Television shows can be a great way to tell a longer story, while introducing new actors and budding talent. When a show ends, usually the characters go the way of the Dodo bird and the series either becomes iconic or a new member of the TV show graveyard. Some shows on television come to an end through natural progression, while others reach a seedier demise. Sometimes fans are left craving for more, but it is still a better alternative than a dwindling storyline that cheapens the entire series. While people weren’t exactly thrilled with The Sopranos ending, at least the series wasn’t cancelled mid storyline, and fans still look back at the show with wide-eyed appreciation.
Other popular television series maintained such a massive fan base that the only natural progression was to transition onto the big screen. Shows like Entourage and Sex and the City progressed to the silver screen, and helped to keep fans entertained even after the series finale. However, not all television shows have been lucky enough to get through the entire storyline, and even fewer have made it onto the big screen.
Television execs are notorious for making blunders in series decisions, and some of the biggest shows of all time were turned down when they were originally pitched. Oftentimes a show’s true genius isn’t revealed until after the show has been cancelled, and fans are left wondering what happened to their favorite characters. Check out our list of 10 cancelled television series that would be amazing on the big screen, and see which shows would make a perfect transition to film.
10 Time of Your Life
Usually a hit television show has maybe one character that has a breakout moment, but Party of Five was a show that spawned the careers of numerous actors. Matthew Fox, Neve Campbell, and Jennifer Love Hewitt all hailed from this heartwarming TV drama. After the show went off the air, a spin-off was created to focus on the Sarah Reeves Merrin character played by Jennifer Love Hewitt. The promo stated, “You turn to chapter two, wherein the heroine comes to the big city in search of herself. So, here I go.” Even though Jennifer Garner co-starred in the show, it was cancelled mid-season. With the catchphrase, “You’re never too young to start over,” this would be a great film focusing on young love and new beginnings.
9 Rookie Blue
After an extremely successful run on ABC, it was announced in 2015 that Rookie Blue would not return for a seventh season. While there seems to be an abundance of cop shows on TV, this show was a bit unique in that it took place in Canada and revolved around a female police officer and her experiences as a rookie. The show starred Missy Peregrym, and featured some pretty graphic and shocking situations. It would make a great adaptation on the big screen, even if it used a different starring actress. The film could delve into some of the more current issues facing the police force, and even touch on the complexities of a woman in a male-driven occupation.
8 Pushing Daisies
A comedy, a musical, and a mix of the supernatural; Pushing Daisies revolved around a boy who had the ability to bring back the dead with a single touch. However, he must retouch them or else someone will die in their place. He parlays this ability into a crime solving venture, and there is even a love triangle mixed into the plot. The show was shot in vivid colors, sometimes the characters would spontaneously break out into theatrical song and dance numbers, and it highlighted the amazingly talented Kristen Chenoweth. The series being cancelled was largely due to the writers' strike, and seems like it would be a great feature film akin to movies like Mamma Mia! and Into the Woods.
Only lasting three seasons on HBO, Hung told the story of a man resorting to male prostitution due to his financial struggles. It was a mix of a comedy and drama, with some steamy sex scenes mixed in. Audiences felt sympathy for the lead character, and it tells a very different story of prostitution than what’s typical on the big screen. This would make a great film that shows the male side of the sex industry, without being so ridiculously over-the-top, as in Deuce Bigalow. Rather than casting the same group of actors, the main lead should be a current heartthrob like Zac Efron or Robert Pattinson– now that’s a film that needs to be made!
Only lasting three seasons, Deadwood was a highly acclaimed series on HBO that won an astounding eight Emmy Awards. On numerous lists for television shows that were cancelled too soon, the series featured a number of well-known characters like Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok. Perfect for the big screen, a film adaptation would be able to get through the time jumps to help enhance the story of evolving from a small camp to a thriving town. Introducing a real structure in civilization, this is a story that hasn’t yet fully been told. Although many of the characters were free to pursue their own passion projects, enough time has passed where many of the actors should be willing to come together to put this story on the big screen.
Cancelled after only two seasons, Carnivàle took place in the 1930’s around the time of the Dust Bowl. Each episode was shot in a very Quentin Tarantino style, where the audience is left jumping back and forth within the same storyline. This combined with the nostalgic environment makes for a great addition to the film world. Critics raved about the cinematography of the show already, and the public has always been fascinated by the old carnival styles that elicit memories of a time lost. American Horror Story had one of its most popular seasons in Freak Show, but alas, each new season brings on a new theme. Carnivàle could be the perfect antidote for those looking for more of that old world carnival nostalgia on film.
Set in 1st century BC, HBO’s Rome television series followed the transition from a Republic to an Empire but told the story through the lives of two lowly soldiers. There have been numerous screen adaptations based on the lives of Julius Caesar, Marc Antony and Cleopatra with each having their own depiction of actual events but while much of Rome was a fictional portrayal, Titus Pollo and Lucius Vorenus were the only soldiers that were actually mentioned by name in the true writings of Julius Caesar. Whether it’s a remake of the story or a continuation to let fans know what really happened after Pollo walked off with Cleopatra’s son at the end of the series, this is a story that was made to be on the big screen.
After only two seasons on HBO, Enlightened was cancelled in 2013. As a mix of a comedy and a drama, the series followed the character, Amy Jellicoe, through a mental breakdown and her subsequent journey for enlightenment. Films featuring women going through a transformative stage in their lives have always done well in terms of ticket sales and critical acclaim. From Reese Witherspoon’s portrayal in Wild to Jennifer Aniston’s portrayal in Cake, Hollywood actresses would love the chance to delve into a role with depth. While Enlightened starred Laura Dern, that doesn’t mean the film adaptation has to stick with the same actress.
2 Dead Like Me
Only lasting two seasons, Dead Like Me was a Showtime television series that put a whole new spin on death. Ellen Muth played the character of George Lass, who joins a group of grim reapers after her untimely death. While this young girl doesn’t seem like the typical grim reaper figure, Brad Pitt proved death comes in all forms in Meet Joe Black. On the big screen, this might be a good role for an actress in the midst of transitioning into adulthood; whether it’s Emma Watson or Selena Gomez, audiences might like to see how the grim reaper goes about their job, and transitions into the world of the undead with purpose.
1 My So-Called Life
Airing on ABC, My So-Called Life was a drama that dealt with all the behind-the-scenes drama of the teenage characters and the parent’s marital relationship. Spawning the careers of both Claire Danes and Jared Leto, the show was released before its time and never reached its full potential. Since then, it has received a cult following and is a favorite for online streaming. The series left on a cliffhanger, leaving fans wondering whether or not Jordan and Angela would end up together or if she would finally see that Brian was the one. If it made it to the big screen, it would be interesting to see who the new parental relationship would be and what the teenagers would have as an all new set of problems.