It seems like most movies are adaptations these days. Whether they’re based on a comic book, a novel, or even a theme park ride, multiplexes are full of adaptations all year round.
But some of the most creative film adaptations are based on TV shows. Whether the show is old or new, with a monster-sized blockbuster budget, they can be hit-or-miss — but when they hit, they are some of the most entertaining movies ever. And as always, Redditors have some strong opinions on which ones are the very best.
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Gamty explains that “a lot of people are not even aware that it was a TV show at one point.” The Mission: Impossible TV show was a crime drama, and while it did feature cool gadgets and masks, the 1960s series doesn’t exactly have the huge set pieces of the new movies.
The first Mission: Impossible movie’s DNA is very close to the original series, as it focuses on espionage and spy tactics, but the blockbuster series has become a beast of its own, as Mission: Impossible is full of over-the-top action scenes. Between jumping onto the wing of a moving plane and climbing up the tallest skyscraper in the world, the movies have become so successful just because fans want to see Tom Cruise’s death-defying stunts.
The Fugitive (1993)
Though they don’t give much information as to why, My_Opinions_Are_Good argues that The Fugitive is the very best TV adaptation of a movie, “and it’s not particularly close.” With a cat-and-mouse premise, The Fugitive is a very suspenseful crime movie, as it follows a U.S. Marshall who attempts to track down Richard Kimble, the prime suspect in his wife’s murder case.
The film is a fairly faithful remake of the TV show, though there’s a lot missing, as the series lasted four seasons and had 120 episodes. There was even a sequel that came years later, U.S. Marshall, but it followed Sam Gerard instead of Kimble.
Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm (1993)
DuePast6 doesn’t give any reason as to why Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the best movie adaptation of a TV show, but it is beloved by so many fans of the Caped Crusader. The film is more than simply a feature-length episode of Batman: The Animated Series, as there’s more production value, the script is so well-written, and the operatic score makes it that much more monumental.
The movie is as close to perfect as a Batman movie gets, and many think that it’s better than any of the live-action films. Out of all that animated Batman movies, of which there are so many, Mask of the Phantasm is the very best.
South Park: Bigger, Longer, And Uncut (1999)
Just like Mask of Phantasm, South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut isn’t just a feature-length episode of the TV show, and the subtitle of the movie is actually very accurate. Naynaythewonderhorse believes it’s the best adaptation of a TV show, and they go into great detail when explaining why.
The Redditor explains that the film “takes the idea of the show to its logical extreme.” Whether it’s the unique songs, the vulgar language, or the surprisingly deep political commentary, everything that people love South Park for is turned up to eleven in the 1999 movie.
The Naked Gun (1988)
The Naked Gun movie series is another example of a movie adaptation of a TV series that has eclipsed the source material. The movie is based on the TV show Police Squad, which only ran for one season in 1982.
However, the movie became an iconic and classic comedy, and its sight gags were so influential that so many other comedies had tried and failed to top it. It isn’t just the first Naked Gun, but the two sequels are almost as funny too. Greg225 succinctly puts it best by explaining that “Police Squad was funny, but the movies were on a whole other level.”
Lost In Space (1998)
This might be somewhat of an unpopular opinion, as 1998’s Lost in Space is possibly that last movie people would try to call a great adaptation of a TV show. In fact, it’s only mentioned when a Redditor calls the film awful, as Nosmelc defends the movie by hilariously saying that “the first half was pretty good.”
The ’90s movie was dumbed down, slapsticky, and full of poor-looking CGI, not to mention that it lost the original series’ campy charm. Lost in Space has had a troubled history following the original 1960s show, as the latest revision of the franchise was a Netflix series that lasted for three seasons but wasn’t very well received — though it did have some surprisingly great visual effects.
Firefly is one of the most beloved cult TV shows ever, as it ended too early due to low ratings, and it was even canceled before all of the episodes had aired. But its fanbase has grown significantly in the time since, especially in DVD sales in the following year.
That led to the show returning in the form of Serenity, a criminally overlooked sci-fi epic. The film is full of the most fluid action scenes, a compelling narrative, and according to Reddit user ArvilTalbert, a “tearjerker.” Though the film is a little hard to follow for those who haven’t seen the TV series, it’s still one of the most well-written sci-fi flicks in recent memory.
The Addams Family (1991)
The Addams Family was a highly entertaining 1960s show about the quirky and Halloweeny family, and in 1991, director Barry Sonnenfeld turned it into a Tim Burton-esque comedy. The film became a huge success, and it’s one of the highest-grossing Halloween movies ever. It takes the franchise further than the original series ever could, as it’s full of clever camera tricky, huge set pieces, and brilliant sight gags.
500DaysofNight doesn’t just stop at the 1991 movie, but they also adore the sequel, Addams Family Values. The Redditor posits that “those two films have some of the sharpest and funniest dialogue in any comedy. I’m fully prepared to die on that hill.”
Jackass Number Two (2006)
It’s amazing that there are three Jackass movies (with the third even being a 3D film,) as it started out as super low-budget MTV series that saw “stunt performers” with apparent death wishes. The movie series upped the ante tenfold, as not only did it incorporate 3D, but it also saw the gang travel to Japan. But BroomHill1882 calls the second movie the best adaptation, as the sequel has the most vulgar but satisfying stunts in the entire series.
The movies have now totally eclipsed the TV show, which actually only ran for two seasons, and the show series is completely amateur by comparison when watched today. There’s even a fourth movie, Jackass Forever, scheduled for release soon, and it’s one of the most exciting comedies of 2022.
In The Loop (2009)
In The Loop is an adaptation of the BBC political comedy The Thick of It, and KareemAbuJafar notes that it’s one of the best adaptations of a TV series ever. On the face of it, the movie seems like a confusing adaptation, as it features all of the same actors of the TV show, only half of them are playing different characters and others are playing the same characters.
But once fans of the show can get past that, the movie becomes one of the greatest satires of all time, as it’s full of MPs screaming profanities at each other and running around like headless chickens.
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