Now 13 movies in, ‘Star Trek’ has had a pretty good run transitioning from TV to feature films. What other sci-fi TV shows do you wish would make the jump from television to the big screen?
It always bothers me that (in most circles at least) when the question of best sci-fi series ever made comes up for debate, hardly anyone mentions ‘The Prisoner‘. The great Patrick McGoohan series from the late 1960s is about a spy who resigns from the government only to find himself abducted and placed in a conformist society known only as “The Village.” There, he’s labeled “Number Six” while the leader of the community is called “Number Two” and spends most of his (or her, as the identity of Number Two changes from episode to episode) time trying to extract information from Number Six on exactly why he quit his life of espionage. The series tackles issues like government mistrust, paranoia, and what it means to be an individual – themes that would seem perfect for today’s movie audiences and our current state of world affairs.
‘The Prisoner’ did get rebooted as a miniseries for the AMC network in 2009 with stars Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellan, but the creators tried to change the concept too much – keeping the themes of the original but changing the storyline so much that it didn’t show a whole lot of resemblance to what made McGoohan’s show great. Prior to the reboot (before Mel Gibson went crazy and while McGoohan was still alive), there was talk about a movie version where Gibson would play Number Six and McGoohan, in a role reversal, would have taken on Number Two. I often wondered if the twist in that idea was that McGoohan was really the former Number Six who had now conformed, which would have tied it back to the original.
Anyway, the failure of the AMC series probably means that a film version will never happen, although it’s still mentioned occasionally. Christopher Nolan was interested for a while, as was Ridley Scott, but both moved on to other things. Whether we’ll ever see a big screen version of ‘The Prisoner’ remains to be seen, but I think it’s a property that, if done correctly, could make for a great franchise.
After suffering through things like the ‘Aeon Flux’ movie and worrying about the current ‘Ghost in the Shell’ production, I’m not sure that any sci-fi show I really like could make the transition with much success. Even with the constant potential of super-power fatigue, I think a ‘Misfits‘ movie might work for me if only so that, good or bad, a movie would draw some new fans to the series.
Although not exactly pure science fiction, I’d like to see what a creative team of filmmakers could do with ‘Quantum Leap‘. As a kid, I loved that series. We gathered in front of the TV each week to see if the new chapter would be lighthearted, thrilling, emotional, dramatic, or even dark. (Remember the Evil Leaper?) Duncan Jones’ ‘Source Code’ was the closest thing we’ve seen to a big screen adaptation, and even had a few easter egg ‘Quantum Leap’ connections if you were paying attention closely. Seeing how enjoyable and creative it was, a ‘Quantum Leap’ revival would stand a chance at greatness. Each film could follow Sam tackling a new grand scale issue, with the climax resulting in him leaping and teasing the audience for the next installment. One of the sequels could surprise the audience by having him leap midway through the movie to second time that mysteriously connects to the first. The ideas are endless.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
‘The Middleman‘ started off as the most brilliant comic book series you never read, graduating from there into the most brilliant TV series you never watched. The next step, clearly, would be towards the most brilliant feature film you’ll never go to see either.
In a nutshell, ‘The Middleman’ is a hyper pop-culture-literate spy comedy about a clean-cut superhero type and his photogenic, twentysomething-year-old visual artist of a protégé. Together, they fend off everything from boy band alien invaders to trout-crazed zombies. It’s fast, it’s frenetic, it’s hysterical, it’s witty, it’s wildly imaginative, and it’s too infectiously fun for words. Starring Matt Keeslar as the titular, barrel-chested Middleman and the always delightful Natalie Morales as Wendy, the short-lived TV series on ABC Family couldn’t have been more perfectly cast. If a movie were possible to get off the ground, I’d hope they’d make it over too. It’s obviously not going to happen, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a Kickstarter one of these days anyway. As for you, do yourself a favor and check out the DVD collection.
Listen, Browncoats, I appreciate your passion but we’re not getting another ‘Firefly’ movie. The studio tried that once and it bombed. Be happy that you got that much and it brought a reasonable amount of closure to the story.
I’m still waiting for a decent ‘V’ movie that, unlike the recent TV reboot, has an intelligent script and the involvement of original series creator Kenneth Johnson. Unfortunately, that seems less and less likely to happen with each passing year. I’ve mentioned that miniseries in a couple previous Roundtables anyway.
This time, I’ll toss out a mention to ‘Space: Above and Beyond‘, the Fox network’s short-lived attempt to make a serialized military space adventure. Set in the year 2063, the show follows a batch of fresh-faced recruits in the Marine Corps Space Aviator Cavalry after the Earth government declares war on a race of vicious aliens who have (seemingly unprovoked) attacked human colonies on distant planets. Although it built a small but loyal following, the series was a ratings failure and was canceled after just a single season. I’ll be honest that the show was far from perfect. Many episodes suffered from corny melodrama, stiff acting and bad dialogue, and the whole thing was hampered by its mid-1990s production values and visual effects. However, it was an ambitious and even admirable effort with an interesting storyline. Its best episodes were very suspenseful and even philosophical. I think the concept could translate very well to movie format with an appropriate budget and production values. Imagine a straight version of Paul Verhoeven’s ‘Starship Troopers’ without the irony and satire. It might even be a box office hit that way.
Can you think of any other sci-fi TV shows you wish could be made into movies?