Sunday, July 13, 2008

TV to movies - Yes, No, Maybe

Just as surely as summer follows spring, once a television series ends the inevitable rumors immediately begin about a big-screen version. And until the movie gets made, they never quite die down. With the television critics gathering in California last week for their annual summer confab, there's been an uptick in the chatter. In case you're keeping score at home, here's where we stand with some television-to-movie projects:

Arrested Development - Maybe: In an interview with Parade, Jason Bateman, who played Michael Bluth in the short-lived Fox comedy, was asked about the prospects for an Arrested Development movie. “I think it might happen. I’ve got my fingers crossed. It’s a question of timing. When is it too early? When is it too late? I hope it happens because we all miss each other.” Costar Jeffrey Tambor, who played his father, family patriarch George Bluth, added more grist to the rumor mill last month with an interview at "After months of speculation, I think we have finally figured out for sure that we are indeed doing an Arrested Development movie." However, the Hollywood Reporter says "Fox's official comment remains the same: no project."

Deadwood - No: It's pretty certain there won't be a Deadwood movie. Richard Pepler, the co-president of HBO, said last week: "I think it's safe to report that the likelihood of a Deadwood movie happening is slim to none." I guess that's not surprising, considering that the series, set in a South Dakota frontier town in the 1870s, only lasted for three seasons. It wasn't exactly a megahit on par with other HBO programs, like The Sopranos or Sex and the City. And it hasn't quite attracted the cult following of a series like Arrested Development.

Friends - No: Apparently, after the success of Sex and the City, rumors were flying that another group of fun and attractive New York City pals would be heading to the big screen. Friends, which aired on NBC between 1994 and 2004, has a strong following, so it would make sense. But Jayne Trotman, Warner Bros. U.K. director of publicity, says there is "no truth in the story."

The Sopranos - Fuggedaboutit: Don't expect a movie of The Sopranos, according to Peter Bogdanovich, who played Dr. Elliot Kupferberg in the HBO series, which ended its six-season run in 2007. "I spoke to [creator] David Chase about it a month ago, and he said no. He said he thought about it, and he can't figure out a way to do it. So I don't think it will ever happen. I don't think you can ever say never, but my hunch is it won't happen."

Sex and the City sequel - Highly likely: In an interview with Broadcasting & Cable magazine, HBO executive Michael Lombardo says that a sequel to this spring's Sex and the City movie is a definite possibility. “There is enormous interest by Warner Bros. and New Line to do another Sex and the City,” Lombardo said Thursday. “When that happens, how long away, I can’t say. There is absolutely interest.”

The Wire - No: Creator David Simon tells iF magazine that there are no plans for a movie version of the acclaimed HBO urban drama The Wire. "[There's] no Wire move. Unless somebody came along with the greatest standalone idea, it would be like dragging a flag through the mud. We planned an ending, it's our ending."

I finished watching all three seasons of Arrested Development a couple of months ago, and I thought it was hilarious in a bizarre kind of way, although I can see why it never really caught on with most of the viewing public. It's definitely off the wall, with a dysfunctional family that truly has to be seen to be believed. I'd love to see its extremely quirky cast reunited on the big screen. And as a big fan of The Sopranos, well, that's a no-brainer, too. But unless someone makes David Chase an offer he can't refuse, it doesn't sound very likely.

On the other hand, I've never been a fan of Friends. I guess that's a little surprising, considering how much I love that other New York City show, Seinfeld. But the few times I saw Friends, the writing wasn't very clever and the characters seemed pretty pedestrian. It was like a cookie-cutter sitcom. I tried watching a few episodes of Deadwood and The Wire, but I never felt engaged by the characters or the plot in either one of them.

As for a Sex and the City sequel, I'll be there.


Linz McC said...

I don't recall that the end of shows automatically used to require a movie. That is something that seems relatively new (besides the X-Files movie a while back). But maybe I never paid attention.

I would LOVE to see an Arrested Development movie. I get a little worried they will soil the good reputation of the show with a movie, but I sorta feel no one involved would be willing to do a bad movie.

Thank the LORD they are not doing a Friends movie. They should just leave well enough alone. That would be a disaster.

Esther said...

Hey Linz,
Yeah it does seem more and more now that everyone clamors for a movie version of their favorite tv series once it goes off the air. I don't know when the trend started.

I'd love an Arrested Development movie, too. I'm a latecomer to the series, but it's hilarious, with one of the most bizarre families I've seen on tv or in the movies. (Well, not counting like, Munsters or the Addams Family, who are actually a lot less bizarre by comparison!)