The Switch: When Movies Become TV Shows

A list of five TV shows that first appeared on the big screen.

You've seen it done, right?  After all, it's been happening for quite some time now: Hollywood recycles a hit movie and turns it into an hour long, multi-episode TV show.

There have been examples where this works beautifully (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friday Night Lights), as well as instances where it doesn't work at all (Minority Report, Limitless).

Translating a story from the big screen to a smaller one can often be a slippery slope. It's an industry mystery as to why some plot lines work best when told in a two hour period, while others make more sense to be stretched over the course of an entire season.

We've put together a list of five TV shows that not only originated as a movie, but later found a loyal audience on network television.

5. Teen Wolf

1985 Movie to 2011 TV Series
1985 Movie / 2011 TV Series

The 1985 fantasy-comedy film starred a young Michael J. Fox, and went on to become a commercial success. Fast forward 26 years later, and Teen Wolf was reimagined as a TV show on MTV. Now in it's sixth season, the hour long drama has consistently been met with positive reviews from both critics and fans.

4. M*A*S*H  

1970 Movie / 1972 TV Series
1970 Movie / 1972 TV Series

Based on the 1970 feature film of the same name, M*A*S*H debuted back in 1972 and ran for 11 successful seasons. The series finale was first shown in 1983, at a time where it become the most-watched and highest-rated single television episode in U.S. television history.

3. Bates Motel

1987 Movie / 2013 TV Series
1987 Movie / 2013 TV Series

Rather a prequel instead of a reimagined storyline, viewers are shown how famed Psycho villain, Norman Bates, becomes a murderer. Mother Bates is alive and kicking in this series, as Bates Motel depicts the odd and inappropriate relationship between parent and child. For their roles, Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore have received critical acclaim.

2. Fargo

1996 Movie / 2014 TV Series
1996 Movie / 2014 TV Series

With its third season set to premiere in early 2017, Fargo has attracted a range of Hollywood talent, including Billy Bob Thorton, Colin Hanks, Kirsten Dunst, Ted Danson, and Ewan McGregor. This black comedy-crime drama has an anthology format, meaning characters and plot lines only last 10 episodes.

1. Clueless

1995 Movie / 1996 TV Series
1995 Movie / 1996 TV Series

If you thought a Clueless TV show couldn't succeed without the film's main star, Alicia Silverstone, you were wrong. Originally broadcast on ABC in 1996, the series ran for a total of three years, producing 62 episodes. Never a hit with critics, the comedy did manage to later enter syndication.

What did we miss? Let us know if you have a favorite movie-turned-TV show that didn't make our cut.

Cutter Slagle
Cutter Slagle

Cutter Slagle is the published author of horror, mystery, and suspense fiction. His debut novel was released in hardback last fall. He is currently a contributing columnist for Rage Monthly magazine. Cutter earned a degree in English and minor in creative writing from The Ohio State University. He lives in Southern California where he continues to write.

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