Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thoughts on Some TV Adaptation of Movies:

Just as books are often made into movies, movies are sometimes made into TV shows. (Usually when TV shows get made into movies, it's to goof on them to some extent.) Most of them, I sense, have not been successful.

MASH -- a great TV Show and a great movie -- seems the exception. Though the movie was markedly better. Consider how much better the theme song of MASH sounds with its original lyrics.

Though I doubt 70s-80s America could have handled a TV theme singing about how "Suicide Is Painless."

I thought both Private Benjamin and Alien Nation were good adaptations of good movies and both TV series had somewhat successful runs.

The TV shows for Animal House and Fast Times at Ridgemont High were dismal failures (this despite the fact that these were two of the greatest movies of all time).

I've never watched an episode of the TV series based on the classic "The Paper Chase." But based on the horrible theme song by Seals and Croft, I understand why the series may have failed.

Which leads to the bizarrest TV adaption of a movie ever. Ironically, the TV series was quite successful (and not a bad sit com with a well sung TV theme): Alice.

The TV series was based on Scorsese's cult classic "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," which represented the antithesis of the lightheartedness of the later TV show. It almost reminds me of a reverse Watchmen. Alan Moore took the comic book genre, which oft-presented characters in a squeaky clean way, though implicitly had subversive messages underneath and Moore made the implicit, explicit, graphically so. The result was comic book characters who illustrated depraved, warts and all human nature.

Well that "deconstruction" of happy life narratives is something Scorsese pioneered in the movie business. Check out this scene from Alice with Harvey Keitel. I wonder if the TV series ever adapted the "Ben" character that he played so well:

Or if not, how the TV show would have handled him.

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