Which Movie-to-TV Adaptation Worked Best?
Which Movie-to-TV Adaptation Worked Best?
Kartik Chainani
Kartik Chainani
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
The 2016 TV season saw a massive share of reboots and revivals. Among these shows were quite a few television adaptations of classic movies. Throughout the years, networks have made many attempts to latch on to the box office success of classic films by adapting them for TV. Some have worked, while many have failed. Let's take a look at nine of the best movie-to-TV adaptations that we've seen.


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9. Uncle Buck

Movie-to-TV Uncle Buck.jpg The 2016 series starring Mike Epps was actually the second attempt at creating a series out of the John Candy-led 1991 film Uncle Buck. This second time around, the groundwork to take this two-hour comedy and transform it into amusing sitcom hi-jinks each week seemed to be laid out a little better. Having Mike Epps in the titular role was a big help, as he has a commanding presence much like Candy did in the film. Though the series was cancelled during season 1, it definitely did a good job of turning the movie into something worth watching and fresh for TV.

8. Lethal Weapon

Movie-to-TV Lethal Weapon.jpg Rebooting the movie franchise and using the same characters, this FOX series does an unexpectedly good job of staying original. The formula of using the great dynamic between Murtaugh and Riggs was really all the show needed to tap into from the Lethal Weapon movies in order to make an entertaining cop TV show. The show very much stands on its own from the movies, aside from its name and characters, but throws in some fun Lethal Weapon movie tributes along the way.

7. The Exorcist

Movie-to-TV Exorcist.jpg FOX's take on The Exorcist isn't quite a reboot or a sequel, but more of a story that sort of mirrors the story told in the movie. This is actually what makes it so good. The Exorcist movie's story is so well-known at this point that a show that copied it would feel pretty played out. What fans want to see more of from that world is the titular exorcist himself, which is what this show gives you.

6. Scream

Movie-to-TV Scream.jpg MTV's take on this franchise is a little different than that of the teen horror series which it is based on. Scream: The TV Series follows a completely different group of characters in a different town and modernized setting. Though still inspired by the same murderous villain from the movies, the villain in the series uses modern technology to further torment his victims. The idea to make this tweak from the movies worked out well for the series, as it makes the show more believable, but also unpredictable.

5. Bates Motel

Movie-to-TV Bates Motel.jpg In this adaptation, the series decided to take a prequel approach to the well-known 1960s movie Psycho. The story of the series follows a young Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) being raised by his mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga). The series actually gives these sociopathic characters some layers that make the viewers sympathize with them, despite knowing what they are destined to become. Farmiga earned herself an Emmy nomination for her role as Norma Bates.

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4. Fargo

Movie-to-TV Fargo.jpg This critically-acclaimed FX anthology has become a beast of its own. Though it honors the dry humor of its predecessor film, Fargo the TV series has become such an addictingly edgy show that it's garnered the attention of fans and critics alike each season. Each remarkable cast has featured big names (Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Kirsten Dunst) and some insanely interesting characters.

3. Teen Wolf

Movie-to-TV Teen Wolf.jpg The MTV series is based on the '80s Michael J. Fox flick with the same name and even has characters with the same names. The difference that the series made is that the characters got entirely different personalities and the show stripped the movie's goofiness and replaced it with a dark and menacing setting. This change paid off, as the series has been a huge success for MTV.

2. Friday Night Lights

Movie-to-TV FNL.jpg Much like the movie, the Friday Night Lights series grew a huge fan-base of viewers eager to watch and re-watch the series. Peter Berg created a fandom of viewers who tuned in each week to see a show about football, even if they weren't football fans. Friday Night Lights became about so much more than football that it attracted all types of viewers.

1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Movie-to-TV Buffy.jpg Buffy rose to cult-classic status quickly and is still regarded by many as one of the best series on television. Joss Whedon wrote the 1992 film and then shifted gears for the story he later told in the seven-season run of the series, which had a much darker tone than that of the movie. This show was truly the biggest success of a movie-to-TV adaptation.

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Which movie-to-TV adaptation do you like best? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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(Images courtesy of A&E, FOX, FX, MTV, NBC, USA and The CW)