Top 5 Movie Guide: Films Adapted From Television Shows

For our weekend edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, and with "Dark Shadows" hitting theaters yesterday, we decided to go after some of our favorite films based around television shows. Adapting television characters for the big screen has been a popular option since the mid-1980's. Since then its seen its different peaks, but it's hard to deny the two strongest eras for this genre were the early 1990's and right where we are today. The 90's was the first wave of mass-producing these television series for newer, bigger audiences. The trend then faded for a while until a few years back when a new generation came along, even more obsessed with nostalgia than before. That's where we're at now, and even if it's not always from a television show, you can see just how many films are being adapted from something (anything) from our childhoods.

But today, we're just focusing on the television adaptations. Not to worry though, because there's still massive amounts of titles available from this genre. The only problem lies is finding the adequate criteria for the overall selection process. We debated back and forth for quite some time about different films that should or should not be included, but at the end of the day, we really just decided to keep it open and let each writer make their own set of guidelines for their picks. The only specific rule was whatever the subject, it just had to appear on television before it hit the bigscreen. That still leaves much up for debate, so you'll have to see how each contributor further defined things below.

Hit the jump to see all the films we chose!

Alex Schopp -
Overall, I think more than anything I just discovered how many of these adaptations I really didn't care that much about. But these are the ones I liked the most, with extra consideration going to franchises that I had actual connections to as television shows. And I made an effort to leave most Superhero films off since we just did our Marvel List (and I never really watched those shows anyway). Generally, I just tried to go with my favorite movies from television shows I liked. And I didn't have a problem with some of these not being television shows to start with.

     1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
I know these guys appeared in comic form first, but for me as a very young child, I had no clue of this material. Plus this was like the only cartoon I ever watched as a kid. Seeing this franchise in cinematic form was truly amazing to me. This film barely came out after the show started, but I'm still comfortable having this on my list because it was still the cartoon series that introduced our generation to these characters.
     2. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
I remember watching this series during the afternoons at my aunt's house when I was younger. The movie still stands out to me the most from this franchise, but I've always really enjoyed all of the material they offered. Plus this series really impacted my mother - as a kid she saw an episode where a girl laying in bed, with the bed up against her wall, rolled into the wall and fell into another dimension. To this day, my mother has never since put the side of her bed against a wall.
     3. Star Trek (2008)
I never much cared for the Star Trek television shows (I was a Star Wars kid), but that's why I appreciate this film. Much like what "Superman Returns" did for me in regards to that character, this film did for me with this franchise (though, to a MUCH lesser extent). Regardless, it gave it relevance for the first time in my life.
     4. Wayne's World (1992)
I'm not sure of our stance on SNL films for this subject, but they're definitely from television shows - and even better, this one was based on a television skit about guys doing a TV show. Can't do it much better than that! I think this is my favorite SNL movie? Either way, it holds the one spot devoted to the series on my list.
     5. The Addams Family (1993)
What I really love about this franchise is that this group of characters has covered just about every medium since their creation as a single-panel comic strip in 1938. I watched a few episodes of the old TV show on Nick at Night or something, but mostly I feel like I just knew of the characters. And more than anything, I'm impressed that a niche story like this is still "relevant" almost 80 years later.

Ben Foutch -
As long as the film represented something that started from a television series or sketch, it was considered for this list. I excluded titles that had origins from other media before television status, such as "Tales from the Crypt" and "The Addams Family".

     1. Wayne's World (1992)

     2. Serenity (2005)

     3. The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)

     4. The Fugitive (1993)

     5. Mission: Impossible (1996)

Derek Clem -
Parameters: Origins must have started with television. Film must not be a continuation of the television show. Movies based off variety show skits or anthology series were not considered unless movie is presented in variety show or anthology format.

     1. The Fugitive (1993)

     2. The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)

     3. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

     4. The Mod Squad (1999)

     5. The Beverly Hillbillies (1993)

Nathan Hinds -
Rules For My List: It had to be based on a show I watched regularly. Also, so it wasn't just a superhero list, I left off those shows too. So overall, this list pretty much just translated into kid's shows. This yielded some of my most questionable results to date, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy them all.

     1. 24: The Movie
Okay, so this hasn't actually been filmed yet, but as it's a continuation of the what is EASILY the greatest show of all time, it's pretty much a given that when it finally comes out, it's jumping right to the front of the list.*But, since this will probably get me some grief from the other guys on here, I'll give you my list as it stands now.
     1. Jackass 2 (2006)
"Viva La Bam" was the show I really liked, but the guys are almost all the same and I've seen every episode of "Jackass". I still laugh hysterically every time I watch this movie. Plus, I've always loved how they became famous just by trying to entertain themselves.
     2. Reno 911!: Miami (2007)
Mockumentary comedy at it's absolute best.
     3. The Flintstones (1994)
This was definitely a staple of my childhood.
     4. A Goofy Movie (1995)
It would be interesting to re-visit this movie and see how it stands up to my fond childhood memories of it.
     5. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)
Speaking of re-visiting films from my childhood to see how they stand up...I actually stumbled upon this movie not too long ago and did just that. While the special effects are a tad dated (I'm being generous), there was enough nostalgic value that allowed me to still find it somewhat entertaining.

Andy Schopp -
These are ranked taking into account how much I liked the show as well as the movie.

     1. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

     2. The Flintstones (1994)

     3. The Fugitive (1993)

     4. The Muppet Movie (1979)

     5. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie (1995)

So there we have it. Our favorite Films Adapted from Television Shows! As you surely noticed, this might have yielded our largest variety of films to-date, as 17 different films appeared above. With this amount of variety, it's not much of a surprise that the repeats were few and far between. Generally, I feel like we have at least a few films that really stand out, but that doesn't seem like as much the case today. The two films with the best showing were "The Fugitive" and "Twilight Zone: The Movie", both with three appearances. And other than that, it was "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie", "The Brady Bunch Movie", and "Wayne's World" all with two selections and the only other films with multiply showings. Other than that, it was a free for all!

But I think all of us at this site consider this a good thing though, as we're always happy when we can provide you as many viewing options as possible. So hopefully all of the different film selections listed above can help you to expand your knowledge on some of the best films this genre has to offer, and guide you to better and more enjoyable all-around viewing experiences.

Happy watching!