March 16th, 2012
02:04 PM ET
Jonah Hill’s “21 Jump Street” movie arrives in theaters today, and there's no doubt that when some of us saw the trailers for this comedy, we were understandably confused.
“Wait, wasn’t that TV show pretty serious? Didn’t it star a young, brooding Johnny Depp?” Why yes, it was and it did.
When a TV show gets remade as a movie, sometimes all bets are off. It can stick as close to or veer as far from the source material as it wants. Since we seem to be living through an endless string of these remakes, don’t expect it to change anytime soon.
For this week’s top five, we’re looking at some of the biggest TV-to-movie remakes from the past few decades. (One quick note: The movie has to be a remake, not a continuation of the show’s storyline, so you won’t see “Sex and the City” or “Firefly”/"Serenity.")
1. “Mission: Impossible” (1996): Take a 1960s spy show, update it for the digital age, and turn the only character with name recognition for the original audience into the villain. Instant franchise!
2. “The Brady Bunch Movie” (1995): Instead of updating the classic show for the 1990s, this movie dropped the 1970s family into the 1990s, fashion sense and all. Hilarity – in theory – ensued.
3. “Star Trek” (2009): How do you tackle a franchise with decades of mythology and continuity that hardcore fans know inside and out? Reboot it on an alternate timeline. Oh, and make it awesome. Done and done.
4. “Charlie’s Angels” (2000): Three attractive female investigators breaking all kinds of gender stereotypes while working with a goofy handler for a faceless benefactor voiced by John Forsyth. That’s a recipe for success in any decade. (Just don’t try to remake it as a TV show again.)
5. “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” (2009): Instead of being a campy cartoon about “a real American Hero,” this is an overly serious movie about an international special forces team. Hopefully, producers know how badly they misfired, and this year’s “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” will be better. After all, knowing is half the battle.
“The A-Team” (2010): I love it when a plan comes together, but I pity the fool who decided to destroy the iconic A-Team van in an opening scene.
“The Addams Family” (1991): Making one of Hollywood’s most lovably weird families accessible to a whole new generation.
“Dragnet” (1987): If you’re going to remake one of TV’s most straight-laced shows as a comedy romp, you better cast a couple of world-class comedians like Aykroyd and Hanks.
“The Flintstones” (1994): And if you’re going to remake an iconic animated show into live action… don’t do it like this. This remains the only movie I have ever walked out on.
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