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6 films that should be TV shows, from 'Ghost' to 'Drive'

Film-to-TV adaptations are the latest craze in the world of television, and they seem to come in all shapes and sizes. We’ve seen popular films turned into traditional programs such as NBC’s Parenthood, which recently concluded its wonderful six-season run, and limited series such as FX’s Fargo.

Such classic films as Rosemary’s Baby and Bonnie and Clyde have been turned into old-fashioned miniseries spread out over a few nights. With Fox’s Napoleon Dynamite, a cult classic was reimagined as a half-hour animated show.

Syfy recently launched 12 Monkeys, based on Terry Gilliam’s 1995 sci-fi hit that starred Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, while Netflix announced amid much fanfare that they are moving forward with a series based on Wet Hot American Summer, which launched the careers of a whole lot of funny people, including Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler.

And films as diverse as Big, Uncle Buck, Problem Child, and Rush Hour are in various stages of development.

Fargo has pretty much raised the bar very, very high with these kinds of adaptations, creating a wholly unique experience out of the Sisyphean task of adapting a modern classic. In this case, it was the beloved and Oscar-winning Coen brothers film. For the EW Community, that makes pretty much any movie fair game.

Here are six that we think could make for some great television!


Weekend at Bernie’s

Let’s start with the lowbrow first. While no one is going to go out on a limb and call this film a classic, Bernie’s does hold a special place in a lot of people’s hearts. The story of two schmos, Richard and Larry (the lovable Jonathan Silverman and Andrew McCarthy, respectively), caught up in a murder plot involving their scheming boss (the one and only Terry Kiser), then going out of their way to fool people into thinking he’s still alive, is ripe for television. Plus, there has already been a sequel, so the filmmakers knew to get more mileage out of the one-joke concept. The half-hour format seems prime for something like this, maybe even containing flashbacks with the Bernie character to give him more of an arc. Flashback or not, whoever steps in Kiser’s shoes is in for a killer role (pun intended).



This 1990 blockbuster is yet another example of how television can expand on a film concept. When mild-mannered banker Sam (Patrick Swayze) is killed during a seemingly random mugging, he comes back as a ghost and is horrified to find that his murder may not have been by chance. Teaming up with wisecracking psychic Oda Mae (Whoopi Goldberg, in her Oscar-winning role), he is determined to find the truth and protect his girlfriend (Demi Moore). Taking it one step further, perhaps Sam and Oda Mae could team up and help others (in a Touched by an Angel/Highway to Heaven way) while trying to uncover the mystery? One of the best scenes in the movie involves a ghost Sam runs into at the subway—a dark soul who teaches him the way to make his presence known. Turning him into a major character, maybe even a mentor to Sam, would also expand the possibilities.


Donnie Brasco

This underrated gem gave Al Pacino and Johnny Depp B.J.S. (Before Jack Sparrow) two of their greatest roles. Brasco chronicles the true-life plight of FBI agent Joseph Pistone (Depp) as he goes undercover in the Bonanno crime family, and is taken under the wing of aging gangster Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero (Pacino). The film touches on a lot of themes that could easily expand in the television format, such as the strain Pistone’s role causes for his family, his struggle with identity as he gets deeper and deeper into the Mob, and Lefty’s own dilemma in finding his purpose in a world no longer familiar to him. The show would be the perfect antidote for a post-Sopranos world.


The Candidate

Political programs such as Scandal and House of Cards are everywhere these days, as they’ve become the latest “water cooler” shows. So perhaps it’s wise to revisit this 1972 classic, which gave Robert Redford one of his best roles. Playing Bill McKay, Redford makes great use of his 1,000-watt smile as the idealistic son of a former governor who is plucked from obscurity to run against the incumbent governor of California, Crocker Jarmon (get it? Crocker). What made The Candidate so special was the way director Michael Ritchie used a quasi-documentary look to give the audience a you-are-there feel. This could easily translate to television. Plus, 40 years later, it’s amazing just how topical the whole thing is. Seeing more of the toll the election takes on McKay (and his marriage) as he succumbs to the pressures of running for elected office, as well as integrating the 24-hour news cycle and social-media factors, would render this ready-made for television.


Dick Tracy

Warren Beatty has been trying to get a sequel to his 1990 hit off the ground for years. So why not ditch the silver screen and go the television route? Based on Chester Gould’s 1940’s comic strip of the same name, the film would feel right at home on a platform where shows based on comic books (Arrow, Gotham, The Flash) have thrived. Gould’s world offers plenty of material to work with, as cop Tracy goes after Big Boy Caprice (Al Pacino) and a rogue’s gallery of villains that would give you nightmares, including a ton that didn’t even make it into the movie. Visually, one can make this just as unique on television as it was at the movies. Finally, add one square-jawed actor to play the titular role (Kyle Chandler, I’m looking at you) and enjoy.


The ending of Nicolas Winding Refn’s instant cult classic left the door open for so many possibilities. After saving his lady love, Irene (Carey Mulligan), from gangster Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks), The Driver (Ryan Gosling) finds himself disappearing into the darkness, forced to always keep one eye open. The series could pick up exactly at that moment, with The Driver traveling from town to town and serving as a hero for hire to anyone in need, while yearning for a simpler life with Irene and her young son. Meanwhile, Rose’s men continue to tail him with plans to avenge their boss’ death. Moments that delve into The Driver’s past, even before he was a stunt driver, would tie into the present action. The key to a successful show would be to retain the film’s retro look and vibe—especially its memorable soundtrack.

Do you agree with our picks? What films did we miss?

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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