From the box office to the small screen

Six TV series based on films


We’re not sure if it’s a sign of us getting old here at ShortList, or if we’re just living through a golden generation of TV and film, but more and more of our big-screen favorites are being remade into series. With our thirst for binge watching seeming unquenchable, producers are churning out remakes faster than you can say, “Netflix and Chill”. Now, while we’re all in favour of extra choice, we’re scratching our heads wondering if box office favourites should be chopped up for the small screen. Or are Hollywood producers well within their rights to continue milking the cash cows of yesteryear? While some series have no doubt added to, and indeed bettered the original, others have struggled to live up to the hype and failed to win a second series. Here we’ve looked at some past, present and future film-to-TV shows.  



You know you’ve done a good job when the TV series is more popular than the film it’s based on, as is the case with Netflix’s Fargo. Originally released in 1996, the Coen Brothers film won two Academy Awards and a BAFTA (among many other accolades) but it’s the recent series that have really got fans excited. Unlike many re-hashed films, Fargo the series doesn’t have the same characters, played by different actors and it’s not the same storyline from twenty years ago. In fact, the only thing it’s got in common with the movie is it’s about murder, with dark comedy thrown in, and that it’s set in Minnesota. Yet fans have lapped it up on Netflix and are eagerly awaiting season three in 2017.


Even the biggest scaredy-cats have seen at least one of the Scream movies, and in 2015 that was enough to convince MTV to take on the TV series. While the later instalments of the horror franchise suffered at the box office, there was enough life left in the who-done-it style format to justify a shot at the small screen. Unlike Fargo, Scream the TV show sticks to the same format as the first film. In the series, the murder of a high-school student in a small town brings back memories of a similar murder that occurred 20 years earlier (sound familiar?). Sadly, unlike the popular movie franchise, the series didn’t really capture fans’ imagination, and left few asking for more. While enough watched it to secure a second season, fans of the MTV show are unlikely to see a third season after suffering a fall in ratings.

Uncle Buck

Some things are better left untouched, and this is one of them if you ask us. Fans of the 1989 comedy, starring the one and only John Candy, decided a TV version of the movie was not what they wanted, and after just one season producers ABC pulled the plug. The episodes followed the same plot as the movie. Buck Russell, this time played by comedian Mike Epps, is down on his luck and takes up the job of caring for this nieces and nephews while in search of a job. Buck’s childish manner endears him to the children, who in turn help him with matters of his own. While John Candy left fans wanting more, sadly the same can’t be said about the TV remake, which was abruptly cancelled earlier this year.



Remember the original film starring Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin and James Brolin? Never-mind. Basically the sci-fi tale of Western gun-slinging robots has been adapted into a new TV series by HBO. The 1973 plot saw a rogue robot cause things to go terribly wrong at an adult theme park. In the updated version the theme park returns, along with the robots, and provokes thought with viewers by questioning morality with hedonistic indulgent. The new series is slick and polished, with the ‘hosts’ (robots) experiencing emotions, almost, which shows is evolution from the original deadeye robots of the seventies. This adds layers of complexity and leaves viewers questioning their own reality. An all-star cast, including Anthony Hopkins, Thandie Newton, James Marsden and Ed Harris make up this exciting re-make. Watch on OSN now.

Lethal Weapon

If you’re a fan of the popular original films there’s a good chance you’re apprehensive about a new TV re-make. After all, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? The series is already airing in The States and has been received with, well, a mixed bag of reviews, shall we say. Damon Wayans replaces Danny Glover as Roger Murtaugh, while Martin Riggs, made famous by Mel Gibson, is played by Clayne Crawford. While many die-hard fans will say the Riggs and Murtaugh characters can only be played by the original stars, it is in fact the on-screen chemistry of Crawford and Wayans that saves the new series. The plot is largely the same as it was in the late 1980s; Riggs is unstable after the death of his wife and unborn child and has nothing to lose. On the flipside, his partner Murtaugh has it all to lose, with a settled family and close to retirement. Things have been tweaked for TV and the show’s characters have been changed in a way that you’re not constantly comparing them to Gibson and Glover. Whether you think the re-make is a good idea or not, it’s here, and the producers have clearly decided fans aren’t, ‘too old for this s***’ just yet.



Can you imagine Ron Weasley in Snatch? Nope, neither can we but it’s happening. Rupert Grint will play Charlie Cavendish in the upcoming series based on the British crime/gangster/comedy scheduled for 2017. Not only is Harry Potter’s best pal starring in the show, he’s also an executive producer too. The spirit of the film will remain but the characters and story will be different. Sixteen years on from Guy Richie’s original, Snatch is about a group of twenty-somethings who stumble upon a truckload of stolen gold. Thus, the lads are thrown into the murky underworld of organized crime. Grint plays a posh con man that needs throw bent cops, gypsy fighters and other pesky villains off the scent. Snatch will be a ten-episode series, and it’s one we’re looking forward to. Although fans of the film may argue there’s no need for a TV remake, especially with Brad Pitt, Jason Statham and Alan Ford absolutely nailing it on the big screen. So, over to Mr Weasley to wave his magic wand.


This is another for the ‘should they, shouldn’t they?’ pile. In truth, it’s hard to say whether or not a TV series will add to the popular film franchise, which by the way, has grossed over $1billion. Next year we’ll see a younger Clive Standen (which means no Liam Neeson if you were wondering) in what is a prequel to the events of the first film. Here fans will see how Standen developed and honed his unique skillset. We expect Die-hard fans will say the series can’t be a success without it’s leading man, however the series will be directed and exec produced by Alex Graves. Fear not if you’re not familiar with the name, as you’ll certainly be aware of his work. The West Wing, Homeland and Game of Thrones are all on Graves’ impressive C.V. Taken hits the small screen in 2017.

Films we may see on the small screen

RAMBO: NEW BLOOD - Sly Stallone wants nothing to do with it, but Fox is keen on a series

THE DEVILS ADVOCATE – NBC has been developing a TV series based on the 1997 movie since 2014.

FATAL ATTRACTION - Emmy nominated Mad Men alumni Andre Jacquemetton and Maria Jacquemetton are currently working on the scripts.
GHOST – Paramont Pictures announced a pilot was in the works in 2013 but fans are still waiting for its small screen debut.

BIG – Not starring Tom Hanks this time but rumoured to be in the works for 20th Century Fox.

THE TRUMAN SHOW – No production has started but Paramount Pictures are in the development stages