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The Top 5 Movies That Should Be TV Shows: Trancers, More

July 7, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The Top 5 Movies That Should Be TV Shows


There was a time not that long ago that people seemed to complain about Hollywood making movies based on TV shows. It was a sure sign of Hollywood’s creative bankruptcy and proof positive that the marketers had completely taken over the movie business. Well, that and the influx of remakes. No one seems to be complaining about the “TV shows made from movies” trend, though. I suspect that’s due to the success of the FX show Fargo and, to a lesser extent, the HBO shows West World and Watchmen (and let’s not forget Creepshow, a great show that probably isn’t going to get nominated for or win any major awards because… it’s just not. Ash vs. Evil Dead was a great show that should still be on). Lots of people apparently like those shows and, wow, some of them get nominated for and win awards. So why not mine the movie world for TV show ideas?

And so, without any further what have you, here are my Top 5 Movies That Should Be TV Shows:

Honorable Mentions:

The Hunted: The character that Tommy Lee Jones plays in this excellent action/horror flick by William Friedkin, LT Bonham, seems like the kind of character that would thrive in a movie franchise, tracking down and taking on various psychopaths. Since the movie tanked, why not put LT Bonham in a weekly TV show where he has to help the authorities, either the FBI or “local cops,” find a criminal of some sort? A serial killer, a sniper, the list goes on and on for the kind of bad guys he could go after. Would easily work as a network “case of the week” type show or as a cable/streaming show.

A Home of Our Own: This fabulous Kathy Bates drama would make for an interesting family drama. A single mother with six kids trying to make a life for her family in a new town and in a new house. The producers would probably try to make it modern, and it would definitely work that way, I think I would like to see it stick with the “period” setting that was in the movie (the movie, I believe, was set in the early 1960’s). I’m actually surprised that this movie hasn’t been adapted into a TV show yet by someone.

Bones: This unjustly maligned horror flick starring Snoop Dogg and directed by Ernest Dickerson could work as a sort of anthology show (think Freddy’s Nightmares) with the Jimmy Bones character essentially functioning as the host/malevolent force guiding events and it could be a straight up horror show that expands the story used in the movie. Young people finding out about the neighborhood’s past, bad stuff starts to happen, and Jimmy Bones shows up. I bet it would work and I bet Snoop Dogg would do it or would want to be a part of it. People would watch.

The Expendables: A big hooha action ensemble TV show, with big characters and big action, would probably be a very expensive proposition for any network or streaming service, but the Cinemax show Strike Back showed us that a cable channel could do big action well, so it’s really just a matter of figuring out who you want in a The Expendables TV show. Would you try to get the movie characters in the show (Stallone, Statham, Jet Li, Ahnold, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Wesley Snipes) and add a big “guest star” in each episode, or do you start over with new characters and actors? I’d like to see someone do six episodes to see if it works.


5-National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1: Loaded Weapon 1 is a brilliant spoof of Lethal Weapon and other action movies of the late 1980’s/early 1990’s, and I think it would be a hoot to use that spoof idea to do a kind of weekly spoof of the action and cop movie and TV show genre. Police Squad is a good model to follow, but amped up. You could probably also use Brooklyn Nine Nine as a guide for what a Loaded Weapon 1 show might be like. And it would be a hoot to see a TV show that, in one episode, makes fun of Lethal Weapon, and then in the next episode makes fun of NCIS, the Law & Order franchise, S.W.A.T., the list goes on. It would probably have to be a relatively short season, though, no more than maybe eight episodes. Do you think Emilio Estevez would agree to do an episode? I bet Jon Lovitz would do it.


4- Vampires: John Carpenter’s badass vampire killer movie Vampires would make for a killer TV show. A show would be able to explore the vampire mythology established in the movie, how the Catholic Church basically created vampires centuries ago, and then how the church created the vampire slayer teams to deal with the vampires. A show could also show just how a vampire team is put together, where the Vatican gets people from, etc. It could be serious, funny, gory as fuck, and occasionally offensive, just like the movie. And, if the producers wanted to, the show could dig a little more into the original John Steakley novel. And, if the show was successful, after a sort of “western” season, the next season could take place in a big city (not New York or Los Angeles or Chicago, but Atlanta or St. Louis would be cool).


3- Billy Jack: I’m using Billy Jack as a catch all for this potential show, as all four Billy Jack movies could be mined for a TV show. One season of the show could follow the first movie, Born Losers, and have badass Billy Jack taking on a racist hippie motorcycle gang (think of how awesome it would have been to see someone like Billy Jack wipe the floor with those SAMCRO punks from Sons of Anarchy). The next season could be a riff on the second movie, Billy Jack, and have Billy Jack protecting a school from asshole land developers or whatever the fuck. The Trial of Billy Jack, the weirdest of the four movies, would make for an insane season of TV (a trial, a flip out in the desert, stuff about taking on the Bureau of Indiana Land Management, and have the season end in a school massacre/kung fu brawl). The fourth season could have Billy Jack taking on corrupt politicians. I wouldn’t have Billy Jack become a politician, though, but it would be fun to see him beat the shit out of them. And if a Billy Jack show ever got a fifth season, the show could delve into whatever Tom Laughlin wanted to do in a fifth movie, The Return of Billy Jack. The success of any potential Billy Jack show would hinge on who the producers get to play Billy Jack. Would you want to go for an established action star/actor, or would you try to find an unknown?


2- The Wild Bunch: I’m shocked that this western hasn’t already been adapted into some sort of prestige cable show/streaming show. It has all of the pieces necessary for that kind of thing. It’s about a group of badass outlaws who try to make one last big score before retiring from the outlaw game. Just about every character is a scumbag of some sort, the entire story is morally questionable on multiple fronts, and it’s incredibly bloody. And if it was a cable show it could be filled with copious amounts of nudity because that’s what you do with a prestige cable show. And I bet that this kind of show, based on this very movie, would attract all sorts of A-list star interest, because everyone loves The Wild Bunch. I know that Will Smith and Mel Gibson were interested in a movie redo at various times and they never happened. They wanted to “update” the story. I’m not sure if I would want to do that, though. I think the story has to be a western, at least in the first season. You could easily do this like Fargo or American Horror Story and do a “new” version each season. One season could be a western, one season could be a modern story, another season could be something else.


1- Trancers: The entire Trancers franchise is just asking to be a TV show. Think about the first movie: Jack Deth, a cop from the future, time travels to the past in order to save the future from the leader of an army of “psychic zombies.” And then the second movie, where Jack Deth has to fight of a new version of the psychic zombies while also dealing with his wife from the future (she was killed in the future but brought back to the past to fight of the psychic zombies and she doesn’t know she was killed in the future because she was sent back to the past from the time in the future before she died). Think of all of the dramatic possibilities there with that relationship. And then you would have all of the cool action scenes, with Jack Deth taking on the trancers (gun battles, fist fights, you name it). And if the show managed to get a third season you could mine Trancers III: Deth Lives and bring in the android partner Shark. Why the hell hasn’t this show happened? Why hasn’t Full Moon’s Charles Band found someone to do this? Hell, why hasn’t Charles Band tried to do it himself? A Trancers show would fucking rock!


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