As we’ve seen far too often over the past couple of decades, Hollywood has a bad habit of forgoing original creations and instead simply throwing ideas with which moviegoers are already familiar with into the cinematic microwave and rewarming them so they seem hot enough on the outside to convince viewers to take a bite only for them to discover the inside is disappointingly lukewarm once they’re in the theater.
“I want to see something new; something fresh,” I tell anyone who will listen. It’s a statement usually met with blank stares or requests for me to be quiet and stop ruining my young cousin’s birthday party.
It’s a trend that frustrates me to no end—unless the decision is made to rehash something I like. In that case, I’m all for it.
The latest example of this was the announcement of Clarice on CBS, a Silence of the Lambs sequel series that will follow —you guessed it—FBI agent Clarice Starling, who was originally portrayed by Jodie Foster.
This seems like a fantastic idea given that Clarice is a character with a lot of depth who continued to have a career with the Bureau following her run-in with Buffalo Bill in the 1991 thriller that scored an Academy Award for Best Picture. There should be no shortage of material with Agent Starling coming face-to-face with a cavalcade of unsavory characters each week.
Not only did this announcement buck me from my “Original Content Is Bad (Unless I Say It’s Good)” high horse, it got me thinking about what other movies need to receive the TV sequel treatment.
Take these, for example.
This Is Spinal Tap
1984’s This Is Spinal Tap is my favorite comedy of all time and perhaps even my favorite movie ever.
The film deals with the trials and tribulations of an aging heavy metal band as they try to navigate the changing tides of the music industry in the mid-80s.
Spawned from the minds of comedy legends Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, and Rob Reiner, it perfectly encapsulates the excess and over-the-top nature of heavy metal.
This Is Spinal Tap features an unrelenting parade of hilarious scenes including the oft-quoted “These go to 11” exchange where guitarist Nigel Tufnel gives documentary filmmaker Marty DiBergi a rundown of his gear. There’s also the infamous miniature-Stonehenge debacle, which is an absolute comedic triumph.
Given today’s climate of heavy metal bands of yesteryear hitting the road to bid their fans a final farewell, it seems like a perfect opportunity for The Tap to do the same by way of a TV series.
All three of the band members are still active today and a miniseries that sees an aging Spinal Tap reuniting for one last go of it would not only be a perfect final chapter in the story of the world’s loudest band but also a great send-off for some of comedy’s greatest characters.
Dumb and Dumber
While 2014’s Dumb and Dumber To left a bit to be desired, there’s no denying the chemistry between Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey as Harry and Lloyd, respectively. So, perhaps the duo would be perfect for a TV series; a comedy that could follow the pair’s adventures each and every episode.
Both Carrey and Daniels have taken stabs at doing some television work, so they have some familiarity with the small screen. Additionally, the stigma that used to exist concerning big-screen actors doing television seems to have evaporated.
A Dumb and Dumber series would be a perfect vehicle to have some major guest stars drop in. I almost see it as Curb Your Enthusiasm but with two absolute imbeciles. All you have to do is get the Farrelly Brothers on board and this thing basically writes itself.
I’ll concede that a lot of the other ideas here are pipe dreams but I actually can’t believe this hasn’t happened yet.
You can either bring back ol’ Bruce Willis as John McClane or go the ever-popular route of casting a younger actor as his protege (as long as that actor isn’t Justin Long). Either way, you’ve got a template for action-packed episodes every week. I kind of like the idea of having one big overarching Hans Gruber-esque villain that would be the primary antagonist but you could easily mix it up with some “Monster of the Week”-style baddies.
A Die Hard series would be an absolutely perfect addition to any streaming service’s lineup. I’m almost wondering if I should have held onto the idea.
If anyone wants to take it, all I request is a quick shoutout while you accept your Golden Globe.
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
When are aliens not a hot commodity? Never. They’re never not a hot commodity.
Close Encounters is a classic that had the misfortune of being released in November of 1977 just a few months after another space movie that received a fair amount of attention: a little George Lucas joint called Star Wars.
Enough time has passed since the original without any sequels to speak of that I think it would almost feel like an original idea.
Before I get into what I think the premise of a Close Encounters series should be, I feel obligated to warn you, the reader, of spoilers (although it’s been out for 42 years, so if anything gets spoiled, it’s really on you).
The original movie ends with Roy Neary, the main character who was played by Richard Dreyfus, boarding an alien spacecraft and leaving the planet. However, Roy had kids, and I’m sure that at some point in their lives at least one of them was slightly curious about what happened to their old man.
I’m thinking that the series could follow the present-day version of one of the Neary children as they search for answers to their father’s disappearance and uncover the requisite government conspiracy that you have to have in any movie or show about aliens.
If you can get Spielberg to produce, all you have to do is sit back and watch the accolades roll in.
We could spend hours having a debate about what the best sports movie of all time is, but when it comes to comedies inspired by the world of athletics, Slapshot is the front-runner in my book.
The Goon films of recent years have taken up the mantle when it comes to debaucherous hockey films but there would just be something so cool about seeing the Charlestown Chiefs hit the ice again.
The show could feature an old-school coach coming into town and trying to get today’s hockey players to adopt a brand of puck not seen since player-coach Reggie Dunlop and The Hanson Brothers laced ‘em up.
It’s a series that would be funny while also delving into the lives of players trying to make a go of things down in the minor leagues, which would be nothing short of riveting. All we need now is a network executive somewhere to put on the foil and start getting things going.