Sometimes, a great movie doesn’t guarantee a good TV show. In fact, movies that are adapted into a television series can be downright terrible. That’s what happened with these films, which had solid big screen debuts, but didn’t translate quite as well to the small screen. Below, check out 10 of the worst TV shows based on hit movies:
1. Uncle Buck
Uncle Buck was well-liked when it premiered in 1989. Its Metascore was 51, and while it received mixed reviews from critics, the overall consensus was that the movie was pretty funny, per Metacritic. The film was about a good-natured, laid-back bachelor, Buck, who is left in charge of his nephew and nieces. Unaccustomed to being in charge of anything, Buck slowly begins to charm the younger of the two, but finds he is running into trouble with his rebellious teenage niece, Tia. Slowly but surely, Buck proves he can be responsible in this light-hearted flick.
In 1990, CBS tried to turn the movie into a TV success, but it ended up being the exact opposite. It received a Metascore of 22, received terrible reviews from critics everywhere, and to the relief of many, was canceled after one season.
2. Dirty Dancing
Starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, Dirty Dancing, a film about a young girl vacationing with her parents in the Catskills who falls for the hotel’s dance instructor, received a Metascore of 65. “Taking a formula that is itself creaky of joint and infirm of body, Eleanor Bergstein, the writer, and Emile Ardolino, the director, have made an engaging pop-movie romance of somewhat more substance than one usually finds in summer movies designed for the young,” according to The New York Times review. Unfortunately, a TV show based on the movie didn’t mimic any of the film’s success. Dirty Dancing debuted on CBS in 1988, received a Metascore of 27, and was canceled after one short season. Critics described the TV show as being too simple and boring, and Patrick Cassidy and Melora Hardin weren’t able to pull off the characters quite like Swayze and Grey.
3. Gung Ho
The movie, which debuted in 1986, centered on a Japanese car company that bought an American plant, causing an American liaison to mediate the major culture clashes. It received mixed reviews from critics and had a Metascore of 48. Not great, but not terrible, either.
That changed when the TV show came on ABC in 1986. Lasting only one season and receiving a Metascore of 28, critics despised the unpopular spin-off. A Los Angeles Times review writes that, “[The] show is largely giftless, offering too many Chinese Charlie Chanisms (‘Welcome to our humble home’) as substitutes for comedy about Japanese.” The review also adds that, “You watch this half hour waiting for something to happen, but it never does. It needs less ‘gung’ and more ‘ho.’”
4. Down and Out in Beverly Hills
When Down and Out in Beverly Hills hit the big screen in 1986, it saw immense success. The film, about a rich and troubled family whose lives are changed when a vagrant tries to drown himself in their swimming pool, received a Metascore of 82. Critics sung the movie’s praises, describing it as funny and as a “loving caricature.”
Fox had high hopes for the TV show when it hit the air in 1987. But those hopes were quickly deflated. The TV show received a shockingly low Metascore rating of 28 and only lasted one season. The New York Times review wrote, “Down and Out in Beverly Hills doesn’t even give us Rodeo Drive. After the aerobics, it’s a very bland half-hour.”
Timecop is about an officer for a security agency who regulates time travel and must fend for his life against a shady politician who is connected to his past. Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, the movie received a Metascore of 48. Critics were torn when it came to the film. Some believed the movie was powerful, while others said the plot had some serious problems.
When Timecop hit the small screen in 1997, all critics agreed the show had more than just a few problems. Receiving a Metascore of 29, the show only lasted one season. According to a Los Angeles Times review, “Dueling time travelers is a nice idea, but it’s executed here without grace or a sense of mystery. The imagination and excitement of the time-travel concept are undermined by a spotty script that relies on the mundane.”
6. Nothing in Common
In Nothing in Common, Tom Hanks plays a successful advertiser who must juggle his demanding career in the midst of his parents’ divorce. The film hit theaters in 1986, receiving a Metascore of 62. Described as a funny drama that has a few surprises up its sleeve, many critics thought the film had a nice balance between lighthearted moments and serious twists.
When the TV series debuted on NBC in 1987, it had nothing in common with the film’s success. It received a Metascore of 29, lasted only one season, and irritated film critics everywhere. The Chicago Tribune called the script tedious, while The Washington Post questioned how NBC planned to rise to the top with failures like Nothing in Common, per Metacritic.
7. Look Who’s Talking & Baby Talk
Kirstie Alley and John Travolta star in Look Who’s Talking, a film about a single working mother who’s determined to find the perfect father for her child. Her baby, Mikey, is partial to James, a cab driver, but his mom won’t even consider the cab driver-turned-babysitter. Luckily, Mikey has a few tricks up his sleeve. Premiering in 1989, the film received a Metascore of 51 and was described by critics as entertaining and charming.
In 1991, Baby Talk appeared on ABC, starring Tony Danza, George Clooney, and Julia Duffy. Sounds like the makings of a TV success, right? However, the show missed the mark by a lot, receiving a Metascore of 32. It somehow hung on for two seasons, but critics were not impressed. A Chicago Tribune review stated, “So far, the baby’s talk is a mix of limp and cheap material. The surrounding chatter from adults isn’t much better.”
A movie about an alien who takes the form of a young widow’s husband and asks her to drive him from Wisconsin to Arizona, the film received a 71 after hitting the big screen in 1984. A TV Guide review commented on how pleasant the movie was to watch. “Starman is a wonderful film that combines science fiction, road movies, and romance into an engaging, very entertaining whole,” the review stated.
Fast-forward to 1986 when the movie was turned into an ABC show, and critics were not singing its praises. Described as confusing, a drag, and not in any way similar to the movie, the show quickly came to an end, lasting only one season.
Based on the 1976 film The Omen, Damien stars Bradley James as Damien Thorn, a 30-year-old war photographer who has forgotten his Satanic past and is forced to confront his true identity. Ann Rutledge (Barbara Hershey), who has protected Damien all his life, will help him embrace his Antichrist side. The show was initially picked up to series by Lifetime in 2014, but was then moved to A&E in 2015.
Following its debut in 2016, the show earned widely negative reviews, with critics calling the show in desperate need of more scares and stronger writing. Following the poor reception and low ratings, A&E ended up canceling the series after one season.
10. Rush Hour
Based on the popular film franchise of the same name, the CBS series follows Detective Carter (Justin Hires), a radical LAPD detective, and Detective Lee (Jon Foo), a by-the-book detective from Hong Kong, as they are forced into forming an unlikely partnership. While the premise is the same as that in the original movies, the show ultimately fails to live up to its blockbuster namesake, due to a notable lack of chemistry between stars and a reliance on hackneyed gags.
After earning negative reviews in its 2016 debut, CBS canceled Rush Hour after just a few episodes.
Additional reporting by Michelle Regalado
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