Network TV is reaching the point of critical mass similar to the one that shook the music industry a few years ago: a crucible of absolute, sheer panic. Ratings plummet every year, very few shows work or connect on a big level, and even the biggest flagship series are watching their ratings matched or superseded by upstarts from cable TV and streaming services. The result is that executives are floundering desperately, and the next development season indicates that extant hysteria, with a slew of projects that aim to translate brand-name movies to TV.
The latest baffling announcement (via The Hollywood Reporter) is a TV series version of Gregory Holbit‘s 2000 sci-fi drama “Frequency” will be developed for some reason. And with that project being revealed in the last couple of days, we thought it was a good excuse to round up all the similar productions in development; it’s an insanely long list that indicates a desire to take (semi-well-known) name properties that worked on the big screen and mine those ideas for long form narrative storytelling. At first, some of the ideas felt inspired; some of these basic movie ideas could flourish in a setting that can marinate on character and a slow build. But it’s starting to feel like the blind leading the blind, with execs simply trying to mimic what everyone else is doing. The TV process being what it is, it’s likely that a majority of these won’t make it to series (or even to the pilot stage), but it’s a pretty good indication of the creative bankruptcy that’s sinking the networks right now. Take a look below, let us know what you’re most dreading in the comments.
Another piece in the Marvel cinematic universe, this one (unlike the Netflix shows) spins directly off a movie, with Hayley Atwell‘s character from “Captain America: The First Avenger” getting an 8-episode run on ABC. Footage so far looks fun.
This HBO drama spins off Martin Scorsese‘s adaptation of Dennis Lehane‘s “Shutter Island,” focusing on the asylum of the title. Scorsese will produce and direct, and Lehane’s writing the pilot.
The skeezy early Tom Hanks vehicle is in development at ABC, with “The O.C” veteran J.J. Philbin and Josh Malmuth writing, and “Arthur” director Jason Winer helming the pilot. This will be an anthology series with each season focusing on a different wedding party. Max Winkler is co-producing and will direct episodes if it gets ordered.
Another Hanks movie heading to the big screen, over at Fox this time, this project at least has a decent names attached, with “Cougar Town” and “Enlisted” mastermind Kevin Biegel and “Men Of A Certain Age” creator Mike Royce penning the pilot.
“Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs”
Phil Lord and Chris Miller‘s excellent animated debut is becoming a traditionally-animated cartoon series through Sony Pictures, though Lord and Miller won’t be involved.
“The Devil’s Advocate”
You’ll soon be able to scream “he’s an absentee laaaaandlooooord!” from the comfort of your own home, as NBC are developing a TV version of the 1997 Keanu Reeves/Al Pacino vehicle. John Wells (“E.R.,” “The West Wing“) is producing, with “White Noise 2: The Light” writer Matt Venne penning the script.
As we said, this barrel-scraping move was announced this week, with NBC hiring “Supernatural” showrunner Jeremy Carver to “reboot” the Dennis Quaid/Jim Caviezel time-traveling father/son sentimental serial killer drama.
“Guardians Of The Galaxy”
The year’s biggest movie gets its inevitable animated spin-off on Disney XD next year. Don’t expect the movie cast to be involved.
Will Smith‘s rom-com hit gets a small-screen rejig, with Smith himself executive producing. Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, who were behind the underrated “Josie and the Pussycats” (and the abominable “Surviving Christmas” and “Leap Year,” in the interests of balance) are writing the project for Fox.
The CW, of all places, are developing a new version of the 2006 Edward Norton/Jessica Biel magic-themed sleeper hit, moving the setting from Vienna to New York but keeping the period setting. “True Blood” writer Mark Hudis is the man in charge.
“In Good Company”
I mean, Jesus Christ. This one’s becoming a TV show. In case you don’t remember “In Good Company” (i.e. you’re someone who didn’t work directly on the film), it was a reasonably genial rom-com where Dennis Quaid is forced to work for a younger guy (Topher Grace), who’s also dating his daughter. Original writer/director Paul Weitz is producing, with “Happy Endings” writers Josh Bycel and Jonathan Fener.
“In The Heat Of The Night”
Norman Jewison‘s 1967 Best Picture Oscar-winner was an NBC show already in the 1980s, but Mister Tibbs should be returning to the screens as a cable drama on Showtime, courtesy of Tate Taylor (“The Help,” “Tate Taylor”).
CBS are working, with “Sleepy Hollow“‘s Kurtzman and Orci and original star Bradley Cooper on a series based on the 2011 sci-fi drama about a mind-altering drug.
“Marley & Me”
“Sex And The City” writer Jenny Bicks is working on this small-screen version of John Grogan‘s book, already turned into a hit comedy-drama with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston. That movie’s director David Frankel will helm the pilot: at this stage, it’s unclear whether a dog will die at the end of every episode or just in the finale.
Already with a pilot ordered by Fox, this follows up Steven Spielberg‘s excellent 2002 sci-fi blockbuster, with a male pre-cog struggling to adjust after the end of pre-crime, teaming up with a female detective. Spielberg will executive produce, and “Godzilla” writer Max Borenstein wrote the pilot.
“Monster In Law”
The 2005 Jennifer Lopez/Jane Fonda comedy gets a multi-cam sitcom re-do from “30 Rock” writer John Riggi and “The Carrie Diaries“‘ Amy B. Harris. The project is set up at Fox.
“The Mortal Instruments”
The young-adult fantasy misfire comes to the small screen, with the movie’s backers Constantin Film continuing to work with author Cassandra Clare. “Helix” writer Ed Decter is in charge, and while there’s no network attached yet, let’s face it, this is pure CW fare.
“The Hangover” writer Scot Armstrong is developing a TV comedy for NBC based on the John Ritter v. annoying kid 1990s comedy franchise.
The 1980s Val Kilmer-starring college comedy has been re-envisioned as a workplace sitcom by “Parks & Rec” writers Craig DiGregorio and David King, with Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison company developing. It’s set up at NBC.
Supposedly the next “Resident Evil” movie will be the last, but don’t get too excited: Constantin Films are also developing a TV series.
The Jackie Chan/Chris Tucker action/comedy franchise is brought to TV by original director Brett Ratner. CBS have committed to making a pilot, which is being written by “Scrubs” creator Bill Lawrence .
MTV just picked up this spin-off of Kevin Williamson‘s beloved post-modern slasher franchise, which reportedly won’t even feature the iconic Ghostface killer. It’ll begin airing next October.
“School Of Rock”
Richard Linklater’s biggest hit is becoming a Nickelodeon kids’ show, with Linklater surprisingly executive producing. 13 episodes have already been ordered.
Mark Wahlberg is producing this action drama based on the forgotten 2007 movie he headlined, with the project set up at TNT. “The Shield” writer John Hlavin is penning the script.
“The Truman Show”
Paramount are raiding their archives, and along with the aforementioned “School Of Rock,” they’re working on versions of “Ghost,” “The Terminator” and Peter Weir‘s fantasy classic, though all are in very early stages.
One of the closest to making it to air, this is Syfy‘s take on Terry Gilliam‘s ace time-travel sci-fi, with “X2″ actor Aaron Stanford playing Bruce Willis‘ role, and Brad Pitt‘s character turned into a woman. It’ll hit screens in January.
There’s already been one TV take on the John Hughes movie in the early 1990s, but ABC are attempting another, with “Mad TV” writers Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley. The families of Johns Candy and Hughes have raised objections, but it doesn’t seem to have had the same effect as when Cameron Crowe did it.
Saving the best for last, this sees “The Dark Knight” and “Interstellar” writer Jonathan Nolan team up with his wife Lisa Joy for a new take on Michael Crichton’s robot/cowboy theme park opus. J.J. Abrams is producing the project for HBO, and Nolan just shot the pilot, which features a top-notch cast including Anthony Hopkins, James Marsden, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton and Ed Harris.