TV shows have been known to give us some pretty awful movies (‘Bewitched’ anyone?), but movies can give people some pretty terrible ideas for TV shows as well. It’s a sometimes horrifying give and take relationship that’s resulted in some of the worst TV in the history of pop culture. We take a look a the ten worst TV shows based on movies so you don’t have to.
In 2006, seeking to bank off the Marvel property and profitable film franchise starring Wesley Snipes, Spike launched 'Blade: The Series,' starring Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones (yes, really) in the title role. The series followed Krista, a woman whose brother was murdered by vampires. Once she's turned into a vampire as well, Krista teams with Blade for revenge.
David S. Goyer, who wrote the 'Blade' films — but who is also responsible for that pile of garbage known as 'The Unborn' — returned to pen the series, which was originally set to air on Showtime with Wesley Snipes reprising his lead role.
For all the good intentions involved, it's a shame that the series turned out as poorly as it did — terrible acting, horrendous special effects, a misdirected reliance on corny techno music, and a thorough sprinkling of campy melodrama resulted in this mess.
Based on John Hughes' 80's classic 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off,' 'Ferris Bueller' debuted on ABC in 1990 and was cancelled within its first season — quite an accomplishment.
'Ferris Bueller' misses the mark completely, with an ineptly cast Charlie Schlatter in the lead role and a young Jennifer Aniston as his sister, Jeannie. The clip above is from the first episode, featuring a monologue from Ferris and hysterically awful opening credits. The show relied too heavily on breaking the fourth wall, and poorly tried to skirt the existence of the film by having Ferris acknowledge that the film was based on his life before demolishing a Matthew Broderick cardboard cutout.
This version of Ferris is more early 90s dude-ish, with frosted hair and a prep aesthetic that would make Zack Morris feel under-dressed.
'Mortal Kombat: Konquest'
From 1998 to 1999, TNT ran 'Mortal Kombat: Konquest,' based on the video game franchise and starring future Terminatrix Kristanna Loken. Previously adapted into two films in the 90s, this show is an exception in that its source material isn't particularly great to begin with.
If we're going on the link between the films and the TV series, neither are technically any good, so the show does fine work of echoing the tone and aesthetic of the films, which in turn gave us a pretty straightforward adaptation of the games with a little interjected melodrama for narrative structure. Sure, the games are fun in the nostalgic sense, but they aren't particularly revolutionary aside from their progressive use of blood.
The show apes the games which had been so faithfully adapted before to poor effect that the end result — regardless of where it originates and who is responsible — has never and will never be good.
'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures'
The 90s are probably responsible for some of the best worst television ever; embarrassingly misguided attempts at recreating movie magic that led to things like this — the short-lived 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures,' which aired seven episodes on Fox in 1992.
In it, Bill and Ted used their time travel phone booth to solve present day conflicts by traveling to the past. It's not outright terrible, but the redundancy and banality of it all (thanks in part to the two leads) is enough for this show to make the list.
The 'Tremors' film franchise cultivated a following thanks to endless late night airings on USA in the 90s, so a TV series was sort of inevitable. In 2003, the SyFy channel (still known then as Sci Fi) ran the thirteen episode season, which was never renewed.
With only Michael Gross reprising his role from the original cast, the show also starred 'Breaking Bad''s Dean Norris. But more shocking than the mere existence of this show is that Christopher Lloyd had a recurring role. Yes, that Christopher Lloyd. More hellish than the show itself was the network's decision to air the episodes out of order, eliciting several re-edits and re-shoots to make the series coherent.
John Hughes films were ripe for TV adaptations, from the aforementioned failure of 'Ferris Bueller' to the more successful 'Weird Science' series (which lasted a whopping five seasons). In the film version of 'Uncle Buck' John Candy plays the titular Buck, an unemployed gambler tasked with watching his brother's three children.
In the TV version, which aired for one season in 1990, Buck's brother and his wife have died, leaving him to care for the children permanently. Buck is played on the show by Kevin Meaney, a horrible John Candy imitation. In all fairness, no John Candy imitation could ever suffice. The film was your typical funny, heart-warming John Hughes faire, but the show was filled with base-level, lazy situational humor.
'The Crow: Stairway to Heaven'
A Canadian production that ran for one season in 1998, 'The Crow: Stairway to Heaven' was based on the comic book series and starred Mark Dacascos, whom most of you might recognize as the host of 'Iron Chef America' on the Food Network.
The series is the same story as the Alex Proyas film from 1994, with Eric Draven returning from the dead to avenge the murder of his fiancee Shelly. Dacascos plays the Draven role made famous by Brandon Lee, but like the 'Mortal Kombat' show this show suffers from already ridiculous source material. How did anyone ever take 'The Crow' seriously? He's one stick of eyeliner away from a Hot Topic manager position.
Sure, the film is based on a true story about a former Marine and teacher who shapes the lives of a group of inner-city school kids with her no-nonsense approach and non-traditional style of teaching. The TV series is the same regurgitated formula, replacing Michelle Pfeiffer with Annie Potts as the white lady that rescues all the minority kids from themselves and their less than fortunate (read: less than white) circumstances.
The show is bad because it's just a rehash of the film and only exists as an attempt by ABC to milk the success of the film dry. At least they had the good sense to use Coolio's 'Gangsta's Paradise,' which is really the best part of anything related to 'Dangerous Minds' anyway.
Why a film like 'The Net' necessitated a television adaptation remains a mystery, especially when the TV version (like others on this list) merely replicated the plot from the film, only cheaper and with less talent.
Angela (Brooke Langton, replacing Sandra Bullock) is a computer savvy woman whose identity has been wiped and replaced with a criminal record by a group of cyber terrorists. Tim Curry also stars in this show that lasted — surprise — one season on the USA network.
Like most 90s shows, it's tacky, but like nearly all 90s TV shows based on movies, it's a cheap imitation of the original with little purpose for existing outside of shortsighted network greed.
Possibly the least offensive entry on this list, 'Clueless' still makes the cut because it's a tonally nightmarish, bubblegum-infused adaptation that fails to capture the feel of the film entirely.
Rachel Blanchard replaces Alicia Silverstone and Doug Sheehan replaces Dan Hedaya as her father. Stacey Dash, Donald Faison, Twink Caplan, Julie Brown, Wallace Shawn, and Elisa Donovan all reprise their roles from the film, and Amy Heckerling even wrote and directed a few episodes for the first season. The show ran for one season on ABC before moving to UPN for its final two seasons, which is where things became even more problematic. Shawn, Caplan, and Brown were written out of the show. The character of Tai only shows up in three episodes overall.
It disregards the plot of the film almost entirely, removing the romance between Cher and Josh before writing Josh out completely. The show devolved into a typical sitcom, spruced up with cute outfits and hip, superficial lingo. Like Rachel Blanchard's portrayal of Cher, the show only superficially resembled its predecessor.