Funk’s Top 10: Television Shows that Would Make Great Movies

TV and cinema have a rocky relationship. Although both the same on the surface – both audio/visual mediums – they have their own formats, narrative styles and genres that are sometimes incompatable. Whilst many assume that making the jump between the two should be easy, but the results are more often than not terrible (I present ‘Sex and the City 2’ for consideration).

On the flip side of the coin, there are some shows that could’ve made the leap. TV shows on this list are ones that may have made for a potentially strong adaptation, or maybe should’ve been on the big screen to begin with.

10. Dexter

Pretty straight forward – routine serial killer movies have been a stable of cinema for decades. ‘American Psycho’ has shown the other side of serial killer movies in an artistic sense, but the formulaic police procedural from the killer’s point of view has not been covered. Now that the concept has firmly established itself, a movie adaptation would feel like an extended episode, but this may have worked instead of a series.

9. Deadwood

The Western is a genre that has been increasingly losing appeal since the 1960’s, which proved a great loss to cinema. Although the heyday of the dusty frontier is past there is the occasional gem and ‘Deadwood’ could be just that. The high budget, high concept series was hugely popular and had the scope to expand the story out to a full length feature. Given the strength of the characters, it could’ve even been a movie in its own right. It may have also added some sexuality to the recent, somewhat dry Westerns.

8. The Sopranos

If there’s one genre that’s been covered and covered again by cinema, it’s the mafia movie. No matter how many trends in the genre come and go, the template stays the same. ‘The Sopranos’ did manage to re-invent the concept of modern gangster stories on the small screen, leaving movies to chase their tail and repeat themselves again and again. A cinematic version may have set a new standard.

7. Heroes

It may be difficult to imagine, but there was a time when this show was filled with potential, instead of suckatude. The reason for the downfall stems from the ongoing plot twists and time travelling malarkey. Having a clear and concise resolution in pace at the beginning would have tighten the story and prevented the resultant bollocks from clouding the show.

6. Curb Your Enthusiasm

Larry David’s deadpan humour and the mockumentary delivery would be the perfect stage for a parody of the Hollywood celebrity lifestyle. Given the way the show develops, with David digging himself further and further into trouble, the build up to an epic conclusion after 120 minutes has the potential to be a brilliant comedy snowball.

5. Arrested Development

One that fans of the show have been chomping at the bit for! ‘Arrested Development’ was a short lived sitcom series that became one of the best reviewed shows of its era. Never able to find an audience while on air, its increasing fan base have hung out for news of a movie. Most sitcoms would adapt poorly given their simple set-ups, the extensive cast of ‘Arrested Development’ gives it a structure similar to other slapstick family comedies, such as ‘Meet the Parents’. Sadly this large cast is difficult to pin down at the same time, one factor preventing the movie from going ahead.

4. Futurama

Matt Groenings sci-fi animation has developed a cult following in recent years, which betrays that make that the show produced just as many mediocre episodes as quality ones. Long term prospects for the show have always been in question (already cancelled once) as a result. Taking the colourful setting of New New York and the rich cast of characters would be better suited to a big screen, once off adventure than recurring jokes.

3. Doctor Who

Whilst the Doctor has produced movie length episodes and one poorly received film in the past, the new generation of the series has created a huge following and with it the potential for a big budget cinematic outing. The show already deals with sci-fi concepts not unfamiliar to movie-goers, its smart approach to time-travel narrative opens up the potential for a more expansive story with an increased budget bringing multiple historical and futuristic settings to lif2e.

2. Freaks and Geeks

Yet another series ended before it’s time for not meeting the expectations of the studios. Looking back there must be plenty of executives kicking themselves for not taking the chance to rope the talent involved into a film contract. Produced by Judd Apatow, the show starred Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segal, Linda Cardelinni, Sam Levine and other comedy regulars. This was an opportunity to produce one of the best high school comedies that didn’t happen.

1. Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars is an awesome show. Taking the four-act narrative structure favoured by ‘Buffy’, it swapped out vampires for detectives. Whilst a high school private eye seems like a gimmicky concept on paper, the execution was anything but. Smartly written, it featured some of the most intriguing stories on television and some of the most interested, realistic characters. After its premature cancellation (in favour of ‘Search for the Next Pussycat Doll’) there was rumour of a movie and it’s easy to see why. The noir influenced stories are perfectly suited to a cinematic mystery.


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