The size, scale and vast mythology surrounding this year’s Star Trek Into Darkness make it easy to forget that it’s still just another old television show adapted for the big screen. Most such transitions like Bewitched, The A-Team, and others, never see a fraction of Star Trek's success. Besides its hour-long format, Roddenberry’s creation lent itself more easily to feature length stories from the beginning with a visually stimulating and tensely-paced execution that (most) sitcoms inherently lack. Since its mid-20th century debut as "low brow" entertainment to basically get viewers to watch commercials, the TV show has gained immense respect and influence by filling a niche that motion pictures cannot. It satisfies audiences’ desire to see and follow characters through more than just one story or set of circumstances, allowing long-term empathy and connection in ways not allowed by individual motion pictures’ limited structures and running times.
What strikes me is that with few exceptions, it seems, the shows that Hollywood choose to adapt nowadays are rarely the most successful or enduring. Originally named for its recently-deceased star, The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS) is a quality sitcom that spent 8 seasons combining broad, yet poignant small town Southern humor with nostalgic sentimentality – all courtesy of an unparalleled stable of characters surrounding and complimenting Griffith’s affable Sheriff Taylor. It was one of if not the only sitcom to have its own back lot at Desilu Studios, where another little "trek" filmed 2 of 3 seasons alongside Mayberry from 1966 to 1968. More than 50 years on, TAGS has won numerous awards and never completely gone off the air or out of syndication; yet for some reason, Paramount has failed to see and exploit the theatrical potential in this story of a single father and his misfit cousin bringing law and order to a small mountain town.
As controversial as it may seem to so many, part of me truly believes that it would be worth a try. Another part of me admits that recasting the late Don Knotts' and Andy Griffith's career defining roles would be even more daunting and risky than recasting Shatner and Nimoy ever was. Whether or not Griffith’s humble masterpiece is ever honored with a big screen treatment, I hope that if Hollywood keeps combining the realms of classic television and the modern motion picture, it will do better more often than Dukes of Hazard or Starsky & Hutch... though I kind of like the latter. I suppose this is one issue on which I will have to remain torn because as cool as it sometimes is to see little TV shows given theatrical treatment, they really are two pretty distinct mediums whose functions and appeals are not always as compatible as they are in something
like Star Trek.