9 classic films that are being made into TV shows

Lethal Weapon, The Lost Boys, The Italian Job, The Departed, Snatch, Taken, The X-Men, the Jack Ryan franchise all have small screen versions in the works


Something strange is happening to our movie-to-TV adaptions: they’re not awful anymore. Despite the past decades having spawned the quickly-cancelled Minority Report series in 2002 and the infamous Ferris Bueller 1990 TV show (strangely starring a young Jennifer Aniston), things are now getting better. We’ve been treated to Fargo. We’re watching the new Lethal Weapon series (on 9pm Fridays, ITV1). And, if all goes according to plan, we’ll be watching these nine big screen-to-box adaptations very soon…


1. Taken

What’s the film about?

Liam Neeson plays retired CIA operative Bryan Mills, a man with a particular set of skills. Skills he’s acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for the people who’ve kidnapped his daughter. And that’s not the end of it. He offers them a way out, says he won’t look for them if they give her up – says he won’t pursue them. However, they don’t take it and Neeson finds them. And he kills them.

That’s the first film, but swap the daughter for his wife or Mills himself in that scenario and you’ve covered the entire trilogy.

How different will the TV show be?

It’s a prequel to the films, focusing on a young Mills (played by Vikings’ Clive Standen) kicking-off his career as a CIA operative – quite literally, judging by the fistful of fight scenes squeezed into this trailer.

When’s it out?

Now! But only just. Amazon Prime recently picked up the series, which as of February 28th, is available to stream in the UK.

2. The Italian Job 

What’s the film about?

Don’t pretend like you don’t know. It’s the 1969 car-chase classic where a young Michael Caine plays thief Charlie Croker of “you’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” fame. Featuring a high-speed pursuit with gold-chocked Minis, a belter of an old-school soundtrack and a literal cliffhanger, it’s one of British cinema’s most beloved films.

What’s not to like about The Italian Job? Well, some might point to the controversial 2003 remake starring Mark Wahlberg, which swapped the streets of Italia for a Mini chase in contemporary LA.

How different will the TV show be?

We’re not entirely sure so far. It was reported in September last year that NBC had picked up The Italian Job for a series and that Rob Weiss (American Psycho, Entourage) and Benjamin Brand would pen the script. Just what the plot is we couldn’t say, although we’ve got a signal that it’s going to be similar to the remake: Donald De Line, producer of the 2003 film will executively produce the TV series.

When’s it out?

NBC hasn’t released any details about this yet.

3. The X-Men franchise

What are the films about?

Based on the Marvel comics, the Fox movie series follows a band of superhero mutants called – WAIT FOR IT – the X-Men. Their team includes claw-wielding Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman) and they’re led by oldy and baldy physic Professor X (Patrick Stewart – until the films go back in time and he turns into James McAvoy).

Including the recently released Logan, there are nine films in the franchise so far (even if the time-meddling in X-Men: Days of Future Past wiped away the events of X-Men: The Last Stand).

How different will the TV show be?

Hugh Jackman has said Logan will be his last time as central mutant Wolverine but the Fox series won’t be recasting: instead, the show will follow “two ordinary parents who discover that their children possess mutant powers. Forced to go on the run from a hostile government, the family joins up with an underground network of mutants and must fight to survive.”

However, we can expect the same tone. Bryan Singer, who’s directed most of the X-Men films will be returning to exec produce and direct the pilot.

When’s it out?


There’s currently only a pilot in the works and Fox haven’t said when this will be ready, or if it’ll make it to air.