Don’t lose hope just because no movie studio has picked up the rights to your seven-part political-military saga about a species of space colonizing cats; it could turn out to be the perfect idea for a new TV series. And with shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead amassing some of biggest fan followings in media, television is currently the hottest platform in show business.
All the shows listed below started out as rejected movie projects that eventually found a fitting home on the small screen. From an abandoned Scream sequel to an old Michael Crichton story that sat on the shelf for nearly two decades, here are eight TV shows that had a cinematic premise.
8. Mr. Robot
Mr. Robot is a smart and polished cybercrime thriller featuring an embittered and paranoid hacker who meets a mysterious cyber-vigilante who wants to utilize his skills to start a revolution by taking down a powerful mega corporation. But showrunner Sam Esmail’s first vision of Mr.Robot was as a feature film. In an interview with Fastcocreate, he says “I was writing it as a feature, but I think around page 90 I realized I wasn’t even halfway through the first act, and that’s when I knew this really couldn’t be a feature.” Esmail then revised the screenplay and made it into what became the pilot episode of Mr. Robot.
In television, new shows typically start out with a solid premise but don’t have any real over-arching story or conclusion in mind, which can often lead to a show becoming dry and repetitive in its later stages. The good news is that, according to Esmail, since Mr. Robot was originally intended to be a movie, he already has a comprehensive story in mind and he knows exactly where it’s headed.