TV Squad Ten: Shows I'd like to see come back as a TV movie - VIDEOS
by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 27th 2009 2:55PM
When TV shows have made the leap to the big screen, the results have not always been great, except when they keep the same cast and come up with a good story that builds on the series, like Sex and the City and Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. The same is true of some TV movies that have built on a show's lingering appeal even after it's been canceled. James Garner came back for a couple of Rockford Files movies, for instance, and The Return of The Man from UNCLE with David McCallum and Robert Vaughn was excellent. Of course, it doesn't always work -- the Rhoda and Mary reunion was painful to watch -- but I'm still a fan of the follow-up TV movie.
Here's my ideas for ten TV shows I'd like to see as TV movies.
1. Pushing Daisies
This one is really obvious because it's just happened. Bryan Fuller should have been given the chance to end this whimsical series, especially since the last episodes filmed are still sitting on the shelf at ABC and we've been told they do not resolve all the loose ends. A comic book won't suffice, and I don't want to wait years for big screen. A TV movie would be the perfect way to wrap up the series and give everyone closure.
2. Gilmore Girls
Here is a case where the show didn't end the way as intended by the creator. Amy Sherman-Palladino cooked up the Gilmore Girls and always had it in her mind how the show would resolve. A TV movie would give Amy a chance to show us that ending. Of course, she would have to deal with the changes from the last season, including Rory's first professional writing job as a reporter on the Obama Presidential campaign. Since Obama won, perhaps Rory Gilmore is now working in the White House press corps? Maybe she took a job for the administration? Back in Stars Hollow, has Lorelai and Luke resumed living together? I think it's likely that Amy's vision of the ending was to have Lorelai and Luke together in the diner, reading Rory's byline in the New York Times.
3. The West Wing
When the show ended in 2006, President Jed Barlett's second term came to an end and he returned to New Hampshire. The election was won by Congressman Matt Santos, the first Latino president. The similarities between President Santos and President Obama have been noted by others, as Barlett's presidency was also a reflection on the Clinton years -- without the Monica fiasco. In a TV movie based on this historic, fictional reality, we could find out how President Santos handled the financial meltdown, and also see how Jed Barlett chose to live after his White House years? Would he be like Clinton and Carter, active in philanthropy around the globe? Would he go the Al Gore route? A TV movie, written by Aaron Sorkin of course, would be fascinating.
4. The Sopranos
The black screen. The sudden stop. The unfinished Sopranos. It was brilliant the way David Chase chose to end the show and he knew exactly what he was doing by not resolving the HBO mafia drama. He left us wanting more and imagining how we might tie up the loose ends. Chase has hinted that he would someday entertain the thought of returning the show to HBO or even as a feature, maybe picking up with Tony and Carmela in the diner with Meadow and AJ as they were munching on onion rings. A TV movie is the answer for me, with HBO being the right venue. I never believed that the black screen meant Tony's was shot and killed, but only Chase knows for sure.
I'm not sure if I would be so gung-ho for a TV movie of Friends if the disaster of Joey wasn't so fresh in my mind. Fans of Friends would probably embrace a movie that returns Joey to New York where he could reunite with Monica and Chandler, Ross and Rachel and Phoebe. Of course with Monica and Chandler and their twins in the 'burbs, it's likely that Rachel and Ross and Emma are there, too. Would they all still be as close as when they were young city-dwellers? A TV movie based on Friends could go in so many different directions that it would be curious to see what co-creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman had in mind.
6. Party of Five
The special quality of Party of Five was that in the face of a great tragedy -- their parents death in a car wreck -- the Salinger children stuck together. It wasn't easy and it forced them all the grow up fast, but in the years since the show went off the air, did the Salingers remain intact? It would be an interesting idea to see the TV movie as told through the eyes of Owen, the youngest Salinger, who was still a tot when the series ended. His perspective on Charlie, Bailey, Julia and Claudia would be a way to catch up with how their lives progressed. Ultimately, though, I think they're still together, still honoring the wishes of their parents that they are each others support through good times and bad. ...Unless Charlie is lost.
7. Northern Exposure
I wasn't really happy with the way Northern Exposure came to a close. While the penultimate season saw Dr. Joel Fleischman achieve his heartfelt desire, a return to New York City, I always thought that Joel would eventually find his way back to Cicely. Imagine if there was a TV movie to play out that possibility? Joel would willfully return to Alaska and discover that just as he has changed, so have the people he left behind. Holling and Shelley would be raising a brood of kids; Chris and Maggie's relationship might be on the rocks; Maurice would be the henpecked spouse of Barbara Semanski. Would Ed and Marilyn have changed one iota? I'd like to know.
Nobody was truly happy with the way we left Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer. Having the Big Four imprisoned in a cell for violating the Good Samaritan law was a funny notion, and it reinforced the basic shallow, selfishness of the characters. However, for a show about nothing, that ending was too much of something. It was retribution. It was punishing their obtuse behavior. A TV movie would be the perfect way to redress that conclusion and pick up on the unchanging, nothingness of Seinfeld and his friends. Wouldn't it be great to find out that George is back working for the New York Yankees, only now it's Hank Steinbrenner pushing him around instead of his father? Or did he become a success on HBO in a series called Curb Your Enthusiasm?
What did happen to Michael and Hope and Elliot and Nancy? Did Nancy eventually succumb to ovarian cancer, which -- sadly -- happens in real life? I could see Elliot definitely starting a new life with a new wife and another set of kids. I could also imagine his bratty son Ethan being even a worse adult child. Michael could look just like Ken Olin does now on Brothers & Sisters, but I'd like to think that he and Hope stuck together. The experience of working for Miles Drentell should have sent Michael into another business. The most interesting thing, of course, is that nobody is thirtysomething anymore. How has age defined these characters?
10. St. Elsewhere
Was everything that happened at St. Eligius in Boston the inner workings of Tommy Westphall's autistic brain? In the final scene of the series, the implication was that the hospital was simply a building in a snowglobe. Tommy was playing with it when he dad, a construction worker -- Dr. Westphall? -- returned home. It was was of the most stunning endings ever for a TV show, but was it the truth? A TV movie could answer the question. It might ruin the perfect irony of an entire medical drama being a vision from an autistic child, but I'd like to know.