Fargo, The Exorcist, and Lethal Weapon. What do these three have in common? Well besides being certified classic movie hits, the three properties have also been successfully adapted into acclaimed and high rated shows. Networks and showrunners have taken their love for the original films and expanded and molded them to fit into the new Golden Age of Television that we are living in. With that in mind, here are what I believe are five classic movies that could be reborn on the small screen.
The Monster Squad
Stranger Things was without a doubt on of this year’s biggest pop-culture phenomena. It really did grab audiences from every spectrum. The 80s classic The Monster Squad could do the same. Just think about it, Shane Black’s and Fred Decker’s script already has the same seeds; plucky teens and pre-teens fighting monsters. But in Squad’s case, it’s not just one creature, but multiple ones, inspired by all the classics. We have Dracula, a werewolf, a mummy, a sea creature, and Frankenstein’s monster. A TV show could expand the storyline and have the kids fighting even more things that go bump in the night. Dracula could serve as the “Big Bad” working from the shadows and summoning monsters as the kids fight new threats every episode, building to a true apocalyptic battle. New characters like a Van Helsing descendant could be added. It could be a Buffy The Vampire Slayer style comedy AND drama, where the stakes (ha ha) are very real. An 8-10 episode arc on a streaming service like Netflix would be perfect for this.
Everyone knows the Police Academy series, there was even a cartoon and action figure line. The set-up is classic; loveable underdogs and screwballs trying to make it through together. Imagine if a network like HBO took this property and handed to someone like Jody Hill (Eastbound & Down). Not only could the “T&A” humor remain intact, but with its multitude of characters, you could have a true ensemble comedy cast and various storylines. Hell, bring back Steve Guttenberg as Mahoney, who could now be tasked with running and saving his beloved academy with a new group of lovable losers. And you gotta keep the classic “Blue Oyster” scene. You have no Police Academy without it.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Okay, this one might rub some folks the wrong way, but my idea is more of a prequel than a re-do. In the original beloved Who Framed Roger Rabbit? , Detective Valiant is washed up and only then returning to working with ‘Toons after an ill-fated case left his brother dead and his agency ruined. In the movie, many comments are made regarding Valiant and his brother solving and saving ‘Toons in various previous cases. There is your show right there! Re-cast Eddie Valiant and his brother as young, fresh from the police force P.I.’s. With special effects being light years ahead now, Toontown could be recreated easily. Plus you could also do a slow burn telling of Judge Doom’s origin, the character, and case, that led to the original movie. Based on the timeline, you could also have animated characters from Disney and Warner Bros. Really the possibilities on this one are endless and it seems like a no-brainer.
“Warriors come out and play” is an iconic phrase and the movie itself is a touchstone as well. Walter Hill’s gritty 70s set The Warriors created an intricate and original world filled with fascinating roving gangs in a very surreal New York City. But he only gave us a glimpse, as the demands of the movie structure allowed viewers to spend very little time with each new group The Warriors encounter. Imagine if you could build on that, give the other gangs, like the Baseball Furies (the best gang in the movie, in my opinion), a chance to have more scenes and their own story. You could also learn more about The Warriors individually, or maybe even give the magnetic and enigmatic Cyrus, (who get’s killed in the film’s opening scene and sets off the plot) a much richer back story and larger role. Come on, “Can you dig it?!”
Aptly named, The Hidden is a forgotten classic action/sci-fi movie. Falling within the realm and genre of films like The Terminator and Robocop, it was a high-octane movie with a relentless pace. But it’s story about two warring and alien parasites who inhabit human bodies (one a cop, the other a criminal) created a very cool mythology. Again, a longer format would allow you to expand on that. In the film, the evil parasite hops from body to body, so you would be able to cast different actors in essentially the same role. And as for the alien cop, well everyone loves a fish out of water story and watching this visitor assimilate and try to understand a new world he must also save makes for great dramatics. And of course, you gotta keep the original’s action set pieces, as the alien parasites give their hosts greater strength and endurance. Just imagine the amazing shoot-outs and fights. It would be an instant hit on something like the SyFy channel.
So there you have it folks, all these would be binge-worthy and DVR must record shows. They could all run for at least a couple of seasons and give the original concepts a new life for a new generation. Purists would still have the original movies, and the new format would make them different enough for even them to enjoy. What other movies would you add to the list?