The Top Ten Movies That SHOULD Be TV Shows
Bibbs: Hi! This is William Bibbiani, the Film Channel Editor at Crave Online (everyone calls me Bibbs).
Witney: And this is Witney Seibold, the guy from Three Cheers for Darkened Years.
Bibbs: And in retaliation for The Idiot Box taking up precious article space on the Film Channel with their Top Ten Movies Based on TV Series, we have decided to return the favor, and talk about ten movies that haven’t been adapted into TV shows that would be f***king awesome.
Witney: They take over our turf, we take over theirs. That’s how it works.
Bibbs: We were going to do the Best TV Shows Ever Based on Movies, but, um… We don’t care.
Witney: And the list is surprisingly short. I mean, you have In the Heat of the Night, M.A.S.H. and what else?
Bibbs: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, obviously. I’d say Genndy Tartakovsky’s Star Wars: Clone Wars… Not the CG one, the 2D one (duh). Those were amazing. But yeah, not many. And a lot of the ones that are supposedly great we haven’t even seen. The Third Man was turned into a television series, and it’s hard to find.
So instead, here are our picks for movies that should make a great television series, and – to date – have not.
Witney: I wanted to do something really cutesy and suggest Godard’s Breathless, or Eraserhead…
Bibbs: That would be pretty tiresome.
Witney: …or Lolita: The Animated Series. But I decided to go for TV shows I would actually like to see. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually, Lolita: The Animated Series is a pretty cool idea.]
Bibbs: Okay. And what was our #10?
Witney: #10 was Mister Lonely.
10. MISTER LONELY (dir. Harmony Korine, 2007)
Bibbs: What the hell is Mister Lonely? I’ve never even heard of Mister Lonely.
Witney: Mister Lonely is a Harmony Korine film, it came out in 2009, it has Diego Luna and Samantha Morton in it. Diego Luna plays a Michael Jackson impersonator…
Bibbs: Like you do…
Witney: …and he has been rejected by society and his family…
Bibbs: Oh, he’s playing Corey Feldman?
Witney: (Chuckles despite himself) – I suppose so, ***hole. He’s discovered by Samantha Morton, who ‘plays’ Marilyn Monroe, and he’s taken on a boat to this island which is populated by misfit celebrity impersonators. They have this weird, kind of Twin Peaks-y but very friendly society on this island…
Bibbs: It does sound like it could be a very funny, bizarre concept. I don’t know where it belongs. Adult Swim, or…?
Witney: Somewhere in between Pushing Daisies and Twin Peaks, I’d say.
Bibbs: So it’s going to get cancelled immediately but it’s going to have a huge cult following.
Witney: A great cult following.
9. DRIVE ANGRY (dir. Patrick Lussier, 2011)
Bibbs: All right, our #9 was Drive Angry.
Witney: Which came out earlier this year.
Bibbs: Which pretty much everyone hated but us.
Witney: I still stand behind Drive Angry, and I would love to see a TV series of some guy who’s not Nicolas Cage…
Bibbs: Unless Nicolas Cage’s career takes a huge dive.
Witney: You know, blasting across Middle America, chasing after or running from demons in a big suped up muscle car.
Bibbs: Wait, you realize that’s just Supernatural…?
Witney: (Thinks) – Okay…
Bibbs: That literally is just Supernatural. (Laughs.)
Witney: Change the title, make it one guy, put Amber Heard or another hot chick in [Sam’s] place…!
Bibbs: I think what you’ve got to do to make Drive Angry its own special thing is just focus on the ‘Hell Prison Break’ scenario. Which basically they did in the movie too. When you cast William Fichtner from Prison Break as his character from Prison Break trying to capture escaped convicts…
Bibbs & Witney (together): …from hell…
Bibbs: …you know what you’re doing. You’re creating something that’s fairly derivative. But this would have a really great place on the Sci-Fi Network, where being derivative is kind of their stock-in-trade.
Bibbs: As long as you get some clever writers on it, Drive Angry: The Series could be really, really fun.
Witney: It could be the next Brimstone.
Bibbs: So again, it will be cancelled right away.
Witney: What about #8?
8. My Blue Heaven (dir. Herbert Ross, 1990)
Bibbs: #8 is my first pick on the list. My Blue Heaven.
Witney: The Steve Martin film from… ’91, was it?
Bibbs: Somewhere around there. [EDITOR’S NOTE: It was 1990, you idiots.] What’s hilarious is that My Blue Heaven is actually based on the same story as Goodfellas. It’s about a Mafioso…
Witney: …played by Steve Martin in the movie…
Bibbs: …who goes into witness protection and is completely out of place in white suburbia. It’s a fish-out-of-water thing. I’m normally not a big fan of sitcoms but that’s a funny sitcom concept.
Witney: It’s better than a lot of this King of Queens nonsense that we’ve been seeing for the last decade or so.
Bibbs: Yeah. And it’s full of great character bits. Like the way he picks up women at the supermarket. “You know, you really shouldn’t be standing here in the frozen food section.”
“Why is that?”
“Because you could melt all this stuff.”
Witney: A guy who’s never left Las Vegas now has to live in Urbana, Illinois.
Bibbs: It’s just a funny idea, a lot of interesting places you could take the characters.
Witney: I’d watch that sitcom for sure.
7. Blind Fury (dir. Phillip Noyce, 1989)
Witney: #7 was Blind Fury…
Witney: …a Rutger Hauer film.
Bibbs: Which in-and-of-itself is a remake of the Zatoichi movies, which also had a television series. It’s about a blind swordsman, wandering America.
Witney: So it’s like Kung Fu but with a blind white guy…
Bibbs: Who is also a samurai!
Witney: …who is also a samurai.
Bibbs: Like you do.
Witney: And he wears cool shades and he’s got the sword [hidden in his cane]…
Bibbs: And you know what? It’ll be cheesy as sh**. But if you put it in the Walker: Texas Ranger mold… every week it’s a new adventure, it can be really stupid and have some pathos…
Witney: It’ll start airing on Friday nights but they’ll move it to Saturday afternoons, where it lasts unseen for like nine years.
Bibbs: Exactly. It’ll be on for nine years, no one you’ll know will have ever seen an episode, but for some reason it always cracks the Top 30 in the Nielson ratings. That’s Blind Fury.
6. Re-Animator (dir. Stuart Gordon, 1985)
Bibbs: #6! Now here’s one I’m really excited about. I’ve actually had daydreams about this for a long time.
Witney: And I was excited when you proposed this!
Bibbs: It’s a spin-off of Re-Animator. It’s a series set entirely at Miskatonic University, where all the characters, the mad scientists, the cultists…
Witney: …from the H.P. Lovecraft stories…
Bibbs: All the H.P. Lovecraft stories revolved around Miskatonic University in Arkham… Rhode Island?
Bibbs: Tell the story of that college! You can update that for modern day. You have all these college kids – you can make some of them women, since Lovecraft only wrote, like, two female characters his entire career – and give them melodrama, adventures, some of them might be turning evil or getting corrupted by their studies…
Witney: It would be like Hogwarts, but a lot more evil, and a lot more edgy, and a lot more fun.
Bibbs: Emo Hogwarts!
Witney: (Laughs) – I would watch Emo Hogwarts, for sure.
Bibbs: I would watch Emo Hogwarts too. I think that series would be a really great idea.
Another one, and this is one we actually both had on our lists, our #5…
5. Nightbreed (dir. Clive Barker, 1990)
Witney: #5 was Nightbreed. The Clive Barker film which…
Bibbs: …which is f***king great.
Witney: It’s a great movie, it has a strong following. Not a large following, unfortunately. It’s about a fellow who discovers through an accident that he actually contains the blood of an ancient line of monsters. And he discovers a subterranean city of monster people…
Bibbs: …it’s underneath a cemetery. It’s called ‘Midian.’ The series would have to be a sequel to the movie, because the end of the movie is a setup series. At the end of the movie he has brought humans to Midian, unwittingly, and they’ve attacked. Midian has been destroyed, and all the Nightbreed have been dispersed…
Witney: …scattered across America…
Bibbs: He’s got to get them back. He’s got to find all the Nightbreed and find a new home for them, where they will be safe. And that’s a perfectly decent idea for a television series.
Witney: Yeah. And he’s got a girlfriend who’s kind of torn by his monster-y… ness. And there’s an evil serial killer… I don’t want to give away too much, but there’s an evil serial killer who’s also after them. In the movie he’s played by David Cronenberg…
Bibbs: Yeah he is!
Witney: One of the scariest killers in all of movies! Gosh, I want to see that. Just traveling the country looking for hidden societies of monster people? That would play anywhere!
Bibbs: Yeah, that’s a great idea for a series. Also a great idea for a series: my #4…
4. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (dir. Wes Anderson, 2004)
Bibbs: The Life Aquatic…
Witney: …with Steve Zissou.
Bibbs: And the idea is this… It doesn’t need to be an hourlong series. This is a faux-reality television series about Steve Zissou on his ship, investigating these mysterious sea creatures that only Steve Zissou could find in a quirky Wes Anderson movie.
Witney: And it looks really neat, and Steve Zissou is such a memorable character. So even though they had Bill Murray for the movie you could get somebody else for the show. It would still be strong. Imagine like, David Morse or somebody in that role…
Bibbs: (Laughs) – I don’t know about David Morse! He’s great, I just don’t know if he’s that funny. God, who would you get?
Witney: I dunno.
Bibbs: Who would you get…?
Witney: I can’t think of anybody right now.
Bibbs: No, there’s got to be someone. F**** you.
Witney: (Laughs) – Steve Coogan?
Bibbs: Steve Coogan? Yeah, you could get Steve Coogan. That would work. But yeah, anyway, just make The Life Aquatic into a fake educational series, the kind that Steve Zissou would have actually made, made in a period setting…
Witney: And it could be like The Office, all those shows in a faux-documentary setting.
Bibbs: You know, my problem with those shows is that you never see the documentary. We’re like, what? More than half a dozen seasons into The Office now? When is this f***king documentary going to be finished?
Witney: (Laughs) – How long do they need to document this? What are they trying to capture?!
Bibbs: No one’s brought this up at a Monday meeting? “Wait a minute, these people are still here? What the hell?!”
3. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (dir. Peter Weir, 2003)
Bibbs: #3… And oh, this a good one.
Witney: Okay, this would have to be on cable TV, it would have to be like… what’s that one with Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt?
Bibbs: Boardwalk Empire. It would have to be an expensive series like that or Game of Thrones.
Witney: A really big, epic, build-a-set sort of really expensive cable TV show… a TV series based on Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Which is one of my favorite movies.
Bibbs: A fantastically entertaining movie, and it’s based on a huge series of books. You could do it like Dexter, where every season or so…
Witney: …you do a book.
Bibbs: The material is already there.
Witney: Yeah. It takes place in the Napoleonic Wars on a maritime vessel with Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin bantering with each other, and tracking down ships and going on various missions. Holy kittens, what a romantic show!
Bibbs: And the character dynamics that we saw in the movie are really exceptional and well thought out, and have a lot of drama even though the characters have obviously bonded due to their living situation on a ship. But just in terms of historical interest and excitement… Rome, Deadwood… These shows have done rather well, and I actually hear now that they’ve greenlit a pirate series from Graham King and Gale Anne Hurd. So maybe if that does well we could even see Master and Commander. Russell Crowe’s been wanting to get another Master and Commander made for a while, [but] the first movie just didn’t make much money.
Witney: Which is such a pity. And the movie was really known for its historical accuracy, and shows like Rome and Deadwood are really sticklers for historical accuracy.
Bibbs: For the most part.
Witney: For the most part. So you at least have a good template to go with.
Bibbs: Speaking of a good template to go with, #2…
2. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (dir. W.E. Richter, 1984)
Bibbs: …Buckaroo Banzai.
Witney: Okay, when you asked me to come up with a list, I thought of… What would have either a good ensemble, or one star who’s really good at something? And who’s better at a bunch of stuff than…
Bibbs and Witney (together): Buckaroo Banzai.
Witney: He’s a racecar driver…
Bibbs: …a brain surgeon…
Witney: …a test scientist, a rock star, and he’s cool as a cucumber.
Bibbs: Someone once said about Buckaroo Banzai, they said “Buckaroo Banzai is not a movie. Buckaroo Banzai is two episodes of a television series, but it’s episodes 31 and 32, and you haven’t seen any of the other ones.”
Witney: There’s no lead-in or lead-away.
Bibbs: And it’s all kind of interconnected. Like, that watermelon? That watermelon was important in episode 20, but not in this episode. In this episode it’s just a throwaway gag for everyone who enjoyed episode 20, [the one] about the watermelon. Buckaroo Banzai is surreal, funny, anything can happen… It’s kind of dorky [too], and as a result I’m not entirely sure there’s a place for it on television outside of maybe the Saturday morning live-action Power Rangers genre. That could be fun too, though.
Witney: Well, I would love to see it, even if it’s low-budget Saturday morning show.
Bibbs: Well, I think it shouldbe low-budget.
Witney: You get some playful actors, even unknowns… It doesn’t have to be Peter Weller…
Bibbs: Well, I don’t think it should be now. He’s a little old for it.
Witney: That’s true. But yeah, kids would really dig on this. They’re watching weirder and weirder stuff. Have you seen Adventure Time?
Bibbs: I have seen Adventure Time. I love Adventure Time. My idea is this: I feel like Buckaroo Banzai could be an American Dr. Who.
Witney: There you go. That’s perfect.
Bibbs: It’s silly, but as long as the protagonist is compelling enough, and the writing around him any given week is clever and remarkable, there’s no reason why this couldn’t be the cheapest show on TV. (Laughs.) And it could be really, really fun.
Bibbs: But nothing could be more fun than our #1 pick…
Witney: And this was Bibbs’s idea, and I stand by it…
1. Indiana Jones (dir. Steven Spielberg, 1981-1989)
Bibbs: I have been fantasizing about this series for forever. I want to see a television series based on Indiana Jones, and I know what you’re thinking!
Witney: The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles…
Bibbs: …sucked! A lot of people liked them, but I was never able to get into them because the shows were geared more towards little tiny kids. I never understood why they never did Indiana Jones: The Animated Series.
Now in my head… I want to make this clear, because there’s a lot of ways to do that series badly…
Witney: We already had a Mummy animated series, and a Pitfall animated series, and they could all be the same.
Bibbs: In my head, Indiana Jones: The Animated Series is done by Bruce Timm.
Witney: And that is F-ing brilliant.
Bibbs: Bruce Timm, the man behind Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited. I want you all to stop for a second and think, for a second, about how cool that would be.
Witney: You’d have such a square-jawed Indiana Jones.
Bibbs: It all takes place between shortly before Temple of Doom and the end of World War II.
Witney: So there’s still Nazis in it.
Bibbs: Yeah, there’s Nazis, he can be involved in a war, he can go out on scientific expeditions, there are all kinds of episodes… Every single kind of mythology could finally be represented (sans aliens). You can do Norse mythology, Indiana Jones and the Chains of Fenrir, or Greek mythology, Indiana Jones and the Golden Fleece. It could be really cool.
Witney: Oh man, my pants are getting tighter.
Bibbs: That is the dream. Tight pants and great TV. Those are the television series that us film people would actually watch. So we would like…
Witney: (Interrupting) – Suck it, Blair Marnell and Sax Carr!
Bibbs: (Nods) – We would like you to suck it, please. And thanks for having us on the TV channel! We hope we didn’t leave too much of a mess, but…
Witney: …but don’t you impinge on our turf again or we’ll have to do something more drastic.
Bibbs: (Confused) – You… You people are… nice.
Witney: And this part is a written benediction.
Bibbs: I don’t know what that means.
Witney: Because you’re transcribing it.
Thanks to Blair Marnell (@blairmarnell) and Sax Carr (@saxcarr) for their fine welcome, and for publishing this in their precious homes. Witney and I will see you every Friday at The B-Movies Podcast!