I couldn't work up any enthusiasm to go see 21 Jump Street. The previews made it look like a mass of pratfalls and dubious physical humor, and I didn't really want to take the chance on it. And, of course, I've never seen the show it was based on. If I had, maybe I would've wanted to try to catch all the in-jokes or maybe just see how badly they ruined the whole thing. But, typically, no one ever seems to remake anything I've actually watched. There's Star Trek, of course, but aside from that I seem to have missed the boat on, well, everything.
In an effort to fix this, I've recently added some Dark Shadows DVDs to my Netflix queue. But I realize now that I need to plan ahead more. With the help of the imdb, I've compiled this helpful checklist of upcoming flicks based on television shows, offered here for your use in case you never bothered to tune into Baywatch, either.
Dark Shadows - U.S. release date 11 May 2012
The film that inspired this list, Dark Shadows was originally a sort of gothic soap opera that ran from 1966 to 1971, revolving around the Collins family who lived, appropriately enough, in Collinsport, Maine. "Campy" seems to be the word most often used to describe the show. As with most soap operas, rehearsal time was minimal, and most shots were finished in one take -- even if that take had a few fumbled lines or microphones visible above the actors' heads. But if you want to see the original tormented vampire heartthrob, Barnabas Collins (originally played by Jonathan Frid), you'll have to jump ahead to the 1967 episodes -- none of the supernatural elements the show is now famous for were even introduced until six months in, and since this show aired every weekday, that means you need to jump ahead to episode #211 before you see any dead men walking.
I'm pretty sure it's only being remade at all because Johnny Depp had a man-crush on Barnabas when he was growing up and has now pestered Tim Burton into making this new version just for him. The new version also seems to play things for laughs deliberately, as opposed to the more accidental laughs of the series.
Baywatch - U.S. release date 2013 (theoretically; originally slated for 2012)
No, I really haven't ever seen any episodes of the series, which ran from 1989-2001. Having seen episodes of Knight Rider I knew David Hasselhoff couldn't really act and the basis of the show didn't thrill me, though obviously a show about lifeguards is the perfect excuse for having a wardrobe department filled entirely with swimsuits and a cast filled entirely with beautiful people to wear said swimsuits. Anyway, as far as I can tell the series was, in fact, a drama, though the film version is listed as a comedy. That's a common trend for some reason. I get it with shows like Dark Shadows, where the passage of time would probably have made it campy even without the many goofs, but it's a little less logical here. Maybe nobody ever took the series seriously -- despite it holding the world record as the most-watched TV series -- and now it's safe to admit that.
Considering the rights were originally purchased in 2004 and nothing's been done with them since, I'm not holding out much hope for this one, even if you like comedies about people in danger of drowning. The very brief description mentions "two unlikely prospective lifeguards," so I'm terrified that one of them might be Will Ferrell.
Petticoat Junction - U.S. release date 2013
I also haven't seen any episodes of this series, which ran from 1963-1970, except for a minute or two here and there while checking to see what was on the rerun channel. (I don't have cable, but NBC has a sub-channel or something that shows classic stuff.) Anyway, I vaguely remember some episodes of both Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies from reruns, shows which often crossed over with Petticoat Junction in a weird sort of ongoing trilogy, but somehow I missed one out of the three entirely. It's about a widow and her three daughters (with an old uncle around, presumably to be cranky) who run the local hotel in a town with the charming name of Hooterville. I'm not sure exactly how much of a double-entendre that was meant to be at the time.
It was a comedy then and it will still a comedy, though it's also listed as a musical, heaven help us.
CHiPs - U.S. release date 2013
From 1977 to 1983 -- actually a longer run than I thought -- viewers thrilled (hopefully) to the adventures of the California Highway Patrol on the freeways of Los Angeles. I know I've seen some episodes of this, but darned if I can remember anything about them. One thing that's easy to guess, though, is that with a bigger budget as well as a bigger screen, there will be a lot more cars crashing, exploding, etc., which should at least help bring in the teenage boys. I'm sure they'll have some female officers as well for that, something that the series wasn't so big on, naturally. The female officer with the most episodes to her credit was in 37 of the 139, with two other women listed at 21 and 22 episodes apiece. So, in other words, this will probably be your typical summer action movie, with a nostalgic name on it to help draw in the older folks. And it'll probably be in 3-D for maximum crashing effect.
The Fall Guy - U.S. release date 2013
This one I vaguely recall. The series ran from 1981-1986, and my sister liked it, therefore I had to watch it, too. That's how I got hooked on Star Trek. Anyway, it's a show about a Hollywood stuntman who does bounty hunting on the side. Talk about living dangerously. I remember thinking that it was cool that there was a female stunt person on the team, even though now I can't recall seeing her do any stunts, though that's probably my faulty memory. Also look for Markie Post in a pre-Night Court role as a bail bondswoman.
But if Baywatch is the perfect excuse for swimsuits, this is the perfect excuse for death-defying maneuvers at every turn -- so again, look for it in the summer and in 3-D.
Dallas - U.S. release date 2014
Texas oil millionaires behaved badly on this nighttime soap opera that ran from 1978-1991, featuring plenty of wheeling, dealing, and fooling around. It mainly revolved around two brothers, one good, one bad, and had what is still probably one of the most infamous "it was all a dream!" copouts ever seen in the entertainment world. Even I remember that, and I'm not sure I've seen more than five or ten episodes of this.
There's also a new version of the TV series starting up on TNT later this year, featuring some of the original cast, like the aforementioned brothers, played by Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy. That, however, is apparently going to be much more serious than the film, which was supposed to star John Travolta, but now that he's been paid off to go away, J.R., one of the most famous slimy rich guys ever, is now supposedly going to be played by Ben Stiller. Ugh.
T.J. Hooker - U.S. release date 2014
For four years (1982-86), William Shatner tried to be an action hero again, in hopes of living down his role as Captain Kirk. Eventually, he wisely realized that there was no living down such a thing and started reveling in his fame among geeks, but in the mid-eighties he was still trying to forge a new sort of career for himself, and he ended up sliding over the hoods of cars as a police officer. I'm fairly sure the pretty girl didn't get to have many action scenes in this one, though, much like ChiPs.
Again, it's gone from possibly unintentionally funny dramatic series to a comedy, and I think I know why. Rumor has it that William Shatner will be returning to reprise his role, with some sort of semi-comedic, semi-action star like Seann William Scott to play T.J. Hooker Jr., also a cop. I guess the admiration of geeks would wear a little thin after a while.
The Night Stalker - U.S. release date 2014
This series, detailing the supernatural adventures of an investigative reporter named Carl Kolchak in the mean streets of Chicago, ran for just one season, beginning in 1974, but it still has a cult following. The last remake attempt, a TV series in 2005, was even less successful, lasting 10 episodes as compared to the original series' 20 episodes. Kolchak just shouldn't have a partner, so it's no wonder it flopped so badly.
It was sort of an early X-Files, with reporters instead of federal agents, and of course no one ever believed Kolchak when he would start insisting that there were vampires, werewolves, and zombies roaming around, and no one knew about it except him. I really liked this show -- my sister was a huge fan, and I bought her the series on DVD for Christmas one year. But now the bad news: Johnny Depp apparently had a man-crush on Kolchak when he was a kid, too, so he's muscled his way into playing the part. *sigh*