“Land of the Lost,” which hits theaters Friday, marks the latest in a long line of TV retreads to make the small screen to big screen leap, which, as Will Ferrell might tell you, can be akin to plunging into a frightening other world.
For every success – “The Simpson’s Movie,” “The Fugitive” and the latest “Star Trek” flick, to name a few – there are many more cringe-inducing failures, like “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “The Dukes of Hazzard” and “Bewitched” (sorry, Will).
Despite the odds, Hollywood keeps churning out the TV show-based movies, hoping familiarity and curiosity will be enough to draw audiences, often at the expense of quality and coherence.
Producers Sid and Marty Krofft, who gave us the “Land of the Lost” TV show, recently told The New York Times they’re hoping to see more movies emerge from their stable of surreal 1970s children’s programs, including “H. R. Pufnstuf” (this is bad news for those of us still having nightmares about Witchiepoo).
A script has been completed for a movie based on the SNL “MacGruber” skit – a spoof of the “MacGyver” TV series, which also reportedly is in development for a big-screen berth. Sasha Baron Cohen is hoping that "Bruno," which comes out next month, will make a hugely successful "Borat"-like transition to the multiplexes – unlike, say, 2002’s “Ali G Indahouse.”
So we'll put it to you, moviegoers: Which TV shows would like to see made into films and which should never see the inside of a theater? Use the comments section below to weigh in.
Be warned: Your answers could be swiped and used as fodder at a pitch meeting in Hollywood, where original ideas seem to be as scarce as good movies based on TV shows.
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992.