Friday, October 11, 2013

You Loved the Movie...

If there's anything network TV programmers can't seem to resist, it's a sitcom based on a hit movie (which in turn was often adapted from a book, or a Broadway play). Although the idea of buying a tried-and-true concept, and a pre-sold title, sounds good in theory, in practice the track record of such shows is dubious at best. With rare exceptions, the actors who starred in the movie don't reprise their roles in the series, and often the basic concept that made a good movie doesn't translate well to weekly half-hour episodes. 
Paper Moon -- the movie (top), with Tatum and Ryan O'Neal, and (below) the sitcom, with Jodie Foster and Christopher Connelly.
Consequently, despite the occasional success story (M*A*S*H, or Alice -- the latter based on the film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore), the video graveyard is littered with the corpses of movie adaptations that failed to meet expectations. How many of these do you remember? 

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (ABC, 1973)
Down and Out in Beverly Hills (Fox, 1987)
Father of the Bride (CBS, 1961-62)
Freebie and the Bean (CBS, 1980-81)
Margie (ABC, 1961-62)
Mister Roberts (NBC, 1965-66)
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (ABC, 1969-70)
No Time for Sergeants (ABC, 1964-65)
Nothing in Common (NBC, 1987)
Paper Moon (ABC, 1974)
Popi (CBS, 1976)
Uncle Buck (CBS, 1990-91)
The Wackiest Ship in the Army (NBC, 1965-66)
Working Girl (NBC, 1990)

Nonetheless, it's a safe bet that, as you read this, someone in Hollywood is busy negotiating for the TV rights to a hit movie. And, certainly, turnabout is fair play -- witness the movie versions of The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched, or Car 54, Where Are You? Hey, movie execs, just leave I Love Lucy alone, please? Seriously.

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