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

The Playlist By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist March 12, 2014 at 2:00PM

Even for the non-marshmallows among us, the “Veronica Mars” movie, which hits theaters this week (our SXSW review here), being brought back from the dead by a combination of fan activism, creator and cast agitation and Kickstarter-related chutzpah, is at the very least an interesting phenomenon. The long-defunct TV show that gets its day on the big screen with original cast intact is a rare and precious event achieved by only a few, but the possibility is often endlessly bandied around for many for years after the show has ended.
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The Prisoner

"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

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

"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.

This article is related to: Television, Veronica Mars, Terriers, Deadwood, Party Down, 30 Rock, Quantum Leap, Features, Feature, TV Features


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