In a brand-driven cinematic landscape that sees movies adapted from popular video games, toys and even candy, the notion of a film based on an old television show no longer projects the crassness it once did. A movie adapted from a TV show is now beginning to seem like the modern equivalent of a high-class literary adaptation.
The new film based on classic spy show The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (now in theatres) is bearing that perception, and generating a predominantly positive response from audiences and critics alike.
To mark the release of the film, I am going to cite five TV shows I would like to see adapted into movies, and offer some suggestions as to what shape their cinematic form could take.
Fantasy Island (1977-84)
The show: Anthology drama series in which holiday-makers learn obvious life lessons while vacationing at an island resort where vaguely supernatural events guide them. The only recurring characters were enigmatic host Mr Rourke (Ricardo Montalban - Armando from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes) and his diminutive assistant Tattoo (Herve Villechaize).
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The movie: I reckon they should go meta with this and have the film focus on a mega-rich obsessive fan of the series who uses his or her millions to construct a "real" Fantasy Island, then uses information gleaned from illegal surveillance and deep-dive background checks to try and teach his guests lessons about love, life and appreciating your spouse. While secretly filming it all for his or her own amusement.
Directed by: J.J. Abrams. He was obviously a fan of the show, if Lost is anything to go by.
Starring: Antonio Banderas as Mr Rourke. Verne Troyer as Tattoo. Or if he's not available, Tom Cruise.
Poster tagline: "The Fantasy Just Became A Reality Show."
Automan (1983 - 84)
The show: Short-lived futuristic drama focusing on a computer-generated cop (Chuck Wagner) and his constantly exasperated creator/handler/partner/best-friend/foil, Walter (Desi Arnaz jnr) - "Nobody's perfect, Auto." "I am."
The movie: Think Tron 2.0 meets Robocop meets Virtuosity. The show was quite derivative, but in a sleek modern movie context, it could work really well. Like Virtuosity.
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven. Just think about what he could do with this material.
Starring: I wanted to say that Curt Hennig (aka WWF's Mr Perfect) should play Automan. But he died in 2003, so let's go with ... Benedict Cumberbatch. Freddie Prinze jnr should play Walter.
Poster tagline: "A Perfect Man. A Perfect Cop. A Terrible Best Friend."
Police Ten 7 (2002 - present)
The show: An updated Crimewatch combined with unintentionally/intentionally hilarious footage of New Zealand police officers encountering a multitude of munted munters.
The movie: I've always thought there should be a Kiwi cop buddy comedy set in South Auckland, and this legendary brand could easily take us there.
Directed by: Geoff Murphy. With a moratorium on any dodgy sex puns.
Starring: Dave Fane is the rakish older detective with a history of mild corruption. Robbie Magasiva is his new by-the-book partner. Marshall Napier is the meth magnate in too deep with the gangs, and getting desperate. Josh Thomson is a genial drunk dude on the motorway.
Poster tagline: "Blow On The Pie. Eat The Pie. Shoot The Bad Guy."
Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990 - 2000)
The show: Two teenage innocents travel across America to the Western lands, where the enroaching railway has brought corruption, murder and teen sex. Plus illicit weekend trips to Baja.
The movie: A sombre examination of dissaffected youth in modern-day Gomorrah - Beverly Hills, California.
Directed by: Sofia Coppola (The Bling Ring, Lost In Translation) seems to have a knack for this sort of thing.
Starring: Justin Bieber as Jason. Miley Cyrus as Brenda. Luke Perry reprises his TV role of Dylan. A genetically-enhanced praying mantis plays Donna.
Poster tagline: "They Came For The Sun. They Stayed For The Sin."
Shortland Street (1992 - present)
The show: New Zealand's longest-running soap opera. New Zealand's only running soap opera. Appears to be set in some kind of alternate universe where nobody ever acknowledges anything that happened more than two weeks prior, and huge life-altering events have little to no discernable impact on the subsequent lives of the people involved. Also, they always get takeaways from a restaurant that doesn't really look like it would sell takeaways.
The movie: I'd like to see something that combines John Q and Desperate Measures. The Ferndale Strangler returns (he wasn't really dead) and takes a bunch of people hostage in a hospital that looks way bigger on the outside than it does on the inside. He demands plastic surgery or he'll kill all the nurses. A disgraced doctor returns from hiding in Guatemala to sort it all out.
Directed by: Michael Mann. He likes shooting on digital.
Starring: Denzel Washington as Dr Hone Ropata. Dan Stevens as Dr Chris Warner. Tom Noonan as the (resurrected) Ferndale Strangler.
Poster tagline: "Is It You? Or Is It Me? It's You."
• What TV show would you like to be seen made into a movie? Comment below!