4 Great Movies That Became Bad TV Shows

Turning a movie into a TV show is similar to rebooting a show that went off the air — both new productions benefit from familiarity. It seems like a safe bet for a studio to rely on a “name” with an already developed fan following. Yet, getting viewers to tune in for the pilot then becomes the easy part, and living up to the predecessor becomes the challenge. And, some shows based on movies have failed to rise to the occasion. 

Denzel Washington And Ethan Hawke In 'Training Day'
Denzel Washington talks to Ethan Hawke in a scene from the film ‘Training Day’, 2001 | Warner Brothers/Getty Images

1. ‘Training Day’ 

The TV show Training Day ran for one season — the pilot aired on February 2, 2017, and the last episode aired on May 20 of the same year. The show premiered 15 years after the Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke-led film of the same name. 

RELATED: Denzel Washington Married the Co-Star of His Very First Acting Job

When it came to the movie, Washington’s charismatic, ferocious, and unpredictable take on Detective Alonzo Harris compensated for the film’s subpar plot and abrupt tonal shifts. As for the show, it failed to live up to the movie, and become just another tired police procedural — with a narrative that was not built to be stretched out over multiple episodes. The story is not why viewers watched the movie; thus, the show started from a weak foundation.

2. 1988’s ‘Dirty Dancing’

Word to the wise: there is no recreating the magic of Dirty Dancing without Patrick Swayze. Both the 1988 series and the movie Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights were utter disasters, but for the sake of staying on topic, let’s focus on the 1988 show. 

The series stayed too close to the original film. It failed to make an impact of its own, and remains a largely unforgettable attempt by CBS to snag some easy numbers following the movie’s unpredicted success.

3. ‘Ferris Bueller’

The TV show Ferris Bueller —  based on the hit 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — ran for one season before facing cancellation. The show was not only compared to the ‘80s film but also a similar sitcom that was on the air at the same time — Parker Lewis Can’t Lose — and it was deemed worse than both its predecessor and its contemporary. 

The series starred Charlie Schlatter in the title role and Jennifer Aniston in a supporting role (four years before Friends premiered). The series had a decent start, but trying to stretch out the story and keep the humor fresh and relevant proved futile; thus, audiences abandoned the series and critics condemned the show as more episodes came out. 

4. ‘Minority Report’

The 2016 sci-fi series Minority Report, based on the 2002 Tom Cruise-led film of the same name, was ridiculed for lacking in both the action and sci-fi department. It was deemed unimaginative and dull, and it faced cancellation after one season. 

The film was groundbreaking for its time; the high-level graphics, intriguing world-building, and stimulating narrative made for a movie that felt simultaneously futuristic and relatable. Unfortunately, the show failed to level up the idea in any way.