TV producers love trying to recapture the magic of cinema on the small screen. Spinning-off a much loved film practically grantees a commercial success for the studio executives through brand recognition and shows such as M*A*S*H and (more recently) The Clone Wars show that with good writers comes great telly; while duds like The Sarah Connor Chronicles show the alternative. This year we have Bate’s Motel and Hannibal premiering on TV screens, with both receiving critical acclaim in the States and both having second seasons already green-lit. With these spin-off successes, I began thinking of other films that may be ripe for the televisual picking.
1. The Third Man
Capitalising on the success of the 1949 classic, the BBC helped to produce and broadcast a radio series entitled The Adventures of Harry Lime, which ran between 1951-1952. Narrated by Orson Welles, the show acted as a prequel to the film, channeling Harry Lime’s exploits across Europe as he tried to stay one step ahead of the law. It would be fantastic to see the series remade for TV, the episodic format allowing us to spend more time with one of cinemas greatest anti-heroes.
2. L.A. Confidential
Kiefer Sutherland starred in the pilot of a proposed TV spin-off of L.A. Confidential, which can be found in the special features of the Blu-Ray release. It was never picked up, for reasons that will become clear if you watch it (it’s that bad!). Done right though, a TV spin-off to one of Hollywood’s greatest thrillers wouldn’t be such a bad idea; think of it as Mad Men meets The Wire, with complex, twisting plots focusing on both investigative procedural and police corruption.
The world of dream stealing is one ready for development in episodic form. As with Hannibal and Bate’s Motel, small screen Inception would work best as prequel to Nolan’s Sci-Fi masterpiece, following Cobb and co. as they take on contracts for different clients each week. Moreover, it could be used as a way to further develop the Cobb/Mal relationship, which could offer up a lot of narrative potential.
4. The Shining
Stephen King is currently working on Doctor Sleep, which will be published later this year and could provide the perfect opportunity to bring the Torrance family back to the screen. But instead of bringing it back to the big screen, why not use the longevity of TV to explore the life of Dan Torrance since the events at the Overlook Hotel. With such a huge following though, this is a show that would demand top writers, an incredible central performance and preferably no forced cameo from Jack Nicholson.
5. Wall Street
Forget the world of Gordon Gekko and Buddy; the beauty of a Wall Street show is that you could adapt the concept to the modern age, creating a topical and current tale of greed in a time of recession. And for any of you thinking this may be too close to the sequel Money Never Sleeps, this wouldn’t star the emotional vacuum that is Shia LaBeouf.
So there are my ideas but what about you? Are there any films that you think would make great TV spin-offs? Any and all ideas welcome in the comment section below.