Movies That Became TV Shows…Twice

With “Parenthood” ending it’s 5 year run, here’s a look at other movies that have become Sitcoms… Twice. 

This isn’t the first time a movie has been spun off into a TV show more than once. Here are six movies that were TV shows twice. 

 

1) Parenthood

Before NBC made a drama out of “Parenthood,” NBC made a sitcom out of the movie. The Steve Martin movie felt a lot like a sitcom, so it was no surprise when the Ron Howard movie became one in 1990. The “Parenthood” sitcom only lasted for  12 episodes and had Ed Begley, Jr. in the Martin role. It also starred then unknown  actors in comedy David Arquette and Leonardo DiCaprio. It also featured still unknown actors Jayne Atkinson and Ivyann Schwan.

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2) Odd Couple (Black Version)

This month CBS debuts it’s update of “The Odd Couple.” The original show was based on the movie (Which was based on a play, that was based on real life.). 

Did you assume the Perry “Odd Couple” is the only time they remade the classic 70’s sitcom? Well, if we learned one thing from the original show, you never assume. (You make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.”) 

In 1988 ABC tried to revive the show with a black cast. Ron Glass from “Barney Miller” played Felix and the “Son” from “Sanford and Son,” Demond Wilson, played Oscar. Eight of the eighteen episodes that aired were rehashes of the original TV show, including the famous courtroom scene.

 

3) Fargo


S3hlSzE1SExnY1Ux_o_fargo-2003-series-pilot-edie-falcoBefore “Fargo” became an inspiration for the critical darling starring Billy Bob Thornton on FX, the movie had a straightforward spin-off. While the recent show is more “inspired by” the Coen Brothers movie, the original TV tryout was definitely “based on.”


The 1997 pilot followed with Edie Falco playing the Frances McDormand part. Like in the movie she’s pregnant, so it either took place the day after the wood chipper scene or this baby never wants to come out. Was the plan for her to be pregnant for 6 seasons and a movie? The show was directed by actress Kathy Bates. In Bate’s version, Marge Gunderson solved a crime a week. It was more “CSI: Northern Exposure” than a Coen Brothers movie.

4) Casablanca
When the second time was a charm for “Parenthood,” “Casablanca” couldn’t seem to play it again on TV. In 1954, Warner Brothers used their 1942 movie to break into television. Some of the actual sets from the ironic film were used in the TV show. Even some of the actors returned, playing different roles. Clarence Muse, who auditioned to play Sam in the movie, got to play the role on TV instead.

In 1983, the sets were dug up again, this time David Soul bogarted the lead role. Scatman Crothers played Sam.  Future stars like Ray Liota and Hector Elizondo rounded out the cast. While the 50’s show was a continuation of the film, the 80’s take was a prequel. 

Both versions took a small plane far away, pretty quickly.

5) Bates Motel
Before Vera Farmiga made goo-goo eyes at her son on AMC, “Bates Motel” was opened for business on NBC.

In the 1987 TV version of “Psycho,” Bud Cort played Alex West, a guy who inherited the famed motel from Norman Bates himself. You see, West was Norman’s roommate in the loony bin. West wants to make this a legit motel. (An oxymoron, right?)

Anthony Perkins publicly slammed the movie, calling it “Just terrible.” Maybe because Norman is killed off and Perkins was still making sequels.

The 80’s “Bates Motel” also featured Lori Petty and Jason Bateman. It aired as a two-hour TV movie/pilot to introduce the series. It was mercifully killed off in the shower after the first airing. 

6) La Femme Nikita 

There was the USA Networks drama from 1997-2001. This version starred the future star of “Malibu Shark Attack,” PeTA Wilson as Nikita. This Canadian shot cable show used footage from the movie “Point of No Return.”

After the French movie, and the American remake and the Canadian based USA series, the story was still not done being told! The great Maggie Q steps in as bad ass kicker. Don’t expect this show not to return. It seems like the storyline of the gorgeous woman who fights crime in tight outfits doesn’t go out of style.

What movies would you like to see get another chance as a TV show?

Related:

Here’s a discussion of the 5 worst TV shows in the US and Great Britain. 

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