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October 13, 2015

The Five: Shows that are better than the movie

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 1st 2005 4:05PM

Jack Klugman and Tony Randall - The Odd CoupleThere aren't many TV shows made from movies that are actually better than the movie version. I'm not talking about TV shows that they made a big-screen version of (like X-Files or Charlie's Angels), I'm talking about a big screen flick that came first, and then they made the TV series. There aren't many that are better (and there are several that are worse: Ferris Bueller, My Big Fat Greek Life, War of the Worlds, to name a few), but I've come up with five I think are better. What's on your list? 

  1. Buffy, The Vampire Slayer: This is a no-brainer as #1, right? The movie is entertaining in it's own right, but Joss Whedon really ran with it when he brought it to TV.
  2. The Odd Couple: Sure, the movie version is very entertaining, but while Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon played Oscar and Felix very well, Jack Klugman and Tony Randall were Oscar and Felix. Once they got past the odd, stagey first season of the show (no studio audience), this became laugh out loud funny, very smart, very New York City. Can't wait til it comes to DVD.
  3. Highlander: God, did the movie suck. But when it came to TV, it provided a practically endless supply of plots for the character, and the villains/love interests for MacLeod were always interesting. Killing off Richie has to rank up there as being one of the stupidest decisions in TV history, but still, this was way better than the movie (any of the movies, actually).
  4. M*A*S*H: Sure, a very good movie, but the show had more time to really dig into the war and get into the heads of the characters more. Did it get a little preachy towards the end? Maybe, but this was uncommonly well-written and very well-cast, whether you're talking about the Henry Blake/Trapper John years or the Col. Potter/B.J. Hunnicut years.
  5. The Pink Panther: OK, OK, I'm stretching things here. I understand that. But same title, character based on the title animation. I loved this show, and while a couple of the Pink Panther flicks are funny, I find most of them to be rather tedious.

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#13 - Happy Days does not follow American Graffiti... Happy Days was a spin-off of an episode of Love American Style...

November 02 2005 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dead Zone - pretty excellent series Also Friday the 13th TV series was pretty excellent, and (at least to me) better than the movies.

November 02 2005 at 12:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm surprised it took so long for someone to mention Fame. Also missing from this list: -Alice (from Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore)

November 02 2005 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What about "Fame"?

November 02 2005 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, I guess I'm not certain if chronology plays a role in this list. Can I nominate "The Dukes of Hazard," "The Honeymoonders," or "The Beverly Hillbillies" all of which had questionable television merit but deplorable film outings. If we can include programmes that begin as television then are converted to a film there is a wealth of SNL entries that have been missed.

November 02 2005 at 6:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
A Davis

1. MASH 2. Alien Nation 3. Star Gate (the movie was great too) 4. Odd Couple 5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

November 01 2005 at 10:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with you jbelkin. The MASH tv show was an exceptional tv sitcom. But better than the movie? No.

November 01 2005 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Gotta disagree with on the MASH. The movie was a brilliant take on the messiness and surrealness of actual war & combat. It was funny, profane, idiotic, heroic and sad. The TV show does capture a sliver of that but it basically took the TV show 8-9 to capture everything Altman managed to capture & convey in 90 minutes. Part of it was that Tv was still more heavily censored but still. After Wayne Rogers left, it pretty much became an indulgent showcase for Alan Alda as the Jesus figure. If they had stopped production of the show after the epsisode in which McLean Stevenson's character died - it would've have matched the depth and breadth of MASH the movie but if you count it all (as you have to with a TV series), it no loner matches up - and that's why it's no longer an 'evergreen' syndicated show and the DVD's did not sell very well. It was a good 70's show but time has passed it by while MASH the movie still seems fresh and insightful. I do agree that BUFFY & ODD COUPLE will stnad the test of time and have.

November 01 2005 at 8:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The first Highlander movie was pretty good. Your choosing the Pink Panther cartoon over SG-1 boggles the mind. And until they changed the entire show in the second season War of the Worlds was a decent show. "Killing off Richie has to rank up there as being one of the stupidest decisions in TV history" - Your kidding right? Richie was the worst character (other than Richard Moll in the first episode) in the entire series.

November 01 2005 at 7:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

1. M*A*S*H - that one's easy. 2. STARGATE SG-1 - Took a murky concept for a movie, fleshed it out and came up with a pretty darned good series. 3. BUFFY - The proper tone the creator wanted - witout the studio interference. 4. ALIEN NATION - Proof that sometimes series TV can be soooo much better. The advantage of extra time to flesh out characters and cultures was wonderful. 5. FIREFLY - There's no show that's no longer on TV I miss more. 5.1 WHAT'S HAPPENIN! - Big Shirley & Rerun rock!

November 01 2005 at 7:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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