1996 called, 2016 answered.
That’s the tagline for the new CW series Frequency, based on the 2000 movie of the same name. A police detective in 2016 messes around with her deceased father’s ham radio. She begins communicating with someone, only to learn it is her father in 1996. Two people, living parallel lives separated by time.
The TV adaptation has some differences from the movie, of course. But it’s one of several titles to get the small screen treatment over the years, or vice versa and otherwise. Let us explain what we mean with a few examples.
Bob Kane first introduced Batman to the world in a 1939 comic. The idea was to build off the success of Superman. More than 75 years later, he remains a popular superhero evolving into a TV series, a book, then an animated series, then back to comics again. In 1990, he appeared on the big screen for the first time. The character floundered for a while, getting multiple portrayals from Michael Keaton to Val Kilmer to George Clooney. More animated adventures followed, with another TV series, a comic and a video game. Then in 2005, Batman Begins provided the back story for what became the Dark Knight trilogy. DC Comics continues to add to their library of Batman stories, and Batman and Superman appeared together for the first time in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Star Trek was canned by NBC before it ever aired on TV. But after Gene Roddenberry schmoozed over the powers that be, a second pilot was filmed and picked up. Star Trek began its run in September of 1966 and was canceled after 3 seasons. 5 series (including the yet-to-be seen Star Trek Discovery) and 13 movies later, the Star Trek franchise celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
The saga of Dr. Richard Kimble has been reincarnated multiple times. It began as a 1960s anthology show for ABC. The final episode remains one of TV’s highest rated. It became a blockbuster movie in 1993 with Harrison Ford in the title role. After Deputy Samuel Gerard got his time in the limelight for U.S. Marshals in 1998, it was picked up by CBS as a series. It lasted only 22 episodes.
Country Superstar Garth Brooks 1990 hit song “Unanswered Prayers” tells the story of two high school sweethearts whose best laid plans take a different turn. Their paths cross years later, and it conjures up memories of the past and their “what if?” life. Lifetime adapted the song into a movie in 2010.
We would be remiss if we didn’t at least mention Friday Night Lights. While not a song, it was a movie project for country singer Tim McGraw, and later became a series starring Kyle Chandler.
The Wizard of Oz
Speaking of songs, this childhood musical was adapted from L. Frank Baum’s classic children’s novel. Its been revived numerous times. An animated sequel was produced in the ’70s, then a live action sequel in the ’80s. Oz the Great and Powerful was a prequel story released in 2013. There was also the “Wicked” book series, which told the story of the wicked witch of the west. The books were the inspiration for the broadway musical. We also can’t forget the 2007 sci-fi miniseries “Tin Man”. But our favorite is the ’90s tv movie entitled “The Dreamer of Oz”, the story of the author himself.
While we’re talking about childhood, Fox announced in 2014 that the Tom Hanks movie Big would be turned into a series. No word on whether that’s still going to happen or not. Some sites have suggested it could also be a miniseries. We’re excited about this one, and hope the project is picked up soon.
What would you include on this list? Let us know at #screenadapts.
— Rett Nelson (@batjacprod) October 27, 2016