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10 TV Shows That Are Better Than the Movies They’re Based On

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10 TV Shows That Are Better Than the Movies They’re Based On

Television shows have been around for several decades, entertaining audiences from all walks of life. With the advent of streaming services, the television industry has only grown and expanded, providing us with a vast array of shows to choose from. However, what many people may not know is that a lot of these shows are actually based on movies. Yes, you heard that right! It’s a classic case of the adaptation game, where filmmakers take a story from one medium and adapt it for another.

The adaptation process can either be a hit or miss, but in some cases, the television version of the story turns out to be better than the movie. This may come as a surprise to many, considering the movies are often big-budget productions with an extensive cast and top-notch special effects. But, the extra time and room to develop characters and storylines in a television show can make all the difference.

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For instance, imagine a story that unfolds over the course of several hours, rather than just a couple of hours in a movie theater. This allows for deeper character development and exploration, as well as the possibility of diving into complex subplots. This is something that movies, with their limited run time, often struggle to achieve. Additionally, television shows also have the luxury of using multiple episodes to build tension and suspense, something that movies usually have to do in a compressed amount of time.

With that said, television shows based on movies are sometimes better than their movie counterparts. The extra time, depth of character development, and ability to explore complex subplots are just some of the reasons why these television shows often outshine the movies. So, next time you’re looking for a good show to watch, don’t hesitate to give one of these adaptations a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find!


10 M*A*S*H (1972 – 1983)

20th Television

The movie M*A*S*H was a dark comedy that tackled the serious subject of the Korean War. The film was a huge critical and commercial success, inspiring a television show with the same name. The TV show M*A*S*H, which aired from 1972 to 1983, was a more lighthearted take on the subject, with an emphasis on humor and satire. While the movie was certainly impactful in its own right, the television show is considered by many to be the superior of the two.

One of the reasons for this is the extra time that the television show had to explore its characters and storylines. While the movie focused primarily on the war and its effects on the soldiers, the TV show was able to delve into the personal lives of the characters and their relationships with one another. This allowed for a more well-rounded look at the characters and their experiences, making the show more relatable and enjoyable for audiences.

9 Alice (1976 – 1985)

Alice 1976

The movie Alice was a quirky comedy about a woman trying to make ends meet in a difficult economy. The film was well-received, but it was the television show that captured the hearts of audiences. The show, which was also called Alice, was a more lighthearted take on the subject, with an emphasis on humor and character development. While the movie was certainly entertaining, the television show was able to do more with its subject matter.

The win for the show was received due to the depth of its characters. The show had a talented cast of actors who were able to bring their characters to life in a way that was both entertaining and relatable. The show also had a strong emphasis on humor, with witty one-liners and absurd situations that kept audiences laughing. Furthermore, the show was able to explore themes such as friendship and family in a way that was poignant and touching.

8 Godzilla: The Series (1998 – 2000)

Godzilla: The Series (1988 – 2001)

If you’re a fan of giant monsters rampaging through cities, then you’re likely familiar with Godzilla. The classic monster first hit the big screen in the 1950s and has since become a pop culture icon. However, after a trilogy based on the less-than-beloved ’90s American film failed to materialize, a sequel was instead presented in a kid friendly cartoon that focused on main characters from that film along with the offspring of the titular monster.

What set Godzilla: The Series apart from the movies was its animation. Through its visually stunning, ahead-of-its-time cinematography and enjoyable characters, the show lays emphasis on fleshing out the story arc. While the films focused primarily on the epic battles between Godzilla and other monsters, the show delved into the personal lives of its characters and the relationships between Godzilla and the humans around him. This allowed for a more well-rounded look at the characters and their experiences, making the show more relatable and enjoyable for audiences.

7 Stargate SG-1 (1997 – 2007)

Richard Dean Anderson and Christopher Judge
MGM Domestic Televisiion

Enter the world of Stargate SG-1, where the impossible becomes reality. This science fiction series, based on the 1994 film Stargate, takes viewers on an epic journey through the universe, exploring new worlds and civilizations beyond our imagination. With its diverse cast of characters and its compelling storytelling, Stargate SG-1 quickly became a fan-favorite, captivating audiences for ten seasons.

Stargate SG-1 stands out in its ability to seamlessly blend action, adventure, and humor, creating a unique and unforgettable viewing experience. The show’s diverse cast of characters, each with their own distinct personalities and motivations, bring depth and nuance to the story, making it a true standout in the science fiction genre. From the exploration of ancient civilizations to the threat of intergalactic warfare, Stargate SG-1 offers a non-stop thrill ride that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.

6 Fargo (2014 – Present)

Why Fargo Creator Noah Hawley Returned for Season 4 After Thinking He Was Done (1)

The Coen brothers’ classic film Fargo has become a cult favorite since its release in 1996. The film’s quirky characters, dark humor, and offbeat storyline have made it a fan favorite for years. However, the television show Fargo brought the film to life. With its talented cast, exceptional writing, and incredible production values, the show has become a critical darling and a fan favorite in its own right.

What sets Fargo apart from the film is its ability to tell new and unique stories within the same universe. Each season of the show follows a new set of characters and storylines, allowing for a fresh and exciting look at the world of Fargo. This has allowed for a more in-depth exploration of the quirky and offbeat characters that have become a staple of the Fargo universe. Whether you’re a fan of the original film or a newcomer to the world of Fargo, the television show is an excellent example of what can be accomplished with a classic story and a talented team of writers, actors, and production crew.

Related: These Are the Best TV Anthologies of All Time

5 Friday Night Lights (2006 – 2011)

Friday Night Lights - S1E22
NBCUniversal Television Distribution

Experience the heart of small-town America with Friday Night Lights. Based on the 2004 film of the same name, this critically acclaimed drama series captures the essence of high school football and the lives of those who surround it. Set in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas, Friday Night Lights is a powerful exploration of human relationships, dreams, and the American spirit.

Friday Night Lights differs from the original movie because of its focus on character development and its emotionally charged storytelling. The show’s exceptional writing and its talented ensemble cast bring life to its characters, making them relatable and compelling. Whether it’s the struggles of Coach Eric Taylor, the dreams of quarterback Matt Saracen, or the triumphs and tragedies of the students of Dillon High School, Friday Night Lights tells a universal story of hope and perseverance that resonates with audiences of all ages. With its powerful themes and its touching character arcs, Friday Night Lights is a true masterpiece in the world of television.

4 What We Do In The Shadows (2019 – Present)

Nick Kroll in What We Do in the Shadows
Disney Media Distribution

What We Do In The Shadows is a hilarious and unique take on the traditional vampire genre. The show, which is based on the 2014 mockumentary of the same name, follows a group of vampires who have been living together in Staten Island for hundreds of years. The show takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to the vampire genre, poking fun at the various vampire stereotypes and conventions, while still managing to be genuinely funny. The show has been praised for its excellent ensemble cast, as well as its unique blend of humor and horror.

While the original movie was a cult classic, the television series has managed to take the story to new heights. With its longer run-time, the show was able to explore the various relationships between the characters in more detail, as well as delve deeper into the various subplots and themes. Additionally, the show’s unique blend of humor and horror has helped to make it a critical and commercial success, as well as a fan-favorite. The show’s success is a testament to the power of adaptation, and how a good story can be transported from one medium to another with success.

3 Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2003)

The Cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Warner Bros.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer is a groundbreaking television series that brought a new level of innovation to the traditional vampire genre. The show, which was based on the 1992 movie of the same name, followed Buffy Summers, a young woman chosen to fight against the forces of evil. The show was praised for its excellent storytelling, as well as its exploration of deeper themes such as love, loss, and the nature of good and evil. The show also had a strong and loyal fan base, and has since been considered a cult classic.

From the epic battles against the forces of evil to the everyday struggles of growing up, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a rollercoaster of emotions, a true testament to the power of great storytelling. With its captivating characters, its thought-provoking themes, and its fearless approach to the supernatural, Buffy stands as a towering achievement in the world of television, a true must-watch for any fan of the genre.

Related: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Why the Series is Still Important 25 Years Later

2 12 Monkeys (2015 – 2018)


The science fiction series 12 Monkeys took the time-travel concept from the 1995 film and ran with it, delving deeper into the characters and the consequences of their actions. With its longer run-time, the show was able to explore complex themes and subplots, making it a critical success and a fan-favorite. The show’s focus on the idea of saving the future and the consequences of time travel made it a standout in the genre.

The television adaptation was able to bring the story to life in a whole new way, with its emphasis on excellent storytelling and character development. It showed how a well-written story can be adapted and expanded upon in new and exciting ways, making it a true testament to the power of good writing.

1 Westworld (2016 – Present)

Warner Bros.

A world where the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred, Westworld transports its viewers into a dystopian universe filled with advanced artificial intelligence and limitless possibilities. The television series, inspired by the 1973 film of the same name, explores the depths of human consciousness and the consequences of technology gone wrong.

Westworld is a visual feast, with its captivating cinematography, impressive special effects, and its intricate world-building. The show is a true testament to the power of great storytelling, with its multi-layered plot, compelling characters, and its thought-provoking themes. From the very first episode, viewers are drawn into a world of mystery and intrigue, with twists and turns that keep them on the edge of their seats. With its rich and complex world, Westworld stands as a towering achievement in the realm of science fiction, a true must-watch for any fan of the genre.

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