This list warrants a discussion. Gather round with your closest co-workers, classmates, friends or family and let us address the world of television, and how some shows could easily jump from the small to the big screen, like LeBron James from high school to the NBA. There is animation on this list. There is situation comedy on this list. There is drama, science fiction, and horror. We’re not messing around. We’re aware this list could be 50 shows long, so feel free to sound off in the comments. The angriest “How could you leave out _____ !?” comment wins 50 gold stars!
10. 30 Rock
We know Tina Fey can bring the situation comedy goods to the big screen. She has done it multiple times to box office success. With Tracy Morgan working back toward a clean bill of health, it would be grand to see the gang together again for a one hour and forty-five minute’ish narrative feature. The possibilities are limitless. The only foreseeable issue might be cast salaries, because the show attracted A-listers like an opportunity to try working with Terrence Malick. Still, it’s not hard to imagine Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer, Jane Krakowski and the others mixing it up. Tina would be afforded the luxury to have an A, B and C story if she wanted to toss a little twist into the mix, or push the envelope.
Archer is one of the most binge worthy shows on television. Although it’s been around since 2010, there are still many who are just coming to know Archer and his band of merry women. In the realm of inappropriate comedy of errors steeped in an action-adventure animation niche, Archer reigns supreme! What do we imagine a feature film version of Archer would look like? It would most certainly need to be animated (All the chatter about a live-action Archer is nothing more than wishful thinking. It would kill the illusion, and water down the comedy.) Other than that, imagine the brass of James Bond with the raunchy, obtuse comedy we’ve come to love from Adam Reed. The Archer cast cannot be complimented enough for the stellar work they’ve offered the series since season one.
8. Pole Position
Pole Position was a 1980s anime-style American cartoon that cracked the code, and landed itself in the Saturday morning lineup on American televisions via CBS. It ran for what amounted to a 14 episode season. Looking back, the male lead, Dan Darrett, is basically an animated version of Owen Wilson. Doesn’t that automatically green light any project? The show was produced by NAMCO. The very same entity that brought Pole Position to kids in 1980s arcades. The show hoped to play off the popularity of the game, but it was too juvenile for the game’s biggest fans. Still, there’s something interesting about a crime solving brother and sister who have lost their parents, and thus inherit the title of Team Pole Position, as well as raise their younger sister, and teach her the Pole Position ways.
7. Quantum Leap
Quantum Leap was arguably one of the greatest science fiction/fantasy shows in television history. It ran from 1989-1993 and featured Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett, a scientist who was determined to prove that time travel could be accomplished. At the expense of his own narrative existence, and in an effort to save funding for his research, he proves his theories to be scientific fact. Sam’s journey suddenly takes a spiritual twist, as he leaps into the bodies of living individuals throughout time, all in need of help, or needing to offer help. The series is available on Netflix, but we’re thinking a feature film version would play nicely in 2016. Quantum physics, mechanics and understanding has progressed tremendously within the last 25 years, and writers could build an impressive launching pad for quite an adventure through space time, while leaving the fantastic elements in place.
6. Sons of Anarchy
Sons of Anarchy. A show about a motorcycle gang that became a runaway hit, and one that was responsible for changing the landscape of motorcycle production. It ran from 2008-2014, and in 2009, when producers saw they were part of a formidable television force, they began to partner with Bartels’ Harley-Davidson in Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles, to trick out the Sons of Anarchy bikes. In 2010, some of the Harley-Davidson production models began echoing the growing popularity of the show. From Sportsters to the Dyna models, people could leave the show room looking like they drove off the set of their favorite TV show. As a producer, when you change culture, you’ve created an icon. From the get-go, Sons of Anarchy seemed like it would need a feature film version at some point, while honoring the history endured on the show. Maybe in another 10 years.
5. My So-Called Life
We’ll go from edgy and hard to edgy with a soft, gooey center. My So-Called Life was one of the greatest television dramas to ever grace network TV. The show only got one season, despite its critical success, and after its cancellation in early 1995, fans revolted, pre-internet. (It existed, but it was hardly functional.) The revolt was so strong, producers tried to reignite the flames, but Claire Danes had moved on to movie projects. No Claire = No show. The show possessed an appeal similar to The Wonder Years, except My So-Called Life was set in the present day and starred teenagers who were really living the sullen 1990s Generation X and Y experience. So, how does this movie work? A little hint: Angela Chase in the present day.
4. American Horror Story
Every season of American Horror Story would work as a feature film. We wonder if Ryan Murphy considered which way to go with the concept when pushing it toward an eventual production. Even now, Ryan could pen a screenplay based on his American Horror Story series and push it into production. We’re sure it would be a hit. Somehow, he’s able to get fresher horror ideas onto the small screen than studios are able to get onto the big screen. The horror movie genre is dead tired. Pun intended. It might be fun to see a feature film that served up two stories, and one element, be it character, or in this case, an entity, that served as a through-line for both stories. A feature version might also draw some top-tier talent, which would be fun and fresh for a film in this genre.
Alias fans have been calling for more Sydney Bristow since the show ended after five seasons. Now that it has been ten years, why not pick up where the series ended? The tease of a future Sydney Bristow, married to Michael Vaughn, cultivating a blossoming young family…? All the elements are there. The greatest thing about the ten year window since the final episode aired in May of 2006? The influence of J.J. Abrams in the world of entertainment. All he’d have to do is snap his fingers to make it happen. We imagine J.J.’s full plate, and know that it might take someone with a proactive mind and hands to write a script, secure a meeting with the man and pitch him, but the potential is so clearly there and we won’t deny it. And of all times to do it, now is it.
2. The Walking Dead
Opening the bin labeled “Obvious,” let’s discuss the merits of The Walking Dead movie. It’s not difficult to love the show, though it has a tendency to be laborious. It is drawn out and milks episodes for more detail than is necessary. We’re getting a steady influx of new characters, which is great, but was this a comic series that would have been done better as a film series? When Frank Darabont—coming from a film background—was the head man on The Walking Dead, the show carried with it more promise than any zombie production before it. When Frank was canned, the tonality of the overall production changed. Stylistically, it has remained relatively consistent throughout, but seeing a two-plus hour movie of the story/stories with a more finite character focus would really serve The Walking Dead legacy well.
Thunder. Thunder! Thunder! ThunderCats!! Ho! Live-action, animated—whatever—just give us ThunderCats the movie. And no, not based on that weak 2011 animated revival. We’re talking the 1985 animated series. There have been many rumors of this project, including a Michael Bay-directed live-action flick that would be produced in 2016 (don’t hold your breath). There have been rumors of cast members: James McAvoy, Vin Diesel, Hugh Jackman, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne—the list goes on. Articles have been written about the project moving forward, and how some of these guys are attached, but we’re here to tell ya: this project isn’t a production priority at present. It’s amazing that such a marketable film hasn’t been milked for its millions by some Hollywood studio. So, we’re left to hope—and hope when it happens, Mumm-Ra won’t be CG.