James Canellos ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
As television continues to expand to numerous alternative outlets, it’s also gone through a renaissance of being taken more seriously. TV is becoming more cinematic and taking advantage of the kind of character developments that films just can’t cover in a two hour period. This generation of television creators are indie filmmakers who are getting the creative freedom they crave. They’re giving television an atmospheric approach, leaving networks to try and compete with this new content. The solution: reverting to popular pre-existing material. Since the network shows can’t compete with the kind of diverse content on outlets like Netflix, HULU and Amazon, they are desperate to attract more viewers to new programs that they’ll immediately be intrigued by. With over 28 news series either in development or premiering this past year on television, now seems like the perfect time to add a few suggestions to that growing list.
1. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
Imagine: The vast, diverse and fleshed out cast is reminiscent of the crew from Orange is the New Black or Oz with the kind of dark humor of a Coen Brothers film.
Why?: Like superhero programs, a lot of recent shows are also being based off of popular novels. Ken Kesey’s novel still holds up to this day and could be used as a smart and character driven dramedy about our correction facilities, abuse of limited power and what truly makes someone crazy. It would be interesting to see it taking place in its original time period, yet it could easily be altered to the modern day. Their biggest issue would be casting, obviously Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher are big acts to follow. If casted correctly, preferably seasoned actors who have theater experience they could become juggernauts at the Emmys. With the cruelty and injustice going on between authority and citizens today, it’s sadly as relevant as ever.
Imagine: The amazing action sequences of Arrow fused with the smart ass language and situations of The Inbetweeners.
Why?: Gotham, Arrow, Daredevil, The Flash, Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and that’s not including the shows that are in development. Comic book adaptations are not just for movies once again. The trend is growing rapidly and it’s only a matter of time before a comedic one is made, so why not take an already vastly popular comic book and cult film and mold it into a series? FX is a network that clearly takes enough risks while maintaining a certain shock factor. Case in point, American Horror Story or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Hit-Girl would easily be a scene stealer and although Kick-Ass 2 couldn’t measure up it did prove that they’ll have plenty of material to work with for future seasons.
3. The Wolf of Wall Street
Imagine: The insane hijinks of the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia plus the money laundering on The Sopranos.
Why?: Everyone loves a charismatic anti-hero. On television they’ve been thriving. Jordan Belfort is one of the most entertaining anti-heroes to come along in modern film. While The Wolf of Wall Street was one of the fastest paced biographies shown, especially considering it’s run time, it should be modified for television. Since everyone knows Belfort’s story, it would be a good idea to keep the same type of colorful characters who would exist in their money consumed world while changing the outcome of the journey. This will also be a better opportunity for them to expand on the female characters in this world, who practically had no participation in the film version. These are larger then life characters who would turn in Emmy worthy performances given the right cast, the big question is would this qualify as a drama or comedy?
Imagine: Seth MacFarlane decides to dominate more of television and creates an animated series to his 2012 hit Ted.
Why?: It’s still one of the biggest comedies of all time first off. Second, you can argue that everything from the music to the cinematography to the style of humor felt like a very long extended episode of Family Guy or American Dad!. Like most of MacFarlane’s other shows it has a talking animal, crude humor and he’s featured as a voice actor. It would have the same cartoon style like his previous works and can be fused easily into the same universe as MacFarlane’s other programs. Also, Ted is highly marketable and quotable. The situations between Ted and his childhood friend John could easily turn into a weekly sitcom, plus MacFarlane must have Mila Kunis on speed dial to reprise her role as Lori. Thunder buddies everywhere would rejoice.
Imagine: The craziness of growing up and viewing new characters like the show Skins with the philosophical aspects of the Seven Up! documentaries.
Why?: Whether you loved Richard Linklater’s poetic journey to adulthood or thought it was a boring look at the young man who seem disinterested after he hit puberty, there’s no denying the idea of filming the same people for twelve years. Although, it was interesting to see Mason develop into a man, why should we only get to see a boy from Texas growing up? That is why an anthology series that follows different children over a few years in their lives would be such a fascinating idea. Everyone has a vastly different way of growing up and they should all have the chance to be shared with the world. This adaptation would play like an anthology series, each episode in one season follows a child from ages 6-18 and see the world through their perspective. This would also be a great opportunity to address different issues that each child is going through that might just pertain to their specific country. Call it a gimmick if you must but there is no denying the impact this show could have.
6. The Royal Tenenbaums
Imagine: The smartly written large family dynamic of Parenthood fused with the zany lives and colorful characters that one would find in Parks and Recreations.
Why?: Since the creation of one of Wes Anderson’s most popular films his popularity with mainstream audiences has only gone up and shows no sign of slowing down. Out of all his films, The Royal Tenenbaums would be the best choice to make into a television series, with it’s dark yet cartoon like humor and memorable cast this could be a binge worthy edition to this list. Just think of someone like Alec Baldwin (the original film’s narrator) playing the role of Royal. He has the charisma and television credibility to take this role to new heights and even explore more of the patriarch’s vast history of success and failures. Starting the show while the Tenenbaum siblings are in their teens would give the series enough freedom to test out new stories in their lives while hinting at where these characters are headed.
7. John Wick
Imagine: The vengeance obsessed drive from The Fugitive with the art-house cinematography of Drive.
Why?: There hasn’t been an action film like John Wick in some time. Something that not only feels as generic as most shoot-em up films, but also pokes fun at them simultaneously. John Wick might appear to be your typical NCIS like drama that comes on every night. However, with a smart writing team going from the perspective of Wick’s world it could be interesting. Wick is an extremely respected hitman and throughout the film it’s only teased at what his professional world is like. The hotel he stays at is worthy of a spin-off alone. If the show can maintain the same good sense of humor that made the film such a surprise delight and with the right marketing ability of CBS, a John Wick TV show could be a commercial hit and also have the right amount of artistic flair.
8. Super Troopers
Network: Comedy Central
Imagine: Picture the shenanigans of the Gallagher family on Shameless with the lazy college boy humor of Workaholics.
Why?: Comedy Central has been on a roll lately with it’s roster of comedies. Key & Peele, Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City to name a few. An adaptation of 2001’s silly cult comedy could be a great edition to that line up. It has the right level of raunch and if played correctly could follow the footsteps of the previously mentioned programs and become a great political satire. There’s also been rumors that the Broken Lizard comedy troupe has shown interest in making a sequel to their film. A television spinoff could prove to be a good alternative idea. Out of all the ideas on this list a Super Troopers series has the best chance of rounding up the original gang for its TV adaptation. If this were to be the case there would be no need to worry about the chemistry or the comedic timing.
9. Mean Girls
Imagine: The whip smart comedy of 30 Rock with the the ridiculousness of growing up featured on Even Stevens.
Why?: This is probably the most predictable edition on this list. But there’s no denying how influential Tina Fey’s now iconic film has played out over the past decade. This would probably one of the trickiest adaptations to pull off, mostly because of its super loyal fan base. However, if Fey agreed to be the head writer and maybe even reprised her role, this series could bring Mean Girls to the next generation of teenage boys and girls. Also the network home would be difficult to pin-point, MTV’s latest programs have lately gone completely overboard in either making their shows too melodramatic or too raunchy. ABC Family wouldn’t have the right amount of edge. If NBC gives Fey the same freedom and confidence they gave her when she worked on Saturday Night Live or 30 Rock they could have a solid hit.
10. The Lost Boys
Imagine: PG-13 rated version of True Blood with the attitude of the vampire next door film Fright Night.
Why?: Supernatural television programs still have a way with viewers. It might not be as powerful as a vampires hypnosis, but it’s strong enough to keep shows like Supernatural, Grimm and Teen Wolf afloat for so long. Audiences are never thirsty for copycats, so this original 1987 gem could really stretch it’s wings and stand out with it’s amateur vampire hunter storyline. Despite the popularity of the film, there aren’t many Van Helsing like programs on television currently. Despite some underwhelming straight to video sequels, a TV show could really go a long way.