10 Best TV Shows Based on Movies

Movies are one of the best mediums through which one can tell a story. Often movies are based on novels or story books through which the author tries to let his creative juices flow. However, nowadays it is also seen that a good number of Television Shows are being based on movies, often in order to bring continuity to the stories being told on the silver screen. The following is a list of some of the most popular television shows that are based on all-time hit movies:


10. From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (2014-)

Directed by Robert Rodriguez the cult classic vampire movie “From Dusk Till Dawn” had left behind a massive fan following and a big legacy to be fulfilled. This hit film scripted by none other than the legendary Quentin Tarantino gave rise to a pair of sequels, a video game and currently this television series, which spanned three seasons on director Rodriguez’s El Rey Television Network from 2014 to 2016. Similar to the movie, this show too heavily depicts two criminal brothers who cross paths with a family on their vacationing in their RV. However, the TV series structure granted more profound explorations of the movie’s monster mythology, as well as set the grounds for bringing in more quirky and unconventional characters. Fan favourite actors like Danny Trejo, DJ Cotrona and Eiza Gonzalez have been included in the multi-faceted cast. Not just this, with the veteran Rodriguez still acting as the forerunner for this series the movie’s blood and gore fest has been kept intact and adapted accordingly for TV. This is a must watch for Tarantino fans out there.

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9. Hannibal (2013 – 2015)

“Remarkable boy! I do admire your courage. I think I’ll eat your heart.” – One of the most memorable lines said by none other than Dr. Hannibal Lecter from the psychological thriller the Red Dragon (2002). Introduced first in the critically acclaimed and psychologically haunting thriller “The Silence of the Lambs (1991)”, the character of Dr.Hannibal Lecter seems to be etched in our memories forever, thanks to the gut wrenching portrayal by the legendary Anthony Hopkins. Hannibal’s infamous adventures were modernized and introduced to the small screen in 2013 with the TV series Hannibal which was mainly adapted from the movies “The Red Dragon” and “Hannibal”. Here too, Hannibal (the forensic psychiatrist) continues to shrewdly manipulate and mislead the police, taking a special affinity towards the young FBI Special Investigator Will Graham with whom he forges a rather unconventional relationship. Hannibal proves to be Graham’s most cunning enemy till date while at the same time it appears that Hannibal is the only one who truly understands the man. The show leaves no stone unturned in highlighting a new aspect i.e. Hannibal’s culinary skills as Hannibal is often shown cooking up human organs in a MasterChef style for his perfect meal. Watch out for Mads Mikkelsen’s portrayal of Hannibal and also for the Hitchcock styled suspense theme of the show. This one is truly one for the ages to come.

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8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

There’s not much to say about this already hugely popular TV show of all time. Joss Whedon took on the mantle of show runner and rewrote the story for this widely and critically series. In the story, Slayers are “called” (chosen by fate) to wage war against vampires and other dark forces. Buffy the young protagonist wants to live a normal life, but as the series moves forward, she comes to terms with her identity and learns to embrace her destiny. Like previous Slayers before her, Buffy is aided by a “Watcher”, who guides and trains her. Buffy also surrounds herself with a circle of loyal friends who come to be known as the “Scooby Gang”. Buffy also pays homage to popular vampire folklore while at the same time setting a precedent for similar hit shows (for instance the hit TV series “Supernatural”) to follow on the same television network. Stellar performances from the cast and especially Sarah Michelle Gellar’s acting are something that can be looked forward to while watching this cult favourite. Apart from this, the show’s success has led to hundreds of tie-in products, novels, comics, and video games. The series has received attention in fandom (fan films included), cannon, parody, and academia, and has greatly influenced the direction of other future television series.

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7. 12 Monkeys (2015-)

The Syfy Channel has managed to adapt the 1995 Terry Gilliam movie, which in turn is itself an extended homage to Chris Marker’s 1962 short film “La Jetée” into a successful TV series. This series has characters inspired by the film, as well as a plot involving time-travel (actually a lot of time travel) and the ever-changing, filled with chicanery, with an overlapping timeline; race to prevent a terrorist group from unleashing a deadly virus. Things get a lot more complicated than the movie itself, with way more time to delve into the strange world of the Army of the 12 Monkeys; in the movie, the group is more of a McGuffin, but on the show, it’s more of a cult like menace that spans across generations. In general, the show has taken the base of the movie in quite unexpected and in oddly satisfying ways.  Overall, one of the best ways to enjoy the show can be to binge watch entire seasons of the show over a weekend like the makers of the show had intended to do with show’s season 3. Moreover, the storytelling and vfx are more attention drawing than the acting performances. In my view, it is one sci-fi show that definitely needs a watch, one time at least.

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6. Bates Motel (2013-2017)

“It’s not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?” – Norman Bates, Psycho (1960). Just when the tale of Norman Bates had been told every possible way, thanks to the multiple Psycho films, along came the A&E’s TV series, which had a run for five seasons before bringing it to a close in April 2017. Bates Motel’s storylines ignore the timeline of the original film’s sequels and give alternate versions of many of the characters and events in the original film. As the series progresses Bates Motel gradually does an excellent job of fleshing out characters known from the movie. Also compelling new characters (including other members of the troubled Bates family) are introduced the setting shifted to the present day, as well moving it to an Oregon town that has a dark mystery beyond the regular happenings at the motel. Bates Motel carves out its own path over five seasons. Despite everything, the show always manages to keep its source material in mind and further explore new horizons quite creatively. An Iconic movie character Marion Crane (played by Rihanna also appears in one of the seasons, but meets a very different fate. Similarly, the series wraps up with its own exclusive ending, a move that pays tribute to everything that needed five years to build. After watching the show myself, I believe that even Alfred Hitchcock would have himself definitely approved this version of the story.

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5. Star Wars Rebels (2014-)

This is the only animated entry worth it in my list. This show is set primarily during the period between the movies “Revenge of the Sith” and “A New Hope” with connections also to Rogue One. However, unlike many shows in my list, this particular show is being developed alongside the other Star Wars movies, from which it draws its influence and inspiration. It goes both ways. For instance, Rogue One’s older take on Saw Gerrera (originally seen on Rebels preceding animated series The Clone Wars) popped up on “Rebels” recently concluded third season, while the “Rebels” ship, the Ghost, had a cameo in Rogue One. These are just two examples of the many overlaps between the show (which also manages to follow its own characters and adventures) and the movies.  It should also be noted that there is some connection or the other even with the highly disliked Star Wars movies. However, with only one season left it is a must watch for all Star Wars fans.

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4. Ash vs. Evil Dead (2015-)

After the success and suspense dished out by the original trinity movies, the world awaited the release of a fourth Evil Dead movie, in order to arrive at a definite end to the series. However, fans were kept waiting for twenty one long years until the reboot movie hit the thatres. However, with the reboot movie’s massive failure at the box office, the creators of the show decided to bring the original character back in a slightly modernized avatar in the form of a TV show in the year 2015. The show has everything loved about in the movies, namely, action, ridiculous amounts of gore, scary creatures, a great sense of humour, national treasure Bruce Campbell as the reluctant “Deadite” fighter Ash and makes it even better, expanding the world of the movies (we also get to meet Ash’s father) while paying homage to everything fans wanted to see from the past, including the cabin in the woods where it all started.  Lucy Lawless co-stars as a not-so-human foe (and later, ally) with ties to the Necronomicon and Ash’s supernatural past. Much like the first season, the show’s awesome second season ended on a cliff-hanger that’ll no doubt be picked up by the show’s third season (which is set to premiere in February 2018). Do give it a watch for the incessant thrills if not for the blood and gore fest.

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3. Teen Wolf (2011-2017)

With the show recently ending in 2017, it brings back memories from when it all started in 2011. Teen Wolf is loosely based on the 1985 movie of the same name, but has managed to carve out a niche for itself in the history of American Television. Teen Wolf tells the story of a young high school student who is accidentally bit by a big bad werewolf one night while looking for a body in the woods along with his best friend. What follows is how he learns to control his powers and eventually become an Alpha Werewolf later during the series. The series involves how the young werewolf along with his close friends develop alliances and forge relations with allies while battling strong foes in the form of werewolf hunters and other supernatural creatures. One of the highlights of the series is how the best friend of the protagonist, Stiles (played by the multifaceted Dylan O’Brien) remains being a human despite everyone him is already or is being turned into some supernatural creature. Stellar performances are delivered by the cast (including Tyler Posey, Tyler Hoechlin, Colton Haynes and JR Bourne) and along with joint efforts with the show runners manage to keep the audience glued to their screens for hours. The show’s ability to portray teenage life in a very surreal manner should also be lauded. Overall, Teen Wolf is a must watch for the people who love the supernatural genre.

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2. The Exorcist (2016-)

This show needs no lengthy introduction. At first, a TV series based on The Exorcist, one of the greatest horror movies of all time didn’t just seem like a bad idea but like a borderline offensive idea. But the show managed to do everything right, cleverly connecting to the iconic film while also building out its own world, introducing flawed-yet-likable new characters and delivering both well-plotted story twists and spectacularly gross shocks. The show, like the original film, carries on the story of the Regan Macneil and her now new family. When Regan’s daughter in turn gets possessed by the very same old demon Pazuzu, she is forced to seek out help from the Father of the local parish, who also enlists the help of the veteran exorcist Father Marcus. How the two priests manage to exorcize the demon and at the same time uncover a sinister conspiracy planned to overthrow the Church is what forms the crux of the first season of the show. The second season again focusses on a person and the kids at a foster home. The Exorcist TV show remains faithful to its roots while at the same time taking the liberty to explore new horizons, thereby earning  another cult following in the making.

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1. Westworld (2016-)

The only sad part about the show is that it takes more than a yearlong hiatuses between its seasons. This TV show is one of the best recent examples of a movie inspired TV show for a lot of reasons. It took the 1973 Michael Crichton (author of the famous book turned film Jurassic Park) film about an immersive Wild West amusement park filled with robots that turn violently on the guests and turned it into a nuanced look at the complexities of artificial intelligence and the darkest depths of the human mind. The show also pays tribute to the movie with characters like Ed Harris’ gunslinger in black, but also completely changes his greater purpose within the story while making him a human, rather than a robot. The show’s technical finish also seems to make each episode get the cinematic feel. The cast includes legendary actors like Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood and Jeffrey Wright to name a few. For those who’re dying to see season two, Westworld is also the kind of show made for repeat viewings; once you stop focusing on the plot’s many twists and reveals, one can really set back and enjoy the show’s incredible attention to detail in everything from its subtle augur to the uncanny way it uses modern music in vintage formats.

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