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From the small screen to the large. Should TV shows be made into films?

Written by TV

Oh look! There’s another day wasted after you binge-watched all the episodes of that new TV show. You ask yourself – wouldn’t it be easier if they condensed the show into a two hour film? And what about that TV show character you love? Surely it would be great to see them in a film again. In 2019 alone, we’ve already seen numerous beloved TV shows get a Hollywood makeover, but it begs the question – should TV shows just stay as films?

Take Downton Abbey for example, after 6 successful seasons the show came to conclusive end. As such a critically acclaimed show, it was inevitable, however, that fans would want more; and more they provided. Downton Abbey the film was released on the 13th December 2019 and was met with glowing reviews. The film meticulously followed on from the show, bringing all our favourite characters back to life for one final time. The film, however, could also be understood as a stand-alone film as it provided a new, exciting plot-line with background information from the series subtly intertwined throughout. 

Similarly, Bad Education also provided numerous one-liners and comical sketches within the confines of a two hour film which sees the class take their antics to Cornwall. Jack Whitehall reprises his role as Alfie Wickers, the young-at-heart school teacher of Class K, along with much of the cast. Again, this film seamlessly binds the present story line and the previous details from the show to produce an immediate British classic. 

“As a result, the film was met with mixed reviews – a stark contrast to the success of the original show.”

Spooks: The Greater Good, however, paints a different picture. It paints a picture of mediocrity and a misjudged audience. Whilst the show’s conclusion aired in 2011, the film was released four years later. After such a long period of time separating these two branches of the Spooks franchise, it was inevitable that the audience would have forgotten many of the key details required to understand this once thrilling spy drama. As a result, the film was met with mixed reviews – a stark contrast to the success of the original show. 

All too frequently, TV shows are overwhelmed by the pressures of the big screen. They have to engage their audience for a much greater length of time, and are subjected to much harsher critiques. They also have to contend with the preconceptions formed by the audience of the show. All of this culminates to a great task that the TV show has to contend with, and so it’s no question as to why some TV shows aren’t suited to the big screen. That being said, many are successful as film adaptations. Arguably, the fact that some of these examples are able to work as stand-alone films in their own right is the key to their success. They cater to not only die-hard fans, but also to those who have never watched the show before, inspiring a new generation to fall in love with the show’s characters. 

Last modified: 23rd October 2019

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