Five Active TV Shows That Could be Good Movies

We’ve talked about this subject before but it’s definitely worth bringing up again.   Since the world is so full of remakes and adaptations these days, I figure I’d help out the industry by giving them some real picks of things that could be successful in cinema.

It’s not easy to go from TV show to movie.   You need certain elements.   Take Dexter or House for example.   Those are solid shows but can they really be movies?  Dexter would just have to find another person to kill and House would just have to solve another case.  Been there, done that.

To me, a TV show turned movie has to be something where the plot can be expanded and the use of cinematic technology and finance would enhance the show.   So here are my five picks for current TV shows that could be movies….

Boardwalk Empire

This one screams movie.  A.. Martin Scorsese is already involved in the show and B.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Scorsese hasn’t already started making this thing.   I’m pretty sure all the avid followers of the show would watch this.  It’s a great time period piece.   Everyone loves alcohol, rackateering, murder, sex, you name it.  Plus if I haven’t mention Scorsese already.   At the same time it was very smart to make this a show in the first place.

Game of Thrones

As Paul and I discussed a show like Game of Thrones could only be enhanced and probably be made better if turned into a movie.  The reason is because right now you can’t have Lord of the Rings type fights.  And with all the barbarian types as well as royalty in the show, you could easily have a Robin Hood, Gladiator, LOTR type thing rolled into one.  I assume Ridley Scott would direct this movie.

Terra Nova

Paul and I (and it appears most of you) gave Terra Nova the thumbs down.   However, all of us have agreed that the story happens to be a pretty awesome premise.  I think the biggest issue with the show is that they just don’t have the budget.   Too many things look fake and the show is simply all over the place.  But a nice 2 hour movie with dinosaur attacks and a new civilization being started from scratch but from the future?  I’d definitely pay to go see that.

The Walking Dead

Who wouldn’t like a Zombie movie?

Always Sunny in Philadelphia

I had to get a comedy in here.  And frankly I would definitely pay to see the gang get into a 2 hour adventure without commercials.  Think about it.  Each show probably has a running time of like 20 minutes.  I bet they would come up with a kick ass idea for an entire movie.


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  1. Before I read the rest of your list I was going to suggest IASIP. The Christmas episode was a great example of what could be done if you give them a longer run time, and remove what little limits they have in regards to the content of their show (The Rankin-Bass Christmas cartoon segment was just AMAZING).

    I also agree that Dexter would not be a good choice for a movie. The episodes are all ready an hour long, and it takes 12 of those to flesh out a good story arc. It works better as a TV show IMO.

  2. I’m going to have to disagree with ‘Game Of Thrones’ and ‘The Walking Dead’ selections. Part of why they are so good is because as a TV series (and on a network that allows them to be a HEAVY R-Rated) allows them to flourish and develop over the span of 10 or 13 episodes. A movie (even a trilogy) would not do it justice. For Game of Thrones, they stated that they will keep making season as long as the author keeps writing. I imagine it will easily hit the 50 episode mark and a movie trilogy would only be 8 hours, max. The content is so vast and complicated that it is really not suited for a movie.

    As for ‘The Walking Dead’, if it was made a movie, it would be just another one of those dozens of generic zombie movies out there. The Walking Dead isn’t about the zombies, but about the people it affects, and being a TV series is the only way to allow them to develop those characters.

  3. Game of Thrones would not be improved by making it into a film.

    I’m currently reading the fifth book (the book named book 5 which is the sixth book printed) and so far I have actually read detail about one, maybe two actual battles. The rest is all derived from reports and rumours, he doesn’t actually give very much detail at all about these so making them into scenes would be a nightmare as there is no idea about the actual facts of these battles.

    Also, as the previous commentor, something like GoT needs a slow burn buildup not a single flashy item. It’s sort of the point that a number of things happen at once and a film couldn’t do this very well.

    If they will keep making the series as long as he keeps writing I think we are looking at the Neverending story…

  4. Boardwalk Empire even started off the first season with a sort of mini-movie, extended episode Scorcese directed. Fringe took that direction too but the first 3 episodes of that show really struggled to find its footing.

  5. @RBourn

    Actually, there is serious a concern that George R. R. Martin WON’T be able to write many more novels because of his health ( being over weight combined with his age); meaning he could really go at any time. I’m not joking about this!

  6. I disagree with pretty much everyone of these.
    I haven´t watched neither Terra Nova nor It´s always sunny…, but with both Game of thrones and Boardwalk Empire I think the same. Like some people said before, both of those shows really shine in the character and plot development, built throughout 10 or 13 episodes. There´s NO way they can compress that in 2:30-3 hours, and if they tried, they would cut the crap out of the stories, and we would have less than half of those character and plot development scenes. Because of that, the payoff would be a lot less dramatic and shocking. The same could be said about, for example, Breaking Bad. That wouldn´t work as a movie either.
    Regarding The Walking Dead. Well, when you say “Who wouldn´t like a zombie movie?”, I say: “ANOTHER zombie movie?, meh.”

  7. Now before I explain my thoughts, I’d like to bring up a point. There is a significant difference between giving a fully fledged drama like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones the opportunity to make a movie within the middle of its run and giving a small sitcom type show the chance to elevate its simple formula to the dizzying heights a film could provide, much more than what it would be normally willing to do. If you were to give The Walking Dead a movie it would no doubt be amazing and truly epic, but the truth is it already is. It would just end up showing something that could be shown anyway but just over a few episodes with a slightly higher budget. When you come down to it it’s already a grand tale that takes it time in making us invest in its characters, what could you possibly add to it that you couldn’t already within the series.

    But give the same opportunity to a ‘smaller’ programme and it has the possibility to give a story on a much grander scale that it normally would be able to provide. In the middle of their runs South Park and The Simpsons have both produced films where the crux of the story is much more epic than what would be expected from a typical episode. So I think even though the first impulse might be to say ‘Wow, imagine if Game of Thrones had an entire film’ I don’t think it would be the most logical choice for a film and instead the smaller programmes, and in most cases comedy programmes such as Always Sunny, would probably best gain from the big screen treatment.

    So anyway for me there’s pretty much two, maybe three, schools of thought in how this could be approached.

    It could be an extra expensive TV movie/long episode to send off a currently active series, e.g. at the time Stargate: Ark of Truth provided an excellent wrap up to a currently airing series. But it could also take the form of an expensive movie that ends up bringing some closure to a prematurely cancelled show, e.g. Serenity or the newly announced Arrested Development film.

    Or it could be a movie made in the middle of the run of a TV series, in which case it could take roughly three forms: A larger-than-life aside which doesn’t really affect the flow of the continuity of the series when it comes back on, e.g. The Simpsons Movie or South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. A movie that gives a greater back story to long standing or newly introduced characters, e.g. Battlestar Gallactica: Razor. Or it could be used as a device to bridge the gap between seasons and provide in-sight for what is to come, e.g. 24: Redemption.

    Also, if we were to expand the criteria of this postulation to any TV series current or cancelled, then there is another type of narrative that could be included. And that is to have a movie that looks back at the entire series and fills in plot holes and pieces of interest that were left out in the original run either due to story cohesion or lack of time/money to include them. As an example I would present the surprisingly brilliant Battlestar Gallactica: The Plan. In my opinion this TV film gave the most interesting characters of the entire series an opportunity to shine, I of course talk about the cylons and in particular the model 1’s (Brother Cavil and his ilk).

    So for the first option, if I were to choose a TV series to have a proper send off and to give it some final closure I would elect the following:

    South Park or The Simpsons. They both got films that took our characters and shook them up (with South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut doing a much better job in my opinion) but what I want is a solid fair well. We’ve lived with these characters so long it makes sense to give them more than just a half hour send off, and also more just a wacky adventure I want to feel we’ve come to the end of their stories and should leave their tales to the annals of time.

    And if we were to include giving a movie to a cancelled TV series I would select the following:

    My Name is Earl. In the movie it would begin with a montage of Earl completing lots of items on his list and Crabman on the search round the entire country for Earl Jr.’s real father. The film would be about Earl finally finishing his list, beginning a new more virtuous life and learning to be a true father to Dodge… but only after trying to right the wrong of the last item on his list, which would turn out funnily enough to be the hardest item on his list, which on top of everything would inevitably entwine with the missing father story, putting strain on everyone he holds dear. I really love My Name Is Earl and I think it’s a shame it never got the ending it deserved probably due to the audience it lost after a little bit of a rocky third season, so I would love for it to get its own movie.

    For the second option, if I were to choose a movie that would better enrich the back story of a side character or bridge the gap between seasons I would elect the following:

    Dexter. Now the point you made about making a movie about Dexter is fair enough. If a movie was made that more accurately detailed how Dexter researches his serial killers, pretends to be someone to ensnare them into his trap, slowly learns that they are indeed a killer and then puts them on his table, then yes it wouldn’t be that much different from a typical episode and would be a wasted journey. But that’s not the focus I would want it to be on, after all Dexter has his ‘kills of the week’ but that isn’t the most exciting thing about watching a season of Dexter. It’s all about the season arc and how it affects Dexter, it’s the Ice Truck Killers, the Lilas, the Miguel Prados, the Trinity Killers, the Jordan Chases, and the Armageddon killers that keep us hooked, and force Dexter to constantly evolve. What if we were to take an entire 2 hours to explore a new relationship in Dexter’s history? What if we were to have a TV movie that took place between seasons 5 and 6, between himself and another serial killer, this time trying to connect in another way than those we have already seen, perhaps again better coming to grips with his loss of Rita, more so than what Lumen was able to provide. For those who doubt this might work I would suggest watching the online animated Dexter Early Cuts videos, especially the one where he stumbles upon an admirer of his bloody work in his college days and considers whether its such a bad thing, drawn by the desire to not be alone and to be accepted. Now imagine if the show runners were given two hours to really give character to this premise, it could turn out really well.

    But that’s only one route. What if we were to go the Battlestar Gallactica: Razor route and give an entire back story to a newly introduced character or perhaps a character from a previous season? How amazing would it be to see how the Ice Truck Killer or the trinity Killer truly came to be? And how little events along the way pushed them to clutch harder at their own personal dark passengers, how they weren’t given the benefits that Dexter had.

    For the final option that I have created, if I were to choose a movie that would to take a look back at the entire series and be able to fill in plot holes and add pieces of interest then there’s no doubt in mind I would elect the following:

    Lost. There are so many niggling details in this series that have been left untouched that would greatly benefit from a tune up and a revisit. Who are the villagers Jacob ignored and The Man in Black joined? Who was their mother? How did she gain magic powers? Who built the statue? How was Jacob able to leave the island but not The Man in Black? Why did a young Jacob appear to The Man in Black? What happened to Ben as a kid? Why did he end up desiring Juliet? Who did he remind her of? Was it his childhood friend? How did his being willed back to life change him? What did Locke see when he saw the smoke monster? Why did the smoke monster not kill Eko the first time they met? Why was Walt so special? Why was Libby in a mental hospital? How did Christian appear in a hospital in LA and on the freighter when it was clear that the smoke monster couldn’t travel over water? Was it even the smoke monster when we saw Christian and if not who/what was it? And I’m pretty sure there are a thousand more questions.

    My point is there already is a small video where Ben turns up at a Dharma fuelling station and reveals a little information about the island and its inner workings. I imagine this was an attempt to provide fan service, all I’m asking for is a much better stab at it. Maybe finally it would be able to satiate my curiosity after an ending which didn’t really give any answers. An ending mind you that despite its lack of answers, I still dearly love. And that’s mostly due to the fact I loved the entire series and its characters, but I also loved the mystery, which is why I want a film.

    So those are my thoughts, but if I may I would like to suggest a future subject that I’m not sure to my knowledge has been covered before, and that is:

    Films that didn’t live up to their full potential that deserve to be given TV shows.

    We’ve all seen films been turned into TV programmes. Usually this happens when a wildly popular film comes out and Hollywood execs hope to capitalise on this fervour by producing a televised counterpart. Some are given half assed adaptations and turn out as cheesy bloated animated corpses that end up sullying the names of their great franchises, others are given amazing treatment and grow to become largely successful, perhaps more so than the original film, and only prove to add to the mythos and grandeur to what preceded it.

    But what about those films that had a good idea at the heart of them but for whatever reason didn’t so well, either at the box office or critically.

    One film I couldn’t wait to go see on the premise alone was: Daybreakers. The idea of vampires in a technological society that farms human beings, is in all honesty a very unique and original concept…which was sorely underused, and instead of bringing glory back to the vampire genre it came and went without so much as a whimper.

    What I’m suggesting is a look at this idea, most preferably starting the series at the beginning of the worldwide epidemic of vampirism. At first how would the world governments react? Would they at first try to harness the power? How would humans react when they first turn? Would they at first try to fight the urge of their newly found hunger? How would parents react to finding out their children are now vampires? Would they shun them or try to help them come to terms with their new identities (with obvious gay metaphors abound)?

    But then there’s also how everything in the new world order got set up. When did the first blood farm come into being? Were there non-vampire terrorist attacks on them? And then there’s also an entire world to think about. Never mind about one city in chaos about a lack of blood, what about the entire planet? Would we see vampire world wars all fighting for blood-rich countries (again with obvious Iraq-oil metaphors abound)? And what about religion? How would all of the world’s religions react to what could essentially be seen as another fall from grace created by man’s own folly? Or as a punishment by god? Would there be a mass denial of god now that everyone can live forever? Would new religions spring up? And what kind of acts could a deluded fundamentalist be persuaded into doing by these groups? How would gang culture develop? How would pop culture develop? Would we literally have vampires as our television/film idols? You know as opposed to sparkling fairies.

    Anyway, I think a television programme would be a wonderful way to address all of these questions and more, and I’m sure other films could benefit also from this treatment, and so I would love to present this question to you, Paul and to others.

    So NattyB, Paul or whomever else, could you please make this a follow up subject on Unreality to discuss?

  8. Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone write so much about so little. 2,200 words for this topic? You and your friends must have had this argument before, or you have written a paper about this, but did you really write that much in a comment on an unreality arrticle?

    Also, how full of yourself are you? That entire piece reads like someone who took an AP English class trying to sound as condescending as possible.

  9. i don’t know. I think Terra Nova would be better as a movie (because, the dinosaurs will get old) and maybe GoT (only because it could go all out like LOtR), but I think some of the other shows like Walking Dead and Boardwalk Empire are better as shows, because it goes so much farther than a movie. We already have a ton of zombie movies and TWD would just get lost as another one in the fad, but the fact that it can deal with the issues the characters go through and the aftermath of the outbreak is what makes it so great. It would work as a movie, but it wouldn’t be great.

    As for BE, I would watch it as a movie, but I don’t think it would gain anything from doing so. It already does wonders with its budget and the series format allows for more than what a movie could (which would probably just water down the first season). I also think it wouldn’t be as popular because it would be a period movie.

  10. Only people who haven’t read the Song of Ice and Fire series think Game of Thrones could be a movie. This is by far my favorite book series of all time, and I was terrified that they would try to make it into a movie (or even a movie series). I thought for years before they even talked about making it into a show that the only way they would be able to truly do the books justice was with an HBO series. Then they DID IT (nerd squeal), and it’s been amazing so far! There are just too many characters, and way too much story to make each book into a movie, since the books only get longer the further in the series you get. It would be a crying shame if they made it into a movie.

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