit not because it featured a cast of different races and genders. No, I like to think it was an easy sell for the producers as it is based on the smash hit film franchise that featured Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. But it seems like Rush Hour is only a drop in the bucket when you take into account the dozens and dozens of movies that are getting made for the small screen.

Don’t believe me? Just look at the some of the recent television shows that have popped up as of late. There’s the aforementioned Rush Hour. There are also shows like Minority Report, Limitless, 12 Monkeys and Fargo. Not only that, there are a whole myriad of upcoming shows that are going to be based on movies as well! There’s Lethal Weapon, Frequency and Taken. Taken! How are they going to make a show based on Taken? What, is a family member going to be kidnapped each week so the Liam Neeson guy can go around the world to save them?

"They took my cousin twice removed!"

“They took my cousin twice removed!”

It does seem like there is this weird invasion of movies to television properties that’s invading network programming. It would be incredibly easy and quick to say that, while Hollywood has already run out of ideas, television networks have run out of ideas as well! But I think it’s a little more than just that. I actually think the big networks are just afraid to try something new. That may sound similar to them running out of ideas but it isn’t.

I actually think the current state of television shows that the big-name networks is the fault of the executives. I think US networks like ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox aren’t willing to give us new ideas because the higher ups over there are scared of pushing the envelope and they don’t really know what young people actually like. Why am I saying this? Well, they are trying to push for television shows that already have a build in fan base! Or, at the least, something that people remember.

It’s much like the current state of movies if you really think about it. Lots of people think the reason why they’re making a lot of sequels, remakes and reboots is because the people at Hollywood can’t come up with anything new. It may seem that way but, in actuality, there are a lot of creative people working in the business of making movie magic. In this year alone, we got the comedy Hail, Ceasar!, the bio-pic Eddie the Eagle, the craptastic Gods of Egypt, the animated Disney flick Zootopia, the first person movie Hardcore Henry, the comedy farce Keanu, the mockumentary Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, the thrilling film The Shallows, the supernatural horror film Lights Out, the adult animated Sausage Party, the horror thriller Don’t Breathe and the heroic film based on Sully. And I haven’t even mentioned the host of independent films and foreign films like Train to Busan!

That’s a lot of films that do not have ties with previously released material! This does mean that there are a lot of people that do have creative visions out there. The problem is that Hollywood studios are reluctant to greenlight new projects. Rather, the people in charge of these film studios are afraid to start production on something unfamiliar. People generally forget that movies and television are not in it to entertain people. No, they’re there to make as much money as possible. But new projects are going to be a hard sell, especially to investors who actually bankroll the production of these films. They can usually alleviate the fears of investors by telling them a big name star or some hotshot director is going to be in the film. But with remakes, sequels and reboots, well, producers love to eat them up because the property is already familiar and “safe.”

This is pretty much what’s happening in Hollywood as well as TV these days. It’s going to be much easier for someone to pitch the idea of a small screen version of a very successful movie franchise that’s been long dead in the water because, even though people may have forgotten it, just the mere mention of it can stir up nostalgic memories. It doesn’t matter if it’s based on a movie like Frequency, a film that was released more than a decade ago!

Just because it does seem like television networks are just taking movies and squishing them into the small screen, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to be bad. I mean, take a look at other movie-to-TV shows like Fargo, Ash vs. The Evil Dead and 12 Monkeys. We can even go really far back and look at one of the most successful television shows of all time: MASH! I actually didn’t know this old sitcom about surgeons in the Korean War was based on a film!

I’m not really for or against television networks rehashing movies properties and making them into TV shows. If they put a good spin on it, I’m okay. And besides, if the show is actually good, should it matter that it’s based on a movie?

Okay, all this talk about television shows really got me thinking of the upcoming ones I’m actually looking forward to. And I guess I’ll talk more about them next week! See you then

What do you think of networks taking film properties and making them into television shows? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!


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