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6 TV Shows We'd Like To See Get The Big-Screen, 'Veronica Mars' Treatment

Features
by The Playlist Staff
March 12, 2014 2:00 PM
13 Comments
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"The Prisoner"(1967-1968, 1 season, 17 episodes)
Synopsis: A British secret agent, known only as Number 6, wakes up in a mysterious, eccentric village that he can't escape from, full of people—notably the ever-changing Number 2—determined to discover why he resigned from his position.
Why Does It Warrant A Movie? The granddaddy of every mind-boggling cult series from “Twin Peaks” to “Lost,” “The Prisoner” remains a pop-cultural touchstone over 45 years after it aired. Created by star Patrick McGoohan in lieu of a fourth series of the show that made him a star, “Danger Man,” it was a cryptic, hugely experimental show, more “Last Year At Marienbad” than “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” with an iconic setting (the Welsh village of Portmerion remains a tourist attraction today), and puzzles that are still being argued over decades later. Each episode would see McGoohan’s Number Six attempt to get to the bottom of the mysterious village and the people who run it, and get away from it, while the various Number Twos attempt to break him, their attempts getting stranger and stranger (there was a body-swap episode late in the series, and another episode that reset the show in the Old West). Part of the genius of the series is that, aside from a few key concepts—The Village, Number Six, Number Two, maybe the bubble-like Rovers—you could have freedom with the concept to do almost anything you like, and as such, it seems primed for a revival. Plus the nature of the show means you could easily tell a standalone story with a grand scope across the running time of a movie. Indeed, there have been attempts: Christopher Nolan was developing a version, penned by “Blade Runner” scribe David Webb Peoples, but dumped it in favor of “Inception” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” Instead, we got an ambitious, starry (Jim Caviezel, Ian McKellen, Ruth Wilson, Hayley Atwell), but ultimately misguided AMC miniseries revival. But if Nolan, or a director of equal talent, revived their interest, something very special could result.

30 Rock” (2006-2013, 7 seasons, 138 episodes)
Synopsis: Loosely based on creator Tina Fey’s experiences on “Saturday Night Live,” the show followed her alter ego Liz Lemon’s highs and lows as the head writer on NBC show “TGS”, and her relationships with the actors, writers, and particularly with mentor/frequent antagonist Jack Donaghy.
Why does it warrant a movie? Maybe this more of a longshot than some others here, after all, it’s tough for small-screen comedies to make it on the big screen unless they’re “Police Squad,” “Jackass” or an animated show (even “The Simpsons Movie” was disappointing). That said, there are two major things in favor of the idea of bringing Liz, Jack, Tracy, Jenna, Kenneth, Pete et al. back for a film. Firstly: Tina Fey, who has proven, with her bestselling book, hosting stints, and a couple of modest movie hits (“Baby Mama” did ok, while “Date Night” was a hit even if “Admission” tanked) that she can be a draw outside of the confines of a TV show. But more compellingly, “30 Rock” was always a very meta- show, constantly folding back in on itself in a kind of self-referential silliness. For that reason alone we can see it transitioning better than other properties—a movie-based-on-a-TV-show which is about the gang making a movie based on “TGS,” for example? Unlike some of the entries on this list, “30 Rock” felt like it had come to the end of its run as a TV show, and went out on a strong note, so it’s not like we have major unresolved issues that a film could sort out. It’s more that we’d probably enjoy an eye as sharp as Fey’s for the ridiculousness of showbiz being brought to bear on Hollywood and moviemaking specifically, and if we got to hang out with those characters for another ninety minutes while doing that, so much the better. And who is ever going to write this good a part for Alec Baldwin again?

"Terriers" (2010, 1 season, 13 episodes)
Synopsis: Recovering alcoholic ex-cop Hank and his reformed criminal best pal Britt run an unlicensed private detective agency together in Ocean Beach, San Diego. Their investigation into the disappearance of the daughter of an old drinking buddy of Hank's turns into a sprawling mystery taking in corruption and murder.
Why Does It Warrant A Movie? One the recent TV series cancellations that hit us hardest was “Terriers.” Created by “Ocean’s Eleven” writer Ted Griffin with “The Shield” exec Shawn Ryan and Joss Whedon-collaborator Tim Minear, it seemed relatively unpromising on paper, lacking in big name stars, without an immediate hook, with a deeply botched marketing campaign making it tougher to find an audience. But those who discovered it despite all the above were quickly drawn in. It was an original, characterful and twisty reinvention of the private-eye tale, with the easygoing Californian feel of “The Rockford Files” and Altman’s “The Long Goodbye,” but with the dark noir undertones of “Chinatown.” The central performances, by Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James, were gorgeous, each episode was full of surprises, and the direction (by big names like Craig Brewer, Rian Johnson and Clark Johnson, among others), was top-notch. But the series barely managed half a million viewers for FX and was swiftly cancelled despite strong critical support, however the cult has grown thanks to Netflix and the like. Though the show handled its mix of case-of-the-week and a serialized story beautifully, there’s no reason that Hank and Britt couldn’t take on something bigger—the show was steeped in film noir, and a case of real scope and substance could easily justify a longer runtime, especially with a history of so much big-screen talent involved with the show (go on, Rian Johnson, make it your next project...) There’s been some talk of a potential movie: Ryan mused on the possibility of Kickstarting a “Terriers” movie back in 2012, which seems to have inspired the “Veronica Mars” gang to actually go through with it. Now we know that it can work (box office numbers pending), maybe it’s time to follow through on Ryan’s original suggestion.

So these are six shows that we’d not only love to see unlock the bonus level of a movie, they’re six that we can see making the transition well. But that’s not to say we didn’t consider others—the rebooted “Battlestar Galactica” is a good example of one that missed the cut, as are “The Shield” and “Carnivale." Some perennial favorites, like “The Wire,” “Freaks and Geeks,” “The Larry Sanders Show” and “The Sopranos” seem so brilliantly suited to episodic TV that imagining a film version as anything other than a disappointment was hard (though David Chase did once, prior to Gandolfini’s death, moot the possibility of a feature). So now it’s over to you: what show was cancelled too soon, what show left lingering unanswered questions that need another 90-120 minutes to address, and what characters can you see being strong enough to make the hordes leave the sofa, get in the car and fork over their hard-earneds to watch again? Tell us below.

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13 Comments

  • Todd | April 22, 2014 12:35 PMReply

    The first show that came to my mind was Terriers. I love that show dearly. Kickstarter!

  • Emile | March 17, 2014 1:43 PMReply

    Picking only a few seems like an injustice, as there are so many great, under-appreciated shows that deserve a swansong on celluloid.

    If I had to pick, I'd go for:

    1. Deadwood (deserves a proper send-off)
    2. Carnivale (ditto)
    3. Pushing Daisies
    4. Freaks and Geeks
    5. maybe the more stranger picks of the bunch, but a Doogie Howser movie wouldn't be a bad thing. I mean, Neil Patrick Harris.

  • Kristin Star | March 16, 2014 10:56 AMReply

    Still thrilled that "Veronica Mars" got to become a movie (and heard that there might be a sequel, and will definitely be some books! :-)). I was always disappointed that "Tru Calling" was cancelled without any conclusion--I would be satisfied with a written one. Another series lacking resolution that irks me is "The Lying Game". And, I've also been upset for a long time about "Heroes" never getting its 5th season, but it's slated for a mini-series event...Whether or not it will have any of the same people, though, I don't know. And, even though it was quickly wrapped up, I heard that there will be a "Pushing Daisies" movie. I keep forgetting that "Dead Like Me" had a movie, too.

  • Kristin Star | March 16, 2014 10:58 AM

    (The more time that goes by, the less likely a movie continuation is to really resemble the show...That happened to some degree with the Veronica Mars movie...Though the main thing that took away from it [don't get me wrong, it's still awesome] is that they didn't have the real Carrie Bishop! :-|)

  • INGA | March 14, 2014 7:48 PMReply

    I would like to see it, I would love to see it, I want to see it, I NEED to see it ... a QAF movie.

    Season 5 of Queer as Folk ended with an open end, a story that have to be continued. There are lots of fans who never stopped to ask for a season 6 or a movie. Fans who love QAF since 14 years and new fans who discovered it recently and can't get enough of the love and life of Brian, Justin, Ted, Emmett, Michael, Ben, Debbie, Melanie and Lindsay. Fans who would support a production immediately. YES. YES. YES.

  • NewYorker | March 13, 2014 7:55 PMReply

    10 shows i love to see get turned into a movie for theaters are
    1-Family Guy
    2-Drake & Josh
    3-Victorious
    4-Friends
    5-Modern Family
    6-George Lopez
    7-8 Simple Rules
    8-My Wife & Kids
    9-Everybody Loves Raymond
    10-Gossip Girl

  • Jim | March 12, 2014 5:45 PMReply

    If it worked for Veronica Mars and Firefly, it can work for Terriers!!!!

    Make this happen, Universe!!

  • Ray H | March 12, 2014 4:35 PMReply

    There's always HBO's Rome.

  • Crump | March 12, 2014 4:02 PMReply

    I'd say Freaks And Geeks if it wasn't so perfect.

  • Kyle | March 12, 2014 3:37 PMReply

    Eerie Indiana

  • That Kid | March 12, 2014 3:01 PMReply

    If love it if "Carnivale" got a movie adaptation with Todd Field (who directed an episode) if only he'd get around to making a new film

  • Emperor Zerg Rush | March 12, 2014 2:24 PMReply

    I was going to express internet outrage at no Pushing Daisies until I saw Terriers then suddenly everything seemed alright.

    The Shield doesn't need any film though. It's one of those rare perfect shows. It ended on the right note.

  • YIPPY | March 14, 2014 2:43 AM

    Agreed! Though at this point I would like to just have my Terriers Blu-ray to come out. Its gotta happen, right?

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