If you saw the movie Shooter starring Mark Wahlberg, you’ve only seen a small preview of the whole story. And if you’ve never seen Shooter, don’t worry -- the new series starts right at the beginning.
Movies are great but they only have two hours to tell the story, and so, sometimes, the story can be even better on television. This year alone, we’ve seen shows such as Westworld, Ash Vs Evil Dead, Frequency, Scream, Animal Kingdom, 12 Monkeys, and more go beyond the movies on which they are based.
Here are 10 more great movies that became great shows. Some are so famous as TV shows you might not even have known they were movies too!
Since Martin Scorsese’s next movie was Taxi Driver, his 1974 film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore isn’t as famous, but the TV version of it ran for nine years! Linda Lavin played Alice, the role originated by Ellen Burstyn in the movie. Alice moves to L.A. to become a singer, but gets stuck in Phoenix, AZ on the way. Working in a diner day to day, the diner’s staff and patrons became TV legends people visited every week, especially the cantankerous waitress Flo (Polly Holliday) who said, “Kiss my grits!”
9. The Dead Zone
It’s easy to imagine a greater world for a story when it’s based on a book by Stephen King. The movie with Christopher Walken was legendary, but Anthony Michael Hall did a modern-day update as the new Johnny Smith, whose psychic visions provided a new storyline every week. The Dead Zone aired for five years on USA so we’re rather proud of it!
8. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
The Terminator movies are some of the most explosive blockbusters of all time, so how could you do that on television, and without Arnold Schwarzenegger? By focusing on the characters of Sarah and John Connor, played by Lena Headey and Thomas Dekker on the show. Terminator did a great job inventing new robots from the future to both help and chase our heroes, and expanded the Reese family tree with a long lost brother of Michael Biehn’s character from the original film. Sadly, this show only lasted two years but there was so much room to continue.
7. La Femme Nikita and Nikita
This show was so successful they did it twice! Luc Besson’s French classic La Femme Nikita, about a convict turned assassin, has become two hit shows. First, USA’s own La Femme Nikita starred Peta Wilson. Then, The CW did a modern update with Maggie Q! Both shows ran for five season each.
6. Friday Night Lights
One way to give new life to a story is to find new characters to follow within that world. The book and the movie Friday Night Lights were based on the true story of a Texas high school football team and their coach. The series told new stories about fictional students on the team of Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler). It lasted five glorious seasons and fans were in tears when it ended!
The 1980 movie Fame told the stories of a group of students at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts. So the TV series picked a new group of students to follow week to week as they struggled to make it in the grueling, competitive fields of music and dance. There were always new steps to learn and perform for each episode’s musical numbers. The show lasted six years and featured legendary choreographer Debbie Allen. Janet Jackson even starred in one season!
The legendary serial killer Hannibal Lecter has spanned five movies (three starring Sir Anthony Hopkins in his Oscar-winning role) and four books. The series began before the events of the first story, Red Dragon, as Dr. Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) helped the FBI find serial killers. It’s unbelievable what they were able to accomplish with this series. A single episode was more graphic than all the movies combined, and this was on NBC! By the time they reached the Red Dragon killer in season three, they’d told a completely new tale that surprised both new viewers and die-hard Hannibal fans.
Buffy, the Vampire Slayer was a cool movie about a kick-ass high school girl who saved the world, but there was clearly more story to tell about her. When Joss Whedon adapted his own movie to television, he made a star out of Sarah Michelle Gellar and turned the genre on its head. Buffy had loads of memorable monsters to battle, but each one was really about the personal demons we’re all fighting in high school. It was also funny and their musical episode is an all-time classic!
Just being a good show isn’t enough when you’re based on an acclaimed Coen Brothers movie. So Noah Hawley rose to the challenge of creating a show that not only lives up to the movie Fargo, but it’s even better. Fargo shares tonal DNA with the movie but doesn’t cover any of the same ground. So far they’ve told quirky crime stories in 2006 and 1979, with shocking plot twists and macabre humor. We can’t wait to see where they go in season three.
MASH was historic for many reasons. At 11 seasons, it ran for longer than the Korean War, which was the setting for the battlefield doctors dramedy. It was so popular that its series finale was the highest-rated show of all time. Not for nothing, the Robert Altman movie on which the show is based is also great, but the MASH series mixed comedy and tear-jerking drama every week, and its place as one of the best TV shows of all time is forever cemented in our hearts and minds.
Ready for the next great movie-inspired TV show? Check out Shooter when it premieres on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 10/9c on USA Network!