Friday, May 28, 2010

Film Yap: Top TV Shows That Could Be Movies

With recent box office hits like Sex and the City, many are wondering what other television shows could easily translate to the big screen. Not all of them are easily convertible. Too many shows are too serialized and designed only for long-term storytelling. That’s why we’ll never see LOST, Mad Men or The Wire in cinemas. However there are a few shows can that take some of their contained structures and make an exciting feature. Such as….


This 90s FOX comedy was cancelled way too soon. Jay Mohr played Peter Dragon, the ultimate immoral film producers. The first (and only) season was all about trying to get one movie off the ground despite every mishap that went wrong. Much like Extras and Entourage, there were many celebrities who played comical versions of themselves. Sandra Bullock had a great cameo when she stormed into Peter’s office after she found out he secretly made a sex tape of the two of them and sold it as a porno called While You Were Sleeping On My Face. She later calms down when she gets a cut of the royalties. There have been plenty of Hollywood satires like What Just Happened and State and Main but they never had teeth this sharp. If you want to see its potential, the entire series is available for free on Hulu. The sad thing is that Buddy Hackett would have to be recast.

Arrested Development

It’s been a year of teasing us, but I’m still hoping this movie will happen. Once again FOX canceled this show way before its time. This beloved cult classic is about the Bluth family who were enjoying the rich lifestyle until their father was arrested for illegal business activities (and light treason). Never has there been a comedy with such strong writing. Episodes are layered with so many subtle hilarious jokes. There was not a weak note in the entire ensemble, which included Will Arnett as the idiot magician GOB and David Cross as the sexually confused Tobias Funke. If the stars aligned perfectly and everyone’s schedules were free this could be a hysterical feature. That is a difficult feat since Jason Bateman and Michael Cera, who are now Hollywood A-listers thanks to this show, play two of the main characters. However fans are so desperate for more of this show, they’ll settle for a puppet musical starring Franklin.

Burn Notice/Human Target

These are both action shows that are currently on the air, but I’m sure FOX will cancel Human Target soon since the quality is so high. These are both shows that are exciting but also very intelligent. Burn Notice is about a spy (Jeffrey Donovan) who was framed and is now stuck in Miami. He uses his skills to help people in need. His narration fills the audience in on a ton of clever tricks that are beyond the usual clich├ęs in film. Human Target is about Christopher Chance (Mark Valley) who is hired to insert himself into a dangerous situation and defuse the problem while it’s going on. This may not be as intelligent as Burn Notice but it has creativity in its action instead. There is no show on television that matches its impressive fight and chase scenes. Both of these shows have great chemistry between its teams. Burn Notice has Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell and Sharon Gless while Human Target has Valley, Chi McBride, and Jackie Earle Haley. Both shows are a ton of fun and could really use a bigger budget to great use.

Doctor Who

Like the last set this show is still going on. In fact it has been going on rather thoroughly since the 60s. It is the story of an alien named The Doctor who travels through time and space and getting into various adventures. The show was recently rebooted by writer Russell T. Davies to great effect in 2005 and gained more popularity with David Tennant in the title role. Now the reigns have been passed to actor Matt Smith and writer Stephen Moffatt and the show has never been better. The writing is so strong that I’m fascinating what they would come up with as a big-screen adventure. This would also be a great way to introduce more American audiences to the show since majority of its popularity resides in the United Kingdom.

Veronica Mars

Remarkably the CW and not FOX canceled this show. This is the show that deservingly made Kristen Bell a star where she played the titular Mars, a young amateur private detective who was more like Phillip Marlowe than Nancy Drew. The show was improperly billed as another teen drama, but it ended up being one of the best examples of neo-noir in any genre. Its season long mysteries were some of the best plotted stories of any TV show. The show had a powerful level of cynicism that was balanced remarkably with heart and fun. I thought its abrupt finale suited the series, but I would still like one more story to tie up the loose ends and revisit the characters years later. This could also show Hollywood that Bell is capable of more than Couples Retreat and When in Rome.

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