Friday, October 28, 2016

Discuss: Movie Spin-offs to Television

Doug: From the silver screen to the "idiot box" -- live action and/or animated (which should really open this up for fans of The Real Ghostbusters). And if anyone wants to argue that Batman: The Animated Series is a spin-off of Tim Burton's 1989 film Batman, you'd get no argument from me!

Also, yesterday Prowler wrote this:
Doug, just a suggest for a topic; a movie that just didn't live up to the hype or a favorite that upon rewatching, just didn't hold up.
 Feel free to consider that for your commenting pleasure, too!


Edo Bosnar said...

Oh, geez. Delta House. Until now, I thought I was one of the only people in the world who remembers that there was an ill-advised attempt to turn Animal House into a sitcom. And even my memories of it are quite vague: I think I maybe watched the first episode and then part of another one. I actually have better memories of another sitcom that came out at about the same time and was also inspired by Animal House: Brothers and Sisters - also about the fun-lovin' hijinks at college fraternities and sororities.
The latter example reminds of a number of TV series that weren't direct spin-offs of movies but were definitely inspired by them and tried to capitalize on their success. After Raiders of the Lost Ark became a box-office smash, all three of the networks at the time ran series that had a sort of similar scene and 'feel', although I only remember Tales of the Gold Monkey, set in the South Pacific in the late 1930s, and Bring 'Em Back Alive, about big game-hunter Frank Buck, also set in the 1930s. I watched the former pretty regularly, although even at the time I recall finding that show's attempts to evoke Raiders as pretty pathetic.
Then there was the Blue Thunder spin-off, which didn't even last an entire season, but also the Blue Thunder-inspired Airwolf, which had a pretty respectable run of three or four seasons.
All in all, I have to say that given the examples pictured in the post, and the ones I mentioned, these movie-to-TV spin-offs were just not that good...

Anonymous said...

The PoTA tv show was such a disappointment for me. I wanted to like it so much (just like Agents of SHIELD) but it just wasn't holding a candle to the wild imagination of even the worst Apes movies.
The two lead human characters were a ripoff of Starsky and Hutch in their appearance and I couldn't get past it. Plus awful production values and bland stories.

Yogzilla said...

Let's not forget M*A*S*H; now there was quality television (and, IMHO, much better than the movie).

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
david_b said...

Ohh, I remember Delta House and NBC's copycat show as well (can't recall the name). And 'course the few copycat shows from 'Stayin Alive'. 'Makin' It' was one, I believe.

Starsky and Hutch came from a made-for-tv-movie called 'The Super-Cops' (from the paperback book..), so there's quite a lot of shows in the '70s guilty of this stuff.

Even my fav 'Battlestar Galactica' is a close-spinoff from SW, but Larson already had the basic idea years before Star Wars, but 'course the SW craze had all networks digging for good concepts.

As for POTA..? I enjoyed the series just about as much as the first movie, more than the follow-on sequels. Roddy McDowall actually mentioned liking the series moreso than the theatre movies himself. The series had some so-so writing, but it was super to see Mark Lenard as Urko. 'The Trap' was about the best single episode besides the pilot. I easily could have seen it going to a 2nd season, but as the network lamented back in the day.., 'kids didn't buy washing machines', meaning not enough parents were watching.

(Which is kinda odd since the 'Friday Night Movie' for CBS featured all the POTA movies made up until then and they were ratings successes.) I did like the fact that Roddy was keen to film intro/outro sequences in make-up as his character Galen when the episodes were doubled-up as edited afternoon movies a few years later. You can watch Roddy's bits on youtube if you look hard enough.

The Logans Run series also boasted some fine writing.., but once again prime-time network constraints back then only allowed for so much action and romance. One complaint back then was not enough television viewers knew who Logan was, or why he was running. Had MGM gone forward with the proposed Logan sequel back then, CBS may perhaps have had a better chance to capitalize on the property in order to sell the show, dunno really.

Edo Bosnar said...

David, the NBC copycat show was in fact Brothers & Sisters which I mentioned above. I vaguely recall that it was a little funnier than Delta House, but really, the bar wasn't set very high...

Anonymous said...

I don't remember any of the TV spinoffs Doug mentioned. I did like Bring 'Em Back Alive and Starsky & Hutch. Didn't know the latter was based on a TV movie/book...I'll have to find those one of these days.

Mike Wilson

david_b said...

Yep, Edo, I suspected that was the series after I typed my comments. Delta House had the advantage of having nearly all the cast from the movie, sans Karen Black and Belushi.

As for Super-Cops.., here's the wiki link..:

And here's one of the filmed Roddy intro's done years later to introduce the edited POTA tv-movies..:

J.A. Morris said...

I remember liking Delta House. For years it was my only connection with 'Animal House', since I was 7 when the movie came out. Of course I haven't seen it in nearly 40 years, it may be terrible.

Same goes for 'Logan's Run', I never missed the series in its day, but I haven't seen it since it aired the first time.

Humanbelly said...

Say, we could broaden this discussion I bet, couldn't we? 'Cause television history has loooooooong, prouuuuuud tradition of drilling the cinematic oil fields for hopefully-lucrative television series oil. (Does that metaphor work? Did I construct it correctly?)

There was a rather sluggish- but watchable- WW2 bomber squadron series called "12 O'Clock High" based on the darned good Gregory Peck film of the same name.

"Peyton Place" was TWO movies, based on a tawdry novel, which led to a very long-running television series. . . which I've never seen. Watched about 25 minutes of the first film. . .and utterly hated the overwrought, "dark personal secrets", utterly predictable nature of it. Couldn't go back.

"Odd Couple"-- GREAT series based on a GREAT movie adapted from a GREAT play!

In more recent times (relatively), I might submit "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" as contender for Series Most Superior To Its Movie Source Material.

Made-for-TV movies are almost a whole 'nother category or post, I daresay. 'Cause it seems like so many of them were done as potential pilots in the first place. "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" remains one of my all-time favorites in that realm. A highly-enjoyable (although almost hilariously low-budget) series based on two exceptionally engaging-- and for the time, SCARY!-- movie-of-the-weeks.

Ooh-- but "The Waltons" probably wins the trophy in this category, still. Although the series could easily veer into sappy and cloying Americana nostalgia, when it was good it was a DARNED good program. And it was pretty good for several seasons. And it all started with The Homecoming-- the Earl Hamner, Jr television movie set on Christmas Eve early in the depression in Appalachia. Tryin' to find out where Pa was. . . drivin' around in that blizzard. . .

Pffft-- this is the kind of topic where I would just sit here and reminisce stream-of-consciousness for hours, having no mercy upon people's attention spans. Soooooo, it's time to head home, anyhow---!


Humanbelly said...

It being Halloween, my above mention of "Kolchak" put me in the mood to re-watch an episode (got the series for Christmas about 3 years ago, and haven't gotten all the way through it yet-). And was immediately reminded that, while I love it and thoroughly enjoy it, it could NEVER be mistaken for great television- ha!

I wonder if enough folks are familiar with it enough for it to warrant its own topic post? Possibly not-- but I'll toss out the suggestion just in case, eh?


Edo Bosnar said...

HB, we did indeed have a nice little discussion about Kolchak, a few years ago. Following up on the comment I made there, I have indeed watched all of the Kolchak episodes (and movies!) posted on YouTube. For the most part, I enjoyed them, but I'll readily agree with you that while entertaining, it's not 'great television.' Also, it's nothing something you should binge-watch, either, because the standard formula, i.e., Kolchak stumbles onto something mysterious/creepy, blows it wide open, and then has to kill the story, gets really tiresome.

Humanbelly said...

Edo-- Boy, truer-words-never-etc!
As I was touching on opening scenes, trying to figure out which episode exactly was the last one I'd watched, I realized that they were all just about identical: Kolchak in a state of injured, filthy disarray, narrating events into his portable tape-player (or alternatively, typing on his old typewriter). And we cut away to the evening's first victim. One wonders if the show might have been used as a training device for inexperienced writers and directors, knowing that a couple of truly seasoned, dependable pros like Darren McGavin & Simon Oakland would be able to carry the load-- as well as the continuous A-list of television/movie supporting & bit actors that were regularly brought in to punch up small roles (Mary Wickes and John Fiedler spring immediately to mind). I suspect the show also served as a dumping ground assorted executive girlfriends in forgettable (yet strangely emphasized) small roles-- but that might just be my cynicism talking. . .


Anonymous said...

I wonder what they were thinking when they decided to cobble together POTA TV episodes into movies? "Life, Liberty and Pursuit on the Planet of the Apes"? "Treachery and Greed on the Planet of the Apes"? Someone must have said, "what the hell, guys, let's have some fun with this".

It's funny how if a series is really good, like MASH or The Odd Couple, you stop thinking of it as a spinoff of something.


Humanbelly said...

PAPER MOON had a spin-off series!
Chris Connelly in the Ryan O'Neal role. Totally forgot about that one.


The Prowler said...

If we're going to talk movies into series, my favorite is the Stargate movie into the Stargate serie(s). SG-1, Atlantis and Universe. I liked the way they built on the premise. And that they changed the original O'Neil into the TV O'Neill. Richard Dean Anderson always made a point to say "That's O'Neill, with 2 L's." One of my favorite scenes was when O'Neill was captured by the evil Ba'al. During the torture scene, O'Neill kept mispronouncing his name: Ball? Bail? Bale?

Second, and this was a close one: GIDGET!!! Who could forget Gidget? I sigh just typing about her......

Not sure where The Life And Times Of Grizzly Adams falls? Was it really that good of a movie? Our a show? Made life easier for Dan Haggerty.

If we're going to include TV movies into series, what about Wonder Woman? Who could forget Cathy Lee Crosby in a track suit righting wrongs and fighting crimes!?! That's Incredible!!!! Too incredible to forget. And the TV series? Even better....Linda Carter? She was a wonder, Wonder Woman!!!!

HB: The Waltons started on Spencer's Mountain!!! TV critics hated it!!! Thought there was too much drinking and loose women chasing young boys!!! And Clayboy? Really!?! Good night Clayboy. I think NOT!!!

(And I know I giggle every time I say "Grand Tetons").

I feel like new sunglasses, like a brand new pair of jeans
I feel like taking chances, I feel a lot like seventeen

I feel like windows rolled down, new city, streets and cabs
I feel like anything can happen, laughing,
You take me right back, when we were kids
Never thought I'd feel like this

Like when I close my eyes and don't even care if anyone sees me dancing
Like I can fly, and don't even think of touching the ground
Like a heartbeat skip, like an open page
Like a one way trip on an aeroplane
It's the way that I feel when I'm with you, brand new
Brand new

I feel like a young John Cusack, like making big mistakes
I feel like for the first time in a long time I am not afraid
I feel like a kid, never thought it'd feel like this).

PS: Karen, just saw the preview for Gimme Danger! AWESOME!!!

Humanbelly said...

Oh, Good catch, Prowl!
Totally forgot about SPENCER'S MOUNTAIN. To be honest, though, I'd still consider THE HOMECOMING the next evolutionary TV-movie step before we had an actual WALTONS series.

GIDGET is/was such a surprisingly enjoyable (sadly, single-season) TV show! It runs a couple of back-to-back episodes on Saturday & Sunday mornings while I'm often in the kitchen cleaning up or making lunch. The earlier films honestly bore me to pieces, but young Sally Field is impossible not to adore. It's also an INCREDIBLE little snapshot of that exact moment in pop-cultural history where the 50's had truly given way to the 60's. It's a long season compared to today's, and it shifts from being "kinda 50's" in tone early on to being more "groovy 60's" by the later episodes. Hair styles, clothing, language, social mores-- it's fascinating. Well, and a G-rated hoot, too. Kind of bittersweet to see the late Pete Duel (credited "Deuel" here) playing the uptight psychiatrist brother-in-law.

OH! Which gives us ALIAS SMITH & JONES in the category of TV-Movie-to-Series, yup!

HB (Killin' the thread w/ overuse. . . but loathe to give it up!)

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