Television development has gone through a number of trends in the last five years. Shows of a certain kind have been commissioned that reflect the tastes of the time: whether it’s fantasy like Sleepy Hollow, comic book shows like the Defenders series’ and the Arrowverse, or the current genre of shows based on films. Not all of these have worked, with Rush Hour, Frequency getting cancelled after one season. Yet there are shows that have transcended their source and became worthy properties in their own right. Here are the top five TV shows based on movies
5. Bates Motel
Many sighed at the idea of a series adapted from the classic Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho, but Bates Motel quickly found its own identity. Staring off as a prequel to the events of the film, Bates Motel updated the plot to modern day, as we are treated to five seasons that chart the progress of a young Norman Bates into the killer that he becomes. The performances are the series main strength as Freddie Highmore is chilling as the young Norman, but the real draw is Vera Farminga who gives a career-best performance as Norman’s mother. This show shouldn’t have worked as well as it did.
Based on the Yul Brynner film about a Wild West theme park, the HBO series has improved on the pulp madness of the original film to give us a deeply constructed morality tale of what it means to be human. Created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, Westworld is packed with great performances: most notably from Anthony Hopkins, and Evan Rachael Wood, shocking twists, and a kind of savage beauty that takes the building blocks of humanities need for stories under the microscope.
The Coen Brothers Oscar winning film starring Frances McDormand is one of the best films of the 90s, so showrunner Noah Hawley had his work cut out when he was given the responsibility of creating a new show set in the oppressive cold of Fargo North Dakota. Instead of remaking th film, Hawley instead created an anthology series that works as three distinct chapters in a history of crime in the region. Hawley takes the films duelling morality of Minnesota politeness, and shocking violence, to give us intricate, and moving stories about good and evil, and turned it into one of the best shows on television.
Hannibal Lecter is one of the greatest cinematic villains, and has appeared in a total of five films: most notably played by Anthony Hopkins in the Oscar-winning Silence of the Lambs. It was up to Bryan Fuller to breathe new life into the character, and he did just that. Casting Mads Mikkelson as Lecter, the show follows his friendship with FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) in the years before he is caught. Hannibal is a masterpiece of post-modern television, with tremendous performances, lush visuals, and a dark sense of humour, and in its third onscreen iteration, produced the definitive Red Dragon story. Take that Brett Ratner.
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Unlike the other shows on this list, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is adapted from a movie that really sucks. Due to studio interference, Joss Whedon’s vision for Buffy didn’t come to fruition until the TV show: which has become one of the most celebrated shows ever. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy, the show used its unique brand of horror, drama, and comedy, and placed its story in the most horrific location imaginable: high school. There’s not much that hasn’t been said about how good a show Buffy still is, with new fans discovering it all the time, but it’s proof that some characters just need a change of medium to truly save the world.