Marvel's Inhumans

Weekend Roundtable: TV Shows on the Big Screen

This is such a slow week for movies that the most notable new theatrical release is actually a TV show. Four weeks ahead of its broadcast debut, Marvel is premiering the new series ‘Inhumans’ in IMAX theaters first. Would you pay to see a TV show on the big screen?

If not this one specifically (early buzz for ‘Inhumans’ hasn’t been very encouraging), what other TV shows past or present would you consider buying a ticket for?

Shannon Nutt

As someone who needs to be really motivated to see ANY movie in the theater these days, I have no idea why the studios think people will pay to see something they can get for free on TV a few days later, but the numbers must say otherwise. In this case, it’s my understanding that ‘Inhumans’ was a co-financing deal with IMAX to help cover the costs of the series. This might be more of a dumb move on the part of IMAX than it is a stupid decision by Marvel. We’ll see how many people actually show up.

With that in mind, there’s only one series on the air that I would pay to see in the theater, and that’s ‘Twin Peaks‘. I would have gladly forked over a few dollars to have seen the premiere early and I would gladly fork over a few dollars this week to see the conclusion early. Some of that has to do with it being David Lynch, some has to do with not wanting to be spoiled, but a lot of it is simply because this is my favorite television series ever. Heck, even after the show is over, I’d be open to plopping down a few dollars if any theater would run an 18-hour marathon of the entire thing. It’s just something I’d love to see on a huge screen.

Brian Hoss

While ‘Inhumans’ is not necessarily theater-worthy for me, I might be willing to attend a showing of the new ‘Star Trek‘ show (and that’s even while thinking it won’t be good). I caught a few Monday Night Football games at Alamo Drafthouse some years back, which of course meant there was food and that it was more like going to a sports bar than a theater. (I don’t think there was an admission charge.) For the right TV show, it might be fun to go with some friends.

Luke Hickman

I’ve only seen one episode of television on the big screen and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. The episode was the pilot of NBC’s ‘Revolution‘, a bloody awful sci-fi series about the post-apocalyptic world following the extinction of technology. The screening was atrocious because the bad content and the low production values were amplified by the big screen.

Keeping that tricky dynamic in mind, there are very few series that I’d like to see on the big screen. As much as I loved the big multi-episode finale of ‘Lost’, I don’t think it would play well. The same goes for ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Justified’. A big screen wouldn’t offer a bigger experience. You need something cinematic.

The most recent piece of television to come to mind is the climactic finale of the first season of ‘Legion‘. Creator and show-runner Noah Hawley (who also does FX’s ‘Fargo’) brought real cinematic style to the artsy ‘X-Men’ universe and the final two episodes work so well at building a singular climax that they just might be done justice to receive the big-screen treatment.

While that may be the case, the series doesn’t have a large enough following to warrant theater showings – but one can dream, right?

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

Sure, ‘Rick and Morty‘ doesn’t boast dazzlingly cinematic production values that demand to be experienced on the big screen, but I kind of love the idea of being able to watch it in a theater anyway. I’ve been lucky enough to have always tuned into the show with at least one other person, but I can only imagine how much of a blast ‘Rick and Morty’ would be alongside a couple hundred other rabid fanatics laughing maniacally. With the massive crowds that showed up for the Don’t Even Trip tour – basically a custom van shilling merch – surely one of those Fandango one-night-only deals would make bank.

Josh Zyber

‘Inhumans’ isn’t the first time a TV show has played theatrically. Back in the 1970s, the premiere episodes of ‘Battestar Galactica’ and ‘Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’ both got theatrical runs, and other notable series or miniseries from that era may have as well. In 1993, I spent a long afternoon watching a 70mm blow-up print of the entire 4-hour ‘Gettysburg‘ miniseries. While the atrocious fake beards looked awful on the big screen, I still have a vivid memory of the thunderous volleys of cannon fire booming through the theater.

More recently, HBO screened the fourth season finale of ‘Game of Thrones‘ in IMAX. While I skipped that, I might almost be tempted to pay to see next year’s series finale on the big screen should it get released that way. (Initial indications are that it probably won’t.)

Failing that, about the only other TV show I’d like to watch in a theatrical setting might be the two-hour 1990 pilot of the original ‘Twin Peaks‘. I suspect that a local repertory theater here in Boston may have played that at some point, but I’ve never made it there. I ought to pay more attention.

Does the prospect of watching a TV show in a theater hold any interest for you, or do you think the entire thing is a dumb idea?

The blog will take a break on Monday for the Labor Day holiday. We’ll see you back here on Tuesday.


  1. Snoddy

    The only time I watched a tv show in the theaters was when I went with my dad to see The Menagerie two-parter from the 1st season of Star Trek back in 2007. That remastered forty year old show looked stunning on the big screen. I think it’d need to be something else like that, a remastered classic, to get me in theaters. Though after this last season of dragon badassery on Game of Thrones I’m thinking the final season would merit a trip as well.

  2. JudasCradle

    Rather than just something I love – I would choose something innately more cinematic than its TV show venue. HANNIBAL had feature film quality visuals and Cinematography – that would probably look great on a big screen.

  3. Pedram

    I watched the season 6 finale (and penultimate episode) of Game of Thrones in a theatre (for free). It was actually pretty great. Definitely a fun experience to watch it with a theatre full of GoT fans. The part where (spoiler) Jon Snow gets killed was a harrowing experience, but it was almost softened to be shocked along with a theatre full of people.
    I’d definitely pay to watch the series finale on the big screen again.

  4. I second the suggestion of Legion. I went to the SDCC panel for it where they showed the silent film Bolero sequence and it was fantastic to see it on a big screen (two, actually) with the music pounding out of the speakers.

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