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Life after theaters: 5 popular movies getting spun off into TV shows

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Often, the career path for a successful movie is a run of sequels. But where do you go after the big screen franchise runs its course? A new trend is seeing successful movies and movie franchises adapted into television series. Here are five new and upcoming ones.

Related: Stream your favorite TV shows and movies with Amazon Fire TV

Lethal Weapon

Starting in the late ‘80s, the Lethal Weapon franchise starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover had a major influence on the creation of the buddy cop sub-genre, spawning a host of badge-bearing bromances. Combine law enforcement with a pair of mismatched officers, and hilarity is bound to ensue. Fox is hoping that formula will translate to the small screen with an upcoming TV adaptation of Lethal Weapon. Clayne Crawford (Rectify) will take on Gibson’s old role, and Glover’s will be resurrected by Damon Wayans, famous for his own buddy comedy with Bruce Willis, The Last Boy Scout.

Just like the movie, the TV version sees Crawford’s character, Martin Riggs, move to California and join a new partner in the LAPD (Wayans’ Roger Murtaugh) after losing his wife and baby. Also confirmed to star is Jordana Brewster (Dallas), Golden Brooks (Hart of Dixie), and Kevin Rahm (Desperate Housewives). For now, Fox has picked up the pilot; there’s no official release date just yet.

Rush Hour

One of the more successful buddy cop franchises that Lethal Weapon inspired was Rush Hour, which spanned three movies beginning in 1998. All three starred Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, and combined action and martial arts with a whole lot of comedy. Based on the films, the TV series, which debuted on March 31 on CBS, stars Justin Hires (Key and Peele) as Detective James Carter and Jon Foo (WEAPONiZED) as Detective Jonathan Lee. Two episodes have aired thus far to modest ratings, reports Deadline; about 5.1 million viewers tuned in for the premiere, below all other series debuts for the network.

School of Rock

This television adaptation of the 2003 comedy starring Jack Black as a former rocker posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school, stars Tony Cavalero (Hart of Dixie) in Black’s former role. The show focuses on five 12-year-old students, played by Ricardo Hurtado (Freddy), Lance Lim (Zack), Aidan Miner (Lawrence), Jade Pettyjohn (Summer), and Breanna Yde (Tomika) who attempt to start their own rock band, encouraged by their teacher. Four episodes have aired on Nickelodeon since the show debuted on March 12, also to modest ratings.



Movie audiences were of course quite taken with Taken (sorry), and Liam Neeson’s special set of skills will be carried over to the small screen, with Clive Standen (Vikings) attempting to fill the A-lister’s big shoes. There have been two big screen sequels to the 2008 original, with Neeson reprising his menacing role in each, cementing his place in Hollywood as a bona fide action star. With a straight-to-series order by NBC, the series will be a prequel, looking at Neeson’s character Bryan Mills before building his family. The focus of the show will be on demonstrating just how Mills acquired those many skills that “make him a nightmare for people like you,” as Neeson so famously uttered in the first film.

Uncle Buck

It’s hard to imagine anyone in this role but the hilarious late John Candy. But ABC hopes a new generation will be receptive to the idea, with an upcoming TV adaptation based on the 1989 John Hughes film. In the original, slacker Uncle Buck, who has a penchant for drinking, smoking, and gambling, unwittingly finds himself taking care of his brother’s three kids. Naturally, hilarity and hi-jinks ensue.

In this new TV adaptation, Mike Epps (Fifty Shades of Black) will star in the title role. Judging from the trailer, it’s a modern-day take on the concept, interestingly still with a sort of ‘80s feel, but very different from the original. Note that this actually won’t be the first time a television adaption was attempted for the character: In 1990, CBS tried unsuccessfully to resurrect the concept with a more morbid version that saw Uncle Buck (Kevin Meaney) as a legal guardian of the three kids following the death of their parents. This latest adaptation is set to debut later this year.

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