10 Times Our Favorite TV Shows Became Amazing Movies
There’s nothing more fun than watching your favorite TV characters come to life on the big screen. TV shows that become movies are typically the exception, not the rule, but when it does happen, it’s always interesting to see how fan-favorite stories adapt to the feature film format. There have definitely been some misses over the years, along with some major hits. Ahead, we’re taking a look at some of the best TV show movie adaptations. To be clear: these are all movies that have functioned as part of the same continuity and plotlines as the original shows, rather than total reboots (sorry, no Charlie’s Angels here!). Keep reading for ten of our favorite TV shows and their movie adaptations.
The British import went from a standard-issue period drama on PBS to an international cultural phenomenon spanning nearly a full decade. Following the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family, their friends, and their servants from pre-World War I through the 1920s, the series ran for six seasons on TV. In 2019, the story picked back up again with the Downton Abbey feature film – possibly the first of multiple movie sequels!
Who says the feature film treatment is just for grown ups? Disney Channel’s beloved 2000s sitcom Lizzie McGuire hit the big screen with 2003’s The Lizzie McGuire Movie. After graduating middle school, Lizzie and her class head to Italy for a graduation class trip, where she gets mistaken for an Italian teen pop idol and starts to figure out what she really wants out of life. Plus, the soundtrack is indelibly imprinted on the brains of pretty much every millennial!
Sex and the City
The HBO comedy about four gal pals in New York City is a bona fide pop culture icon. Four years after the TV series ended, the first Sex and the City movie hit theaters in 2008, with Carrie and her friends dealing with some seriously rocky times in their relationships. Although the first movie was largely a success, the 2010 sequel did well at the box office but was panned by critics; a planned third movie was cancelled in 2017.
The cult favorite space Western only ran for one season, but that one season made a huge impact in terms of fan love and legacy. Starring Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Summer Glau, and more, the show takes place in a future where space is colonized by a super-alliance between the US and China and a failed rebellion has left our heroes working as mercenaries. The 2005 feature film follow-up, Serenity, failed to relaunch the show but continues to be a geek favorite.
While we’re all still talking about the Hulu revival of our favorite quirky detective series, let’s not forget the 2014 film follow-up that helped relaunch interest in the show. After a three-season run on UPN and The CW, the noir mystery series starring Kristen Bell went away until 2014, when a crowdfunded movie brought Veronica back together with her high school boyfriend Logan, who needed her help clearing his name. The movie is continuous with both the original series and the revival series, making it a must-watch for sure!
Rather than being based on a full-fledged TV show, the 1992 comedy is actually based off of a running Saturday Night Live sketch about two rock fans who host a public-access TV show. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey took their popular sketch and turned it into this fourth-wall breaking, satirical movie. It also spawned a sequel, Wayne’s World 2, in 1993.
Long before J.J. Abrams rebooted the franchise with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as Kirk and Spock, the original Star Trek series spawned an entire series of movies as well. In the first Trek movie, the crew of the USS Enterprise faces off against a mysterious alien entity that’s destroying everything in its path en route to its ultimate destination: Earth. There are a total of six movies in the film series based on the original series, and, technically, the original continuity does link up with the Abrams reboot as well.
It’s the sci-fi series that almost all modern genre shows take at least a few cues from. Special Agents Mulder and Scully take on the weirdest, most unbelieveable cases and try to unravel a massive government conspiracy theory along the way. The series has gone to the big screen twice: first, in 1998, then a 2008 sequel The X-Files: I Want To Believe.
The quirky British comedy ran for three seasons, capturing teenage-dom in all its awkward, messy, sometimes embarassing glory. In 2011, a movie sequel was released, intended as a sort of supersized “finale” for the TV show as its teenage characters graduate high school and go on one last summer trip (which, of course, goes horribly wrong). The movie was a big enough success to earn a sequel, which was released in 2014.
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
In 1920s Australia, “lady detective” Phryne Fisher solves crimes and protects the innocent, all while looking utterly fabulous. She’s aided in her efforts by police inspector (and romantic sparring partner) Jack Robinson, ladies’ maid Dot, and a found family of misfits. The series aired for American audiences on PBS for three seasons, and a feature film, Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears, is set for release this Spring.
Watch Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on YouTube TV or watch Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears on Acorn TV beginning on March 23.