Sometimes you just don’t want a movie to end. Whether you love the characters, the premise or the setting, some movies are the perfect source material to inspire TV shows based on their name. Unfortunately, more often than not these spin-offs fell massively short of their superior predecessors.
10. Ferris Bueller (1990 – 1991)
Although this spin-off was based on ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’, the series was not a canon continuation. Instead, it was the ‘real life’ inspiration from which the film was loosely based – the ‘real’ Ferris even made references to his disappointment of the movie. Airing in 1990, the series was short lived and was cancelled within its first season, a few months after its debut. John Hughes’ film was a cult hit, but this poor imitation never came close to making the same impact. Perhaps the network should have seen it coming when the original director asked not to be mentioned in any way during promotion of the show.
9. A League of Their Own (1993)
This 1992 baseball period drama was a huge success, so it seemed a no-brainer to try and squeeze a TV series out of the premise. Following the same story of an all American female baseball league during WWII, the series just couldn’t knock it out of the park. This drab adaptation only lasted six episodes, one of which wasn’t even aired. It wasn’t entirely the writer’s fault – without the return of Tom Hanks in the leading role it was going to be a tough sell.
8. Starman (1986 – 1987)
John Carpenter’s sci-fi movie about an alien who takes the form of a young widow’s husband and asks her to drive him from Wisconsin to Arizona received rave reviews after hitting the big screen in 1984. Fast forward two years and ABC tried to jump start a show of the same name – with the exact opposite effect. Set 15 years after the movie, the show focussed on the alien returning as a clone of a deceased photojournalist. Many found the storyline to be nothing like the original and the show was very confusing and, well, a bit of a drag. It managed to last for a whole season before it was cancelled by the network.
7. Baby Talk (1991 – 1992)
‘Looks Who’s Talking’ follows a single, career-minded woman who is left on her own to give birth to the child of a married man. She finds a new romantic chance in a cab driver and they try to make the situation work. The hit movie was an alternative stab at the romcom genre and it had a unique voice thanks to the comedic commentary (provided by Bruce Willis) of the new born baby. ABC tried their hand at a follow up TV series, ‘Baby Talk’, starring the likes of Tony Danza, George Clooney and Julia Duffy. Despite high hopes, the show was a uninspired dud and managed to hang in for two seasons before being cancelled.
6. Nothing in Common (1987)
In the 1986 original movie of the same name, Tom Hanks plays a successful advertiser who juggles a demanding career in the midst of his parents divorce. A funny drama that managed to hide a few tricks up its sleeve, many critics thought the film had a nice balance between light-hearted moments and serious twists. Sadly, the short-lived TV sitcom failed to deliver the same thanks to tedious scripting and a different cast that couldn’t replicate the chemistry. It lasted seven episodes before being pulled by NBC.
5. Timecop (1997)
‘Timecop’ is a pretty daft sci-fi action flick from 1994 starring Jean Claude Van Damme as an officer for the Time Enforcement Commission (TEC) who combats the misuse of time travel technology. With the right showrunner and talent, the intriguing concept was ripe for potential, but ABC squandered the opportunity and aired only nine of the thirteen episodes produced before the series was pulled.
4. Down & Out in Beverly Hills (1987)
‘Down & Out in Beverly Hills’ has the distinction of being the first R-rated film ever released by Disney. Released in 1986, the film follows the story of a rich but dysfunctional couple whose lives change when they save the life of a homeless man who stumbles into their Beverly Hills home and tries to drown himself in their pool. Fox had high hopes for the TV show when it hit the air in 1987, but they were quickly deflated. The series last eight episodes after being drummed by critics for being too ‘bland’.
3. Gung Ho (1986)
In this somewhat forgotten comedy from 1986, a western Pennsylvanian auto plant is acquired by a Japanese company and a brokering auto worker faces the tricky challenge of mediating the two clashing corporate cultures. The film was a success when it debuted 1986, but the same could not be said for the spin-off series the following year. Critics despised the series from the first episode in which absolutely nothing interesting happened. Lucky for them, only eight more aired before it was cut from the schedule
2. Dirty Dancing (1988)
‘Dirty Dancing’ is a cult classic treasured by women the world over. Starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, the seminal 80s flick follows a young girl vacationing with her parents who falls for the hotel’s dance instructor and has her eyes opened to a whole new world. Trying to take advantage of the fanbase, CBS created a series of the same name. The show followed the same basic premise of the film, but the repeated storyline was nowhere near as good and disappointed those who desperately wanted to revisit the world of dirty dancing. Faced with low ratings and bad reviews, the spin-off only lasted eleven painful episodes.
1. Uncle Buck (1990)
In this light hearted family flick from 1989, a laid-back bachelor, the titular Buck, is left in charge of his nephew and nieces. Unaccustomed to being in charge of anything, Buck slowly charms the younger of the two but finds his rebellious teenage niece more difficult to handle. Eventually he proves he can be responsible, proving everyone – including himself – wrong. Starring John Candy, the film was a huge hit and another win for writer/director John Hughes. Sadly, the 1990 series was anything but. Fans and critics alike despised the creation which lacked all of the charm of its predecessor. It miraculously managed to air eleven episodes before it was pulled.