Some movies are so full of ideas, or are set in worlds that beg to be explored more, that it seems unfair that they be contained in ninety minute chunks. With the recent trend of developing movie worlds and stories into long running series’ (e.g. Fargo and 12 Monkeys) I’ve compiled a list of movies that deserve the TV treatment.
World War Z
Full disclosure? I didn’t hate World War Z. It was problematic and the ending was about as exciting as tying your shoelaces, but for at least the first hour I was entertained, excited, and got a few scares. However, the book the movie is based on is chock full of crazy good ideas that wouldn’t fit into a single film. The answer? A TV show. Get HBO to make it and structure each episode as a faux documentary set in a different country with talking heads describing their World War Z experiences along with re-enactments, camera phone footages, documentation, etc. In fact, use Serial as the template and bring the story to life with “real” evidence (those quotation marks are about World War Z not Serial).
Men in Black
I will never understand why there aren’t a dozen of these movies. The first one was so fun and rich with promise, it hurts my brain that the sequels were so shitty and took so long to come out following the success of the first movie. As a TV show it makes itself. J and L (Will Smith and Linda Fiorentino in the movies, probably recast for the show) are two intergalactic police who keep aliens from messing up the planet. And that’s my whole pitch. A mixed sex pairing of awesome characters battling supernatural forces of evil is a trope that audiences like (X Files, Fringe, Sleepy Hollow) and a plot that lends itself to alien-of-the-week plots as well as overarching season long threats of alien invasion.
If you follow myself and Dr Diego Crespo (@deggowaffles) on Twitter you will have seen our discussions about a Spider-man TV show. Our idea is simple: Copy Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Put Peter Parker in high school and surround him with friends, enemies, and potential love interests i.e. Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacey, Flash Thompson, Miles Morales, and Harry Osborn. Start the show with Parker already as Spider-man (explain his origin in the opening credits) and get straight into the fun parts. Like Buffy, integrate weekly villains and big bads, and make each season mirror a comic storyline starting with the rise of Green Goblin. The trick would be to, like Buffy, make the supporting characters’ stories as compelling as the lead characters, I mean, there are at least two seasons of Buffy that I thought were called Willow. Also I’d watch a TV series about Green Lantern, Black Widow, Alfred Pennyworth, and Warren Ellis’s version of Moon Knight.
On the podcast I Was There Too, actor Rico Ross describes his time filming Aliens and talks about how James Cameron created camaraderie within the actors playing the colonial marines. First he sent them to boot camp to get their asses kicked, and then he filmed the bulk of the marines hanging out during scenes at the end of filming so that it would seem as though this crew had been together for a while kicking ass and getting Arcturian poontang. And it works. The crew of marines feel lived in and real, and a TV show about their adventures prior to Aliens would definitely be something I’d watch. Much like Aliens was a critique of the Vietnam war, the show could be action packed and fun, but also use the lens of alien warfare (different aliens each week!) to talk about issues with war, terrorism and the military. Actually I may have just described Battlestar Galactica with aliens instead of robots.