10 Best TV Series Based on Movies, Ranked by Rotten Tomatoes

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10 Best TV Series Based on Movies, Ranked by Rotten Tomatoes

As the trend of rebooting, remaking, and reviving movies and TV shows continues to flourish, some of these productions take a unique path by transitioning into different mediums. While some movies are being remade and TV shows are being rebooted, there are also instances where movies have been transformed into TV series.

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From the popular film musical Grease transitioning into a prequel TV series, Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, to the beloved The Karate Kid franchise continuing stories on Cobra Kai, these adaptions left a lasting impression on fans of the original movies and the TV shows. How do they rank according to Rotten Tomatoes?

10 ‘Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies’ (2023)

Image via Paramount+

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%

Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladiestakes audiences back four years before the events of Grease. Grease was already a popular musical starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as Danny and Sandy. Its catchy songs and iconic cultural phenomenon made the film popular over the years. Therefore, the new 2023 series was expected to match Grease’s memorable quality.

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However, the show was canceled after one season. Nevertheless, audiences were appealed to the show because of the nostalgic elements and charming core cast. Fans of the original movie Grease can appreciate the evoked memories of the beloved film in the show.

9 ‘Dominion’ (2014-2015)

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

Set 25 years after the events of Legion, Dominion follows Alex Lannon (Christopher Egan), the “Chosen One,” who has the key to humanity’s survival against angelic and demonic forces. Like the movie Legion, the series features intense action sequences and a portrayal of angels and demons.

The show received praise for its intriguing continuation of the storyline, bringing in complex characters and captivating plot twists. Dominion successfully blended elements from the film with new and compelling narratives, which resonated with fans from Legion and those discovering the series independently.

8 ‘Westworld’ (2016-2022)

James Marsden and Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld
Image via HBO

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

The 1973 film Westworld introduces audiences to Delos, an advanced amusement park where guests live out their wildest fantasies. Its TV series adaption, also called Westworld, expands on the film’s premise, diving deeper into the complex interactions between guests, androids, and the secretive Delos Corporation.

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The TV series masterfully creates more engaging character arcs and mind-bending plot twists, making it just as compelling as the original film. Although Westworld was canceled after four seasons, the show was praised for its ability to build on the film’s legacy.

7 ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ (2019-)

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Image via Disney+

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Named one of the best TV shows on Disney+, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series takes place at a fictional East High School, where the film High School Musicalwas filmed. The original film, High School Musical, was already a massive success, with the songs, characters, and storylines being beloved by fans.

While the TV series added new characters and storylines, it still gave nostalgic elements to the original film. Although High School Musical: The Musical: The Series managed to remain its own separate show, it still captured the elements of the original. Overall, the series resonated with old and new fans who love the spirit of High School Musical.

6 ’10 Things I Hate About You’ (2009-2010)

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

The 1999 romantic comedy film 10 Things I Hate About You starred Julia Stiles as Kat Stratford, who has a younger sister named Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) who can only date once her older sister does. The TV series of the same name is a modern film adaptation with different characters and plotlines.

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Despite the show being only a modern adaptation, it managed to preserve the essence of the original movie. It still incorporated a blend of nostalgia and modern storytelling, still continuing the film’s legacy.

5 ’12 Monkeys’ (2015-2019)

Aaron Stanford in '12 Monkeys'
Image via NBC

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Considered one of the best time travel movies ever made, 12 Monkeysfollows the story of James (Bruce Willis), a prisoner sent back to prevent a deadly virus outbreak. The TV series of the same name, 12 Monkeys, expands on the film’s premise, diving into the complexities of time travel and exploring the backstories of various characters.

The series continued to take viewers on a thrilling journey, just like the original film. It also had many plot twists and cleverly incorporated various timelines that maintained the spirit of the 12 Monkeys film. On top of that, the series added more depth to the original film, as viewers could understand more of the characters’ motivations.

4 ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)

Brea, an elf-like princess from The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
Image via Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance explores the events leading up to the events of its original film, The Dark Crystal. While the original film was known for its imaginative storytelling and stunning visual techniques, the series maintained its same elements while introducing new characters and storylines.

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Despite only lasting one season, fans appreciated how the series honored the film while building itself as its own individual series. Both The Dark Crystal and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance were visually stunning and emotionally engaging to both fans of the movie and new audiences of the show.

3 ‘Bates Motel’ (2013-2017)

Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore standing on a set of stairs in Bates Motel
Image via A&E

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

One of the best horror prequels, Bates Motel,explored the relationship between Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his mother Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga), delving into their dark and twisted history that led to Norman’s madness in Psycho. As Psycho was a landmark in the horror genre, Bates Motel was a way to give viewers an insight into Norman’s descent into madness.

As the series paid homage to Psycho, it masterfully crafted a thrilling and suspenseful story. Furthermore, Bates Motel even created more tension between the iconic characters of Norman and Norma Bates, making the series more compelling to watch.

2 ‘Fargo’ (2014-2023)

Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton in Fargo Season 1
Image via FX

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

The 1996 film Fargo follows Jerry (William H. Macy) as he hatches a plan to kidnap his wife for ransom, leading to a series of unfortunate events. The TV series of the same name draws inspiration from the popular film’s unique tone and setting and introduces a new set of characters each season.

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Although Fargo, the TV series, is a standalone story, they still interconnect with the original film’s themes. It remained inventive in its storylines and had a great ensemble cast.

1 ‘Cobra Kai’ (2018-)

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Image via Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

The Karate Kid movie franchise was very memorable for its training montages and themes of perseverance that struck a chord with audiences. Cobra Kaipicks up decades after the original film’s events and follows the lives of the main character Daniel (Ralph Macchio), and his formal rival Johnny (William Zabka).

The TV series continued to focus on martial arts and their rivalry while also passing down their karate skills to the next generation, including their children. Cobra Kai brought in nostalgia and fresh storytelling, appealing to longtime fans of The Karate Kid and new viewers. It breathes life into the beloved franchise.

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