40 Movies That Were Turned Into TV Shows

Samantha Sutton | Feb 21, 2019 TV
40 Movies That Were Turned Into TV Shows

Dirty Dancing
Vestron Pictures

We get it: Saying goodbye can be pretty rough, especially when it comes to our favorite characters. Right now, we can't even imagine a world where we aren't patiently awaiting for another action-packed season of Game of Thrones -- seeing Khaleesi prove, once again, to be the ruler we all need and love. We don't want to think of a week where won't be laughing along with the group of friends from The Big Bang Theory, and seeing what silly situation they get themselves into next. But, alas, both shows are ending this year, and while we hate to see them go, we've learned something recently:

There's always the possibility there will be a reboot or remake.

As it turns out, goodbyes aren't actually forever anymore. When the fans say they need more, they often end up getting what they want (hello, Veronica Mars). Unsurprisingly, that's also the case when it comes to movies -- although, that's not really anything new. There have been sequels, prequels, remakes, and even live-action versions of old cartoons happening for years. 

And then, there are the TV adaptions.

A handful of iconic and sometimes, under-the-radar movies have later been turned into a series, simply because someone felt that, when the final credits rolled, it was not the end of that story. Sometimes, we realize it when the show is released. Other times, we don't -- probably because the movie was before our time.

Sometimes, the show ends up being a success. Other times ... well, at least they tried.

We're rounding up 40 movies that were later made into TV shows. Clearly, we're not the only ones who have trouble saying goodbye!

  • 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'

    1

    The '90s rom-com is turning into a series, thanks to writer and executive producer Mindy Kaling. The adaption will air on Hulu, and while it's still said to revolve around a group of friends and the events in the title, it will be an anthology. 

    So who can we expect to see in the show? Nathalie Emmanuel from Game of Thrones, and Andie MacDowell who was in the film.

  • 'Bad Boys'

    2

    Spectrum is getting in on the original series business with this spin-off, LA's Finest. Gabrielle Union will be playing her Bad Boys 2 character, Syd Burnett (the sister of Martin Lawrence's character, Marcus Burnett), who is now an LAPD detective. Her new partner, Nancy McKenna, is played by Jessica Alba.

  • 'The Dark Crystal'

    3

    Considering the movie came out in 1982, Netflix's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance will be reaching a whole new audience. The show is meant to be a prequel to the film and centers around a group of Gelfings who "inspire a rebellion against the cruel Emperor when they discover a horrifying secret."

  • 'Hanna'

    4

    Remember the movie where Saoirse Ronan played an assassin? It's coming to Amazon Prime as a full series in March. Hanna, who's described as "an extraordinary young girl raised in the forest," is on the run from a CIA agent determined to find out the truth about her.

  • 'She's Gotta Have It'

    5

    The TV adaption of Spike Lee's iconic film has been on Netflix since 2017 and was renewed for a second season (which we could possibly see sometime this year). The dramedy revolves around the main character, Nola Darling, as she tries to navigate life while juggling a job, her friends, and three different lovers.

  • 'Dear White People'

    6

    When it came to the 2014 movie Dear White People -- which focused on black Ivy League students at a predominantly white school -- there was definitely more of the story that needed to be told. So, the same creators took it to Netflix and created a show that's half-comedy, half-drama, tackling big topics such as race, identity, and love in every episode.

  • 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids'

    7

    All three of these movies were about that crazy shrinking (and later, enlarging) machine, but we clearly needed more backstory when it came to why, exactly, they had this thing just lying around -- and we got it with this show. It turns out, the inventor dad was always getting the family into crazy situations thanks to his career/passion -- that machine was just one time out of many!

  • 'Jack Ryan'

    8

    First, there were the books written by Tom Clancy. Then, Jack Ryan became a series of movies, which starred a ton of big-name actors -- Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine -- as the title character. Now, John Krasinski plays the famous CIA analyst in this thrilling, action-packed Amazon Prime show.

  • 'Clueless'

    9

    We're totally buggin'!

    Yes, Clueless was a sitcom at one point in the '90s, starting out on ABC's famous TGIF lineup (it later went to UPN). It still followed a teenage Cher and her friends, but the main character was played by Rachel Blanchard, not Alicia Silverstone. However, Stacey Dash (Dionne), Elisa Donovan (Amber), and Donald Faison (Murray) were all part of the cast.

  • 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

    10

    Yep, the famous, vampire-slaying queen known as Buffy Summer first entered our lives via movie -- and the main role wasn't even played by Sarah Michelle Gellar! Kristy Swanson had the part, and her love interest in the film was named Pike, who was played by Luke Perry.

  • 'Teen Wolf'

    11

    Following the whole Twilight craze, there was definitely room for more stories about werewolves, which is probably why Teen Wolf, the MTV show, was such a hit. It was loosely based on the 1985 movie, and focused on a teen who gets bitten and now has to balance this new part of his life while being a high school kid.

  • 'Scream'

    12

    There are plenty of shows about murder out there (Netflix alone has a ton, including true crime documentaries), so it's easy to see how this slasher film could become a full series. The first two seasons focused on a series of murders happening in the town of Lakewood, but the show is being rebooted (or trying to be rebooted, rather) for season three, complete with a whole new cast that includes the likes of Keke Palmer and Mary J. Blige.

  • 'The Purge'

    13

    Speaking of murder, both the movie (which starred Ethan Hawke, and Game of Thrones's Lena Headey) as well as the show version of The Purge, which airs on USA Network, have plenty of it. The story, as many already know, is about a 12-hour period when, thanks to fictitious government, all crime is considered legal.

  • 'Shooter'

    14

    Another USA Network TV adaption was Shooter, which, before the movie, actually started out as a novel by Stephen Hunter. While the show was sadly canceled in 2018, it had Ryan Phillippe as the lead. He played a former Marine sniper who found himself back in action after threats were made against the president of the United States.

  • 'Limitless'

    15

    Bradley Cooper may not have played the main character this time around, but he did guest star! The show, once again, was about that miracle drug, NZT, which gives users -- and in this case, one man named Brian Finch -- superhuman abilities by using all parts of the brain. Brian then works with the FBI to help solve cases.

  • 'Fargo'

    16

    The movie version of Fargo revolved around a police chief attempting to solve a murder mystery, and the show is more of the same --  death and deception -- although it does change story lines and characters from season to season. So far, Fargo has had some pretty big names as part of its cast, like Billy Bob Thornton, Colin Hanks, and Kirsten Dunst, and Chris Rock, who's set to star in season four.

  • 'Parenthood'

    17

    Before This Is Us, there was six seasons of this tear-jerking show, which was based off the 1989 movie of the same name that starred Steve Martin. While Parenthood ended in 2015, people are still able to binge-watch this family and all of their hardships, challenges, and successes, via Netflix.

  • 'Psycho'

    18

    It might not be a true adaption, but the horror-drama Bates Motel was designed to be a prequel to the Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho (hence the reason the main character is Norman Bates). On this show, he's living with his mother, Norma, and viewers get "an intimate look into the unraveling of Norman Bates’ psyche throughout his teenage years."

  • 'The Pink Panther'

    19

    Milennials might remember that in 2006, the Pink Panther TV show was made into a movie with Steve Martin and Beyoncé (yes, Beyoncé!). But as it turns out, the animated series wasn't even the beginning: There was a different Pink Panther movie series that started in 1963 with a movie about a thief trying to steal the largest diamond in the world. 

  • 'Flipper'

    20

    For those wondering if that little girl is Jessica Alba, the answer is yes -- it is! In 1995, she appeared in a show about a friendly dolphin named Flipper who was also the subject of a 1963 movie, a 1964 TV show, and a 1996 movie. 

    With a history like that, we're honestly surprised a more modern remake (or at least a cartoon) isn't in the works!

  • 'The Terminator'

    21
    Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles photo
    Fox

    The Terminator wasn't lying when he said "I'll be back," especially considering the story appears to be never-ending and is constantly being reinvented. The TV show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was meant to take place after the second movie, where Sarah and her son, John, work to destroy the AI network known as Skynet.

    But it was canceled after two seasons.

  • 'Daredevil'

    22

    A blind lawyer in New York, who also defies the odds and becomes a vigilante that makes the bad guys pay for their crimes? There's no denying this show turned out pretty great -- even if it eventually became one of the casualties of Netflix cutting ties with Marvel, and was canceled after three seasons.

  • 'Uncle Buck'

    23

    Who could forget John Candy as the immature, carefree uncle of a young Macaulay Culkin and his on-screen siblings? Turning this 1989 comedy classic into an episodic adventure was attempted twice: Once in 1990, with Kevin Meaney playing Uncle Buck, and once in 2016, with Mike Epps in the same role.

    Neither lasted very long.

  • 'Dirty Dancing'

    24

    A few years after Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey had the time of their lives dancing at a summer resort, CBS tried to extend their story by turning it into a full-blown series. However, two different people ended up playing Johnny and Baby (Patrick Cassidy and Melora Hardin), which likely contributed to it only lasting 11 episodes.

  • 'Aladdin'

    25

    Disney has attempted to make a ton of their movies into quick cartoon series for kids -- The Little Mermaid, All Dogs Go to Heaven. While we could go on about them all, we'll stick to just Aladdin, which had the former "street rat" going on adventures with Jasmine, Genie, Abu, and his trusty magic carpet.

  • 'The Silence of the Lambs'

    26

    Hannibal Lecter is a name that's pretty much synonymous with the actor Anthony Hopkins. But when it came finding out more on this character's back story, Mads Mikkelsen took on the role at NBC on Hannibal, where we got to see him as a psychiatrist who happened to have secret thirst for killing and cannibalism.

  • 'Wet Hot American Summer'

    27

    Surprisingly, when this movie came out in the aughts, it didn't do well and was considered to be a failure. But once the actors and actresses that starred in it -- Paul Rudd, Molly Shannon, Janeane Garofalo, and Amy Poehler -- gained a bit of fame? It seemed like this camp comedy was a lost gem, and Netflix even brought back it back as a "sequel series," Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, which had eight episodes.

  • 'Westworld'

    28

    The idea of having an amusement park full of high-functioning, human-like robots -- who later end up malfunctioning, rebelling, and fighting with the humans -- may seem pretty modern, but the HBO show actually got the idea from a 1973 Western sci-fi thriller of the same name. It even became a different series, Beyond Westworld, in 1980, but that only lasted for five episodes.

  • 'How to Marry a Millionaire'

    29

    The movie famously had Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, and Betty Grable playing women determined to meet and marry wealthy men, and the series revolved around that same theme. While the cast was different, the show did star by Barbara Eden, who later went on to play Jeannie in I Dream of Jeannie.

  • 'About a Boy'

    30

    Just like the movie, the NBC show was based off the novel by Nick Hornby and has a main character, Will Freeman, who is an immature, carefree, and single man. He ends up bonding with a young boy, Marcus, who helps Will grow up in a way. Although the movie version has Toni Collette playing Marcus's single, suicidal mother, Fiona, Minnie Driver's version of the character is pretty strict.

  • 'Heathers'

    31

    We always knew that Heathers as a TV show was going to be dark. Yes, the movie was a comedy, but it did include catty, cliquey high school girls and, um, murder. Following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, Paramount Network reconsidered the release, and delayed it until all of the episodes -- which had been heavily edited -- were released over the course of five days.

  • '10 Things I Hate About You'

    32

    Yep, this show did exist! 10 Things I Hate About You was on ABC Family in 2009, but (unsurprisingly) it didn't last long (just one season). The premise was still the same, meaning it was about the lives of two high school-aged sisters who are best described as total opposites; one is loud, strong-willed, and could care less about being social, while the other is focused on fitting in with the popular crowd.

  • 'Beetlejuice'

    33

    That famous, pale, striped-suit-wearing Beetlejuice got an animated makeover in the early '90s when Tim Burton developed a cartoon of the same name. Lydia Deetz was still a major player, of course, as the show had her accompanying the scheming, silly ghost on adventures in The Neitherworld.

  • 'Minority Report'

    34
    Minority Report photo
    Fox

    Where the movie version of Minority Report has mutated future-predicting humans working with police to help solve crimes before they happen), the show takes place a few years after the "Precrime Unit" was shut down. There are still a few of those mutants left, however, and while they live in secret, one of them is now using his ability to assist a detective (played by Meagan Good). The 2015 series lasted 10 episodes before it was canceled.

  • 'Nikita'

    35

    The original movie was French, so those who haven't seen it are forgiven. Clearly the main story -- about an assassin who's fighting back against the organization that trained her -- was so good that someone decided it needed to be turned into a show. Before the series ended in 2013, it starred Maggie Q and Shane West.

  • 'Friday Night Lights'

    36

    Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose as either a film or a TV show. While many hear the title and think about that Texas football team and its coach, Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler), it's also the name of a big-screen drama about the sport that was released in 2004. Billy Bob Thornton played the movie's coach, Gary Gaines, and -- get this! -- Connie Britton was his wife, although her name was Sharon, not Tami.

  • 'Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures'

    37

    Strangely enough, the movie about two less-than-bright teens learning about history through time traveling adventures was not only turned into a cartoon, but a live-action TV show, too. While Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, and George Carlin voiced their roles for the animated series, Bill and Ted were played by different people for the show (Evan Richards and Christopher Kennedy).

  • M*A*S*H

    38

    The show that revolved around the US Army’s Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (otherwise known as MASH) during the Korean War lasted for 11 seasons -- 11 seasons! That’s likely because it had a good mix of funny scenes mixed with some seriously dark and deep stuff (it was about war, after all). But some credit should also go to the 1970 movie with the same name, as it provided a pretty great jumping off point.

  • 'Weird Science'

    39

    Not everyone will remember that this movie -- about two nerdy teens who create the "perfect" woman via computer and then magically bring her to life -- was also adapted for TV. But it was! Sure, there was no Anthony Michael Hall or Kelly LeBrock in the cast, but it was still good enough to make it through five whole seasons from 1994 to 1998.

  • 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'

    40
    Ferris Bueller tv show photo
    NBC

    Is it possible to turn a movie about a teenage boy cutting school, deceiving his parents and principal, and having a thrilling day with two of his friends into a full TV show? Well, it was attempted in 1990 with Ferris Bueller (no days off), and somehow, there was enough to say about this kid -- who, in the show, is said to be the "real" Ferris who was then portrayed by Matthew Broderick for the movie -- for at least one season.

    Even more surprising? Jennifer Aniston played Ferris’s sister!

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