Numerous popular television shows have been given the big screen treatment. Some have turned out great and even surpassed the popularity of the show, while others probably should have never been made. In honor of last weekend’s release of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which is based on the 1960s sitcom of the same name, we’re counting down the best and worst television shows turned into movies.
5. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Based on the television series of the same name that ran from 1966 to 1973, Ghost Protocol possesses a 93% “Fresh” rating and is the best-reviewed film in the Mission Impossible series. Although the series' current installment,Rogue Nation, is currently lighting up the box office, Ghost Protocol is the highest grossing film in terms of worldwide box office.
4. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
Starring the incomparable Leslie Nielsen, 1988’s slapstick hit The Naked Gun was the theatrical version of the short-lived television series Police Squad! Named the 7th Funniest Comedy Ever by Empire Magazine, the film spawned two sequels: The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear and Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult.
3. The Fugitive
Yet another film on our list that traces its origin to a 1960s television show, 1993’s The Fugitive stars Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble—a man falsely convicted of killing his wife. A major critical and financial success, the film spent six weeks at the top of the box office and was nominated for seven Academy Awards. The film spawned a less successful sequel entitled U.S. Marshals. Not to be forgotten, The Fugitive was rebooted in 2000 with Tim Daly, but the Emmy-nominated series lasted just one season.
2. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
There have been a total of 12 Star Trek films beginning with Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979, but its sequelStar Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is head and shoulders above the rest. Based on the original Star Trek series that aired for three seasons from 1966-1969, Wrath of Khan was a success upon its release and features one of the most famous movie villains of all time: Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalbán). Benedict Cumberbatch would later portray Khan in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness.
1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Similarly to the Mission Impossible series, it’s difficult to choose the best Monty Python film, but Monty Python and the Holy Grail reigns supreme. The Holy Grail currently holds a 97% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is often cited as one of the greatest comedies ever. It also features the now famous “it’s just a flesh wound” line, which was uttered by the Black Knight.
5. Dark Shadows
Arguably the worst of the Tim Burton-Johnny Depp collaborations, Dark Shadows isn’t a horrible film, but it certainly doesn’t live up to its potential. Based on the classic gothic soap opera of the same name that aired from 1966-1971, this uneven adaptation simply doesn’t know what kind of film it wants to be. The movie underperformed domestically, but was a hit overseas.
The first of two Will Farrell films on our list, 2005’s Bewitched was a critical failure that possessed none of the charm of the original series. In fact, Ferrell and co-star Nicole Kidman won a Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple. The original show, which ran for eight seasons, was ranked #50 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
3. I Spy
I Spy proves that not every classic 1960s sitcom should get a big screen update. Touting a woeful 15% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this spy comedy starring Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson earned three Razzie Award nominations: Worst Remake, Worst Actor for Eddie Murphy, and Worst screen Couple for Murphy and Wilson.
2. Land of the Lost
Our other Will Ferrell entry on the list proves that the Saturday Night Live alumnus should stay far away from any and all reboots of classic television shows. The film intentionally deviates from its source material, but falls flat in its satirical approach. The adaptation received mostly negative reviews when it was released in 2009 with the New York Daily News calling it a “high-concept disaster.”
1. Wild Wild West
Wild Wild West was a critical failure that featured cringe worthy acting from well respected actors like Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh. A box office failure, the film won an incredible seven Razzie awards including Worst Movie. Robert Conrad, who portrayed Jim West in the original show, accepted each award to illustrate his objection to the movie. Interestingly, Will Smith turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix in favor of Wild Wild West.