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A film based, sometimes loosely, on a television series. Like The Film of the Book, with one subtle difference. Unlike The Movie and the Reunion Show, which feature the original cast of (whatever incarnation of) the series, these most often happen when the series in question has been off the air for a while, giving it a new cast and updated sensibilities and commonly take place in an Alternate Continuity from the original. Sometimes, though, as Charlie's Angels, the movie is presented as a Sequel to the original. Members of the original cast may appear in cameo roles. In a few cases, as with the film version of Doctor Who and The Twilight Zone, they outright re-make televised episodes.

Usually, these adaptations will raise the stakes and use a more traditional "heroes saving the day" style of plot to ensure that it's a Big Damn Movie. Contrast with The Movie, compare with Continuity Reboot. A subtrope of The Remake.

These were especially popular in The Nineties.


Examples:

Original seriesFilm version
TitleYearsTitleYearNotes
Doctor Who1963-89; 2005-presentDr. Who and the Daleks1965And a sequel (1966). A rare example of The Film of the Series being made while the original is still in production. These directly adapted the first Dalek story, "The Daleks", and the second one, "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", made them Lighter and Fluffier, changed the overall premise of the series and most definitely take place in an Alternate Continuity rather than in the Whoniverse.
The Twilight Zone1959-64Twilight Zone the Movie1983
Dragnet1949-59Dragnet1987Film was an Affectionate Parody of the original. Harry Morgan plays his character from the 1967-70 Revival series.
The Addams Family1964-66The Addams Family1991And a sequel (1993). (The 1998 direct-to-video movie is the pilot for the TV series revival.)
The Beverly Hillbillies1962-71The Beverly Hillbillies1993
The Fugitive1963-67The Fugitive1993The film starred Harrison Ford as the title character and Tommy Lee Jones as the Inspector Javert, and resulted in a sequel in which Tommy Lee Jones pursues a different fugitive.
Car 54, Where Are You?1961-63Car 54, Where Are You?1994Filmed in 1990 but not released until 1994, the film basicly tried to turn Car 54 into a Police Academy type movie. Original cast members Al Lewis and Nipsey Russell appeared as their original characters.
The Flintstones1960-66The Flintstones1994And a prequel (2000). The series was animated, the films were proof that "live action is no substitute for the real thing."
Maverick1957-62Maverick1994Mel Gibson starred as Bret Maverick. James Garner, the original Bret Maverick, co-starred as Marshal Zane Cooper, who turned out to be Maverick's father, whom he also played in the original series as a secondary role.
The Brady Bunch1969-74The Brady Bunch Movie1995And a sequel (1996)
The Phil Silvers Show1955-59Sgt. Bilko1996Steve Martin starred as Sgt. Bilko.
Mission Impossible1966-73Mission Impossible1996And sequels (2000, 2006, 2011). Presented as a sequel to the series, not a reboot.
George of the Jungle1967George of the Jungle1997Series was animated, film is live action.
Leave It to Beaver1957-63Leave It To Beaver1997
McHales Navy1962-66McHale's Navy1997Tom Arnold played McHale. Ernest Borgnine returns as the original McHale, now an admiral, and Arnold is his son, but we're not told these facts until the final scene; Borgnine's McHale uses a codename.
The Avengers1961-69The Avengers1998Patrick Macnee played John Steed in the original series and appeared in a cameo as Invisible Jones in the film. The film was based - loosely - on the Steed/Emma Peel pairing.
Lost in Space1965-68Lost in Space1998Most of the original cast have cameos in early scenes set on Earth.
Inspector Gadget1983-86Inspector Gadget1999Even more proof that live action is no substitute for the original. Not helped by the fact that apart from a few names, and bionic implants, the film has absolutely nothing to do with the series.
The Mod Squad1968-73The Mod Squad1999
My Favorite Martian1963-66My Favorite Martian1999
The Wild Wild West1965-69Wild Wild West1999
Charlies Angels1976-81Charlie's Angels2000And a sequel (2003). John Forsythe returned to the role of Charlie. None of the original Angels had cameos in the 2000 film (Farrah Fawcett reportedly said that she'd only appear if she could be Charlie), but Jaclyn Smith had a cameo in the sequel. The trope is referred to at the start of the film as LL Cool J's character watches a T. J. Hooker film.
I Spy1965-68I Spy2002
Scooby Doo1969-70Scooby Doo2002And sequel (2004), prequel (2009). Series was animated, films are live action.
Starsky and Hutch1975-79Starsky and Hutch2004The film was partly an Affectionate Parody of the original. The original leads make cameoes near the end.
Thunderbirds1965-68Thunderbirds2004Series was Supermarionation; film is live action. The art direction was the only part that was a faithful adaptation.
Bewitched1964-72Bewitched2005Took an unexpected left turn by telling the story of a fictional remake of the original series -- that starred a real witch.
The Dukes of Hazzard1979-85The Dukes of Hazzard2005R-rated parody remake of the family friendly TV series with Bo and Luke dumbed down, Boss Hogg and Uncle Jessie slimmed down and Sherrif Roscoe still dumb but more menacing.
The Honeymooners1955-56The Honeymooners2005Film made all the characters African Americans.
Miami Vice1984-90Miami Vice2006
Sukeban Deka1985Sukeban Deka2006The actress who played the original Sukeban Deka cameos as the mother of the new one; the movie can be interpreted as a remake or a sequel (the mother is implied to have been a Sukeban Deka, and could be the character from the original series; the coincidence in both characters being named Asamiya Saki is explained by it being a code name). US title of remake is "Yo-yo Girl Cop".
Alvin and The Chipmunks1983-90Alvinandthe Chipmunks2007And sequels (2009, 2011). Series was animated; films are live-action/CGI mix. Characters had first appeared on The Alvin Show (1961-62).
Neon Genesis Evangelion1995-96 with Evangelion: Death and Rebirth and End of Evangelion; and "retold" in the Rebuild of Evangelion films: Evangelion 1.0 (2007), Evangelion 2.0 (2009), Evangelion New Theatrical Edition: Q (TBA) and part 4 (TBA). Original and films are all animated. In addition, a live-action Evangelion is in the works.
Get Smart1965-70Get Smart2008Steve Carrell starred as Maxwell Smart. (1980's The Nude Bomb was The Movie.)
Speed Racer1967-68Speed Racer2008Series was animated; film is live action (not counting all the CGI).
Land of the Lost1974-76Land of the Lost2009The film is more comedic than the series.
Star Trek1966-69Star Trek2009Leonard Nimoy reprised his role as the Spock from the main Star Trek universe, via Time Travel. Further films are planned. (The previous Star Trek films, by contrast, were straight examples of The Movie.)
Avatar: The Last Airbender2005-08The Last Airbender2010Series is animated; the film is live action.
The A-Team1983-87The a Team2010
Edge of Darkness1985Edge of Darkness2010Hollywood remake starring Mel Gibson.
The Yogi Bear Show 1961Yogi Bear2010Series was animated; film is live-action/CGI mix.
Twenty One Jump Street1987-91Twenty One Jump Street2012Series was drama; film is played for laughs.
Dark Shadows1966-71Dark Shadows2012Series was drama; film is played for laughs.
Fraggle Rock1983-87 2012(projected)
The Equalizer1985-89 2013(projected)
MacGyver1985-92 2013(projected; currently in Development Hell due to executive producer's death)
Cowboy Bebop1998-99 ?Release year currently unknown. Series is animated; film will be live action.
Gilligans Island1964-67 ?Release year currently unknown.
Madoka Magica2011 ?Release year currently unknown (2013?). The first two of the three movies planned will cover the show's plot in some form.
Magnum, P.I.1980-88 ?Release year currently unknown.
  • Semi-example: The 1987 film The Untouchables was pitched as the film of the 1950s TV series, but the director and writer went back to the original historical source material, then completely ignored that history and made up a totally fictional story. Coming full circle, it was adapted into a syndicated Revival series six years later.
  • Despite what you might think, the live action Transformers films are not an example as it's not based exclusively on the original series, but just the latest part of a franchise that actually pre-dates the cartoon and has run continuously since then.
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