5 Great TV To Cinema Adaptations

August 25th, 2012 1:01pm EDT

Arrested  Development
There’s not a week that goes by where I don’t do a Google search to scour the internet for the latest news on a possible cinematic adaptation of the cult television show “Arrested Development.” The show, which was cancelled back in 2006, never was able to attract a large mainstream audience. Its brand of offbeat humor was not for everyone, but those who appreciated it have formed an intensely devoted fan base. As a result, if anything, the show has attracted more notoriety since its cancellation, and gained an even bigger following when it came to DVD. Creator Mitchell Hurwitz has for years toyed with the idea of reuniting the cast to make a movie that would tie up some of the loose ends. Even though most television to film transformations go horribly wrong, I am absolutely for this. I can’t imagine anything less than a completely riotous finished product. I mean, not all of these adaptations go bad; some are actually pretty great. Here are a few of them.

The Naked Gun

This film represents the recently deceased Leslie Nielsen at his deadpan best. Taken from the short-lived series “Police Squad,” this risible farce about Lieutenant Frank Drebin’s attempt to foil an assassination attempt on the Queen of England is one of the great silver screen comedies of its or any era. Filled with lunacy, madcap slapstick and countless gags, this story was born to be a film, not on the tube. The ending baseball game sequence is one of the great denouements in cinema history.

The Fugitive

Remember that time when Harrison Ford actually made pretty entertaining movies? This was certainly one of the best. Based on the classic 50s series of the same name, Ford is at his charismatic best as a doctor wrongly accused of murdering his wife. He is able to escape a prison sentence, and is determined to find the one-armed man that he feels was the real murderer. His detective work is more of a struggle, since another detective (played by a sharp Tommy Lee Jones) is looking for him to take him back to prison. The action set pieces are all thrilling, and the pulsating plot always leaves you breathless.

The Simpsons Movie

So I’ll go ahead and admit a little bias here: “The Simpsons” is probably my favorite show ever produced. The cinematic adaptation that fans waited patiently for for over a decade does not rank as one of the absolute best screen comedies, but it’s still hilarious, and keeps the irreverent tradition of the landmark show intact. The family is in fine form, as they try to prevent the United States government from destroying their hometown of Springfield due to an environmental disaster (caused by Homer of course). This filmic treatment is nothing more than an extended episode from the series, but it’s one very funny episode.

The Untouchables

This 60s series, about Eliot Ness’ hunt for notorious gangster Al Capone, was adapted for the big screen by big time director Brian De Palma in 1987, and he made it into one of the best of his esteemed career. Like all of De Palma’s films, it is loaded with impeccable production values, exemplary camerawork and expertly choreographed action. Robert De Niro is at his colorful best as Al Capone, as is Sean Connery as Jim Malone, a world weary beat cop recruited by the eager Ness. Don’t expect to shake Ennio Morricone’s majestic theme when the credits roll.

In the Loop

I had never even heard of the “The Thick of It,” the show this scintillating and uproarious British political satire was based on, before I saw its 2009 cinematic transformation. I knew nothing of the characters, and very little of the setting. As it happens, only one character survived the adaptation, that of Malcolm Tucker, a shockingly crude and pugnacious communications director for the British Prime Minister, who is currently prepared to wage war with a middle eastern country, possibly on false pretenses (sound familiar?). Despite that, this wickedly witty, unrelentingly hilarious depiction of British politics is a modern gem, and impossible not to include on this list.

I have faith that when Hurwitz and company finally release this rumored “Arrested Development” film (fingers crossed), it will rank among these other wonderful films. For now though, we have these.

Author bio: Zack Mandell is a movie enthusiast and owner of which has great info on actors such asLeslie Nielsen. He writes extensively about the movie industry for sites such as Gossip Center, Yahoo, NowPublic, and Helium.

Related: Arrested Development, In the Loop, The Fugitive, The Naked Gun, The Simpsons Movie, The Untouchables, Starpulse Exclusives, Movie Reviews

Photo Credits: Twentieth Century Fox; Paramount Pictures

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