The best and worst of TV shows-turned-films
“Star Trek” (2009) – There have been a few bumps in the road, but basically “Star Trek” has made a successful transition to the big screen. And J.J. Abrams’ recent reboot, with fresh, young stars – Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, John Cho, Zoe Saldana – injected new life into a franchise that was starting to get stale.
“The Fugitive” (1993) – Harrison Ford as the accused murderer looking for the man who killed his wife? Check. Tommy Lee Jones as the dogged cop looking for Ford? Double check. Hard to top this one for thrills, spills and smart TV-to-screen tinkering.
“The Untouchables” (1987) – With Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Andy Garcia and Sean Connery, this film had a killer cast. And Brian De Palma’s splashy direction helped bring it all home. Top-notch.
“Mission: Impossible” (1996) – Not every film in the series has dazzled, but the concept of a high-tech team charged with near-impossible missions seemed tailor-made for the big screen. And Tom Cruise was the perfect choice to head the group.
“The Addams Family” (1991) – Exuberant, playful and funny, this was a major upgrade from the TV series. And as Gomez and Morticia, Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston looked like they were having the time of their lives. A total joy.
“Lost In Space” (1998) – Here’s how not to do an adaptation. Take a silly, low-budget family show and blow it up into a bombastic big-screen enterprise. Then cast Matt LeBlanc, a TV star totally unproven as a box-office draw, as one of your leads. Gobble, gobble.
“Wild Wild West” (1999) – Another instance where a nice, small-scale series – which also was smart enough to make fun of itself – was turned into a mega-budget, out-of-control turkey. We’ll take Robert Conrad and Ross Martin over Will Smith and Kevin Kline any day.
“The Avengers” (1998) – Easily one of the sexiest, most sophisticated TV shows ever – Diana Rigg in black leather! – was converted into a ludicrously plotted film with two stars (Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman) who lacked both chemistry and charisma. Even the great Sean Connery in a supporting role couldn’t save this bomb.
“Bewitched” (2005) – Nicole Kidman doesn’t do cute. And Will Ferrell was no help. Miscast, not funny and just plain bad.
“The Mod Squad” (1999) – An update that seemed dated, with a cast that had, and has, done better. Did Claire Danes make anyone forget Peggy Lipton? Did Omar Epps outcool Clarence Williams III? Not even close.