The Hollywood Reporter was first on the scene with the news that the Doug Limon film, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, was going to be an ABC pilot. The series is described as ” Married…With Children with guns.” It takes off where the movie left off, except that now the spark that suddenly made their marriage great has waned. Evidently, the show will be mostly about their marriage, with a little bit of violence thrown in.
Doug Liman will be directing, and Simon Kinberg writing. Missing, of course, will be the two reasons the film was successful in the first place: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, arguably two of the most charismatic, attractive celebrities ever to distract the American people from what’s really going on in the world.
It was announced back in October that Fox had acquired the rights to The Devil Wears Prada, another 2006 hit film. Prada on television will not be much like the film, but will incorporate elements of it. Again, it won’t have Meryl Streep and it will have to contend with the success of Ugly Betty, which is similar to Prada in that it deals with a small fish in a big pond floundering in the world of high fashion.
Looking back through television past, one formula seems to fare better than the other. Television series’ that continue the story from the film don’t seem to do as well as those that are remakes, or simply based on the film characters.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one example of a show that took off where the film ended, whereas My Big Fat Greek Life bombed miserably.
On the flipside, long-running television series’ have taken the basic concept of the original film but tweaked it to great success. M*A*S*H* is one example, Alice, from Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, and The Odd Couple. But let’s face it, the success of these shows was so long ago many of you reading this were probably not even born yet.
The success of both of these new shows will depend heavily on the actors they choose for the leads. Mr. and Mrs. Smith will not only have to be pretty to look at but they’ll have to be as good together as Pitt and Jolie or audiences won’t buy it. Gee, that’s not a very tall order now is it? How do you find a replacement for the sexiest man and woman alive?
Even though no one asked me, I thought I’d do a quick rundown of films I think would make great TV shows, starting with the little seen Half Nelson, a story about a white teacher addicted to crack trying to help his one promising student stay out of trouble and have a decent life. It wouldn’t make a wacky comedy or anything but has characters and situations worth exploring.
Another film from this year would be Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. HBO has The Sopranos but The Departed is about the Irish mob, the corrupt Boston police department and the corrupt church. A series involving the undercover mob cop could be done in the tradition of Fox’s 24, where the lead character is given a short time to either get caught and die or live long enough to get out.
The sci fi futuristic Children of Men could make an interesting Fox show, in the tradition of Lost, which just sort of seems creepy but never really goes anywhere. And though Lassie was a television show long ago, making a movie out the recent film version would be a sweet reminder of a bygone era. Isn’t it about time for a show about decades past to take to the airwaves?
For now, though, we’ll have to settle for Mr. and Mrs. Smith and The Devil Wears Prada.