Deadwood, Arrested Development, Friday Night Lights, Party Down, Entourage, and now Breaking Bad. These television shows all have something in common in that they were all excellent. Deadwood, Arrested, Party Down, and Friday Night Lights never caught on like they should have however, and ended far earlier as a result. At least FNL and Entourage got to actually finish, which is nice, and Breaking Bad knew ahead of time what it’s end date would be, so we should get closure.
This begs my question: Why would anyone want to see a movie of any of these television shows?
Deadwood: The show ended in 2006 unceremoniously, and Timothy Olyphant has gone on to massive success in Justified, as well as all the other cast members finding plenty of work. If it was going to happen, it doesn’t seem like anyone cares anymore.
Arrested Development: This is a movie that is happening, but I really can’t understand why. It has been 7 years since a new AD episode and countless other projects. While I know they are prepping a Netflix-only final season to follow only family member for each episode and then transition to a film. All I can think is that seems like a lot of work. You want to do another season? Fine, but I can’t imagine that a film will tie up all of the loose ends of the series better than the next season will. Synthesizing such a dense comedy into 90 mins just seems like an exercise in futility. I’m not saying I don’t want more AD, I just think the series would probably be enough.
Friday Night Lights: As recently as last month, talks were still swirling about a return to Dillon, Texas for a Friday Night Lights film. It just doesn’t make sense to me. The show, while it never had the audience it should, was uniquely able to finish on it’s own terms with a finale that I still use for when I need to just get some feelin’s out. I want to just assume that everyone is doing ok and everything worked out. I don’t think we need to see anything more. It was already a tv show adapted from a film adapted from a book. We don’t need to adapt the show to a movie. Plus if no one watched it when it was on, what makes you think anyone will show up now? It’s not like AD where most of it’s audience came after the fact. Very few people give a shit about FNL. Just leave it.
Party Down: I can bet you $1000 bucks easy that NO ONE watched this anywhere other than Netflix. It’s a great show, but again, there is nothing really about it that demands the big screen. If anything this show is proof that people need to really think about the legitimacy of just releasing whole seasons of shows online via Netflix or Hulu etc. I can’t tell you how many shows I’ve found this way. And you probably have significantly lower costs with this distribution method. No movie needed though.
Entourage: Once very popular show, it became a caricature of itself in the end. The fact that they even had the balls to end the SERIES on a cliffhanger was insulting. You can’t force people to go down with the creatively sinking shit ship and THEN tell us to shell out our own money to see a film of it.
Breaking Bad: I don’t want this to ever be a movie ever. Because it will mean that Walter White is still alive or enough characters to deem a movie appropriate. I hope when Bryan Cranston mentioned that over the weekend that a film is a very real possibility. I hope that it was pure conjecture because Breaking Bad has been so tightly paced and thought out that a film makes me nervous
TV works because you can grow really close connections to characters and how they operate over a long period of time, but you don’t get that luxury with film. Maybe that is why so many shows seem rumored for film treatment. Because they assume we are already familiar with the cast and motivations that they don’t have to waste time with lots of exposition? I don’t know one way or the other, but I do know that I’d like my tv to stay tv, and my films to stay films (just work harder).
Deadwood: I never finished watching the show, but heard it was cancelled too soon, so I’d totally be up for a movie, which would also give me an excuse to rewatch it.
Arrested Development: As much as I want more AD, let’s not forget that the series had a pretty perfect ending. I’m terrified they won’t be able to get the magic back.
Friday Night Lights: Never saw it, but there was already a FNL movie…
Party Down: Like AD, the ending was perfect, but the cast is so strong, that I wouldn’t mind a revisit. Although I think this was the best reunion possible: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pB6J6965WU4 (Starts at 10:40)
Breaking Bad: Please no, the show should have a definitive end.
Don’t forget about Firefly as an example of a show with a great spinoff movie, and XFiles that managed to make a good movie while the show was still on.