While a movie becoming a TV series is often an effort to stretch a character or plot to its boundaries, something very different motivates the jump from TV to movie theatre. Most often a film based on a television program involves taking a step back.
A writer or producer remembers his past with fondness, and wonders what the characters he grew up watching would be like today. Perhaps they see the chance to show these young whippersnappers the way things used to be in the good old days.
Reviving our youth is a massive business in the US. How many ads do we see every day offering products to make us feel and look younger? Movie producers do the same thing with our entertainment.
Remember Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York in Bewitched? They were just a sweet married couple establishing a family in 1960’s suburbia. And the way Samantha twitched her nose to make dinner for thirty appear instantly—well, that was just adorable. Decades later, Nicole Kidman caught more than one Bewitched fan’s attention, and with a fun supporting cast, retold the endearing story of a regular guy in love with a beautiful witch.
The Addams Family, The Brady Bunch, The Smurfs, and The Chipmunks are all childhood favorites retold. Maverick captured the playfulness of the original series, and even the big screen adaptations of I Spy, The Dukes of Hazard, and Starsky and Hutch had their moments.
Michael Bay transforms multitudes of grown men into children again, every time he makes a Transformers movie. Those big screen explosions look exactly like the ones in all those “boys’” imaginations thirty years ago, maybe even better.
What would the Impossible Missions Force look like today? Tom Cruise shows us, when he once again reprises his role as Ethan Hunt this December in Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol. The original TV series aired in 1966, and Cruise first played Hunt in 1996 with an ensemble cast that set new standards for such adaptations.
Though the M:I movies play darker, slicker, and with more action than the TV series, the makers insure we tune in right away with the iconic them song and the oft quoted, “Your mission, should you choose to accept it…”
Producers work night and day to find movie subjects that will draw crowds, and in a weary economy, television is a proven medium from which to shop.
Should there be more movies adapted from television? Whether we approve or not, they will be made. Which ones would you like to see? Which ones do you hope they leave in our memories?
Tell me, and offer your argument. I’d love to know, and maybe someone out there reading this could make your wish come true. (Twitch your nose—see what happens!)
That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema! Thanks for reading!