Top List Thursday – Top ten movie to TV spin-offs

Have you ever come out of a movie and thought to yourself, “Gee whizz, I wish that movie starring Mark Wahlberg as a porn star was a TV show!”? Well I can’t help you with that, I’m afraid. What I can do however, is point you in the direction of several other TV shows that jumped from the big screen onto your LCD TV instead. We’ve ten such shows lined up, so grab some popcorn, change your channel from yet another rerun of Come dine with me and settle in for one of these shows instead.

Star Wars – The Clone Wars

When it comes to the Star Wars prequel trilogy, George lucas pretty much batted one and a half out of three. What he did do right however, was to set up a new universe in the middle of a war to end all wars. The animated Clone Wars series was born of that material, and what a show it is.

CGI animated, it took inspiration from the earlier Genddy Tartakovsky animated micro-episodes, to create something that was layered in action, intrigue and drama. It’s a consistently excellent series, one that can easily spend a few episodes with jedi,  setting up the building blocks for resentment among abused clone troopers on alien planets, or the savage return of a villain long thought dead.

The galaxy may be far, far away, but the Clone Wars proves that they happen to be worth the journey.

Tron Uprising

Tron is a franchise that deserves to be explored further, as the digital age of today has made it even more relevant. Despite being a pretty damn decent sequel, Tron: Legacy didn’t make Avatar levels of cash at the box office. Fortuantely, Disney still saw potential in the ideas behind the Grid, and commissioned a series that just oozes pure quality.

With an all star voice cast that includes Elijah Wood, Mandy Moore, Lance Henriksen and the original Tron himself, Bruce Boxleitner, the series features some phenomenal visuals mixed in with some mature story-telling. Shuffle in the always brilliant soundtrack of Daft Punk from the 2010 film, and you’ve got a series that happens to be the full package.

Albeit one that is on the verge of cancellation.

Roughnecks – Starship Troopers Chronicles

Make no mistake, when your source material happens to be an excessively gory film of man vs bug, you’re going to have a hard time adapting it for the small screen and smaller age demographics. Roughnecks – Starship Troopers Chronicles somehow overcame this though, with a television show that was painfully short and beautifully put together.

Creating new worlds and characters with which to fill them, the series was hamstrung by the fact that networks rushed out episodes before stories could even be completed, leaving viewers confused and irritated with the incoherent mess before them, leading to an indefinite hiatus.

It’s still worth a watch today, especially now that you can do so chronologically.

Robocop the TV show

Speaking of hyper violent Paul Verhoven projects, what could be better than seeing a 90 minute flick revolving around a walking carcass starpped into a mechanical suit that dispenses justice? Why the exact same principle applied to an hourly format, but with out any of that satirical gore of course!

Granted, Robocop the TV series was nowhere near as good as the first or second film, but holy hell, it was just so damn cool to see officer Alex Murphy on a weekly basis, busting crime and communicating with a brain and her  holographic ghost. Cheesy today, but still fun, it’s a pity that we didn’t get to see a second season of episodes featuring Mr Prime Directives.

And don’t mention those made for TV movies. They don’t exist according to the bottle of Scothc I down to remove the memories of that abomination.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Buffy the vampire slayer was a TV show that made Joss Whedon the man he is today. The only thing is, is that those seasons of demon-busting are pretty much cheesy and terrible by today’s standards. But back then? Man, they were worth rushing home to, blowing off homework and watching the Scooby gang pit their wits and swords against the unspeakable terrors of the hellmouth.

There’s still a few classy episodes scattered in there, and it’s a series that went off on a high note when it saved the world. A lot.

Clerks – The animated series

Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe? Is it safe?

Jokes aside, if you’re a fan of the View Askewniverse and particularly of store employees Dante and Randall, then you need to head back to New Jersey for this brief six episode gem. Shenanigans, move references and an Alec Baldwin voiced Leonardo Leonardo rule the roost here, and it’s some of the most bizarre comedy that happens to be mixed in with the formula as well.

Is it safe?

Highlander

I think by now, everyone is aware of our intense devotion to the Highlander franchise. After all, it won the Academy Award for the best movie ever according to Ricky Bobby, before it went on to become a hit TV show. Starring a new McLeod in a new age, it was a show that crossed between the past and the present, as Duncan McLeod took on foes from his past and future.

It always ended with a decapitation and a light show, and yet it never got old. Heeeeeeeeeeeeere we are, born to be kings, we’re the princes of the universe…

Mortal Kombat Konquest

Remember the first Mortal Kombat film? It was actually kind of rad. Then came the second film, which to this day still makes my brain cells commit suicide one by one when I think about it. Mortal Kombat Konquest was a show that pretty much straddled the line between those two films. And I freaking loved it because of that. Cheesy and horribly acted, the tale of the first Kung Lao relied on cheap sex gags and familiar faces to pull in an audience.

But it also had some fantastic fight choreography mixed in, a decent story and an attitude where the cast involved gave zero care about the fact that they were acting in a terrible TV series. And added to that, was one of the best endings ever, where the show had a definitive conclusion.

Now that’s how you end a series that has a fair share of critics.

The young Indiana Jones Chronicles

Back before George Lucas had parts of his grey matter replaced with green screens and CGI lobes, he had an idea. Alongside Steven SPielberg, he wanted to expand the world of the greatest whip-handling archeologist that the world has ever known, Indiana Jones. And he did so over a short series that had a high budget and high stakes.

It may not have survived for long on TV, but as a proof of concept for what was to come in the modern day world of filmmaking, it was a landmark show, and one that never forgot the fun roots of its original material either.

MIB – The Series

There have been plenty of animated series based on Sony properties in the past, from Godzilla through to Ghostbusters, but none of them could quite manage to capture the spirit of the cinematic source material. MIB did though. It was a freaky world of undercover cops that were never there, hunting down rogue aliens and keeping humanity safe, one erased memory at a time.

Great animation, even better voice acting and a style that kept things looking just right, MIB was a series that hopped straight from the film world and into TV land. And it’s a hell of a lot better than those terrible sequels as well.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kervyn-Cloete/610830836 Kervyn Cloete

    Damn, I’d forgotten about the MIB cartoon. I loved that show, man!