ByAdam Spiegelman, writer at
Adam Spiegelman

This month CBS debuts its update of "The Odd Couple." The original show was based on the movie (which was based on a play, that was based on real life.).

This isn't the first time a movie has been spun off into a TV show more than once. Here are six movies that were nice, they made them TV shows twice.

1) The (New) Odd Couple

When you read "The New Odd Couple," did you assume I was talking about the CBS/Matthew Perry version? Well, if we learned one thing from Felix Unger in the the original 70's show, you should never assume. (Watch this life changing clip to get that reference. As a 10-year-old, my mind was blown.)

In 1988, ABC tried to revive the show with a black cast. Ron Glass, from "Barney Miller," played Felix and the "Son," from "Sanford and Son" (Demond Wilson), played Oscar. Eight of the eighteen episodes that aired were rehashes of the original TV show, including the famous courtroom scene. Apparently, when two black men with different habits move in together, they experience the same challenges as white men do, right down to the page number.

2) Parenthood

Before NBC made the drama "Parenthood," they produced a sitcom based on the film. The Steve Martin movie felt a lot like a sitcom, so it was no surprise when it actually became one in 1990. The "Parenthood" sitcom only lasted for 12 episodes, and had Ed Begley, Jr. playing Martin. It also starred the then-unknown actors Leonardo DiCaprio and David Arquette, plus the still-unknown actors Jayne Atkinson and Ivyann Schwan.

3) Fargo

Before "Fargo" became an inspiration for the critical darling starring Billy Bob Thornton on FX, the movie had a straightforward spin-off. While the recent show is more "inspired by" the Coen Brothers movie, the original TV tryout was definitely "based on."

The 1997 pilot followed the movie with Edie Falco playing the Frances McDormand part. Like in the movie she's pregnant, so it either took place the day after the wood chipper scene or this baby never wants to come out. Was the plan for her to be pregnant for 6 seasons and a movie? The show was directed by actress Kathy Bates. In Bate's version, Marge Gunderson solved a crime a week. It was more "CSI: Northern Exposure" than a Coen Brothers movie.

4) Casablanca

While the second time was a charm for "Parenthood," "Casablanca" couldn't seem to play it again on TV. In 1954, Warner Brothers used their 1942 movie to break into television. Some of the actual sets from the ironic film were used in the TV show. Even some of the actors returned, playing different roles. Clarence Muse, who auditioned to play Sam in the movie, got to play the role on TV instead.

In 1983, the sets were dug up again, this time David Soul bogarted the lead role. Scatman Crothers played Sam. Future stars like Ray Liota and Hector Elizondo rounded out the cast. While the 50's show was a continuation of the film, the 80's take was a prequel.

Both versions took a small plane far away, pretty quickly.

5) Bates Motel

Before Vera Farmiga made goo-goo eyes at her son on A&E, "Bates Motel" was opened for business on NBC.

In the 1987 TV version of "Psycho," Bud Cort played Alex West, a guy who inherited the famed motel from Norman Bates himself. You see, West was Norman's roommate in the loony bin. West wants to make this a legit motel. (An oxymoron, right?)

Anthony Perkins publicly slammed the movie, calling it "Just terrible." Maybe because Norman is killed off and Perkins was still making sequels.

The 80's "Bates Motel" also featured Lori Petty and Jason Bateman. It aired as a two-hour TV movie/pilot to introduce the series. It was mercifully killed off in the shower after the first airing.

6) La Femme Nikita

First there was the USA Networks drama from 1997-2001. This version starred the future lead of "Malibu Shark Attack," PeTA Wilson [sic] as Nikita. This Canadian shot cable show used footage from the movie "Point of No Return."

After the French movie, and the American remake and the Canadian based USA series, the story was still not done being told! The great Maggie Q steps in as bad ass kicker. Don't expect this show not to return. It seems like the storyline of the gorgeous woman who fights crime in tight outfits doesn't go out of style.

So if at first your movie doesn't succeed as a TV show, try and try again. What movie-turned-show do you think deserves another chance? Put it in the comments below.

Related: Who has the worst TV shows? US or Great Britain?


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