The unplanned version of the Pilot Movie
, mirror image of The Movie
. From time to time, someone in Hollywood will see a popular movie
, and get the bright idea to turn it into a weekly series.
Unlike the Pilot Movie
, no plan to do this existed at the time the original movie was made. As a result, Adaptation Decay
runs rampant; in particular, it may be necessary to perform a substantial Retcon
on the end of the film, as a self-contained film would generally tie up its concept in such a way that the premise of the series would be preempted. An alternative strategy would be to tell an altogether different story, set in The Verse
of the movie. Of course, the more open-ended the film plot, the easier this is. Sometimes, the series will claim to be a prequel
to the film, though this idea can run into trouble if the show goes on long enough that the two crash into each other. Especially common in recent years are series that borrow nothing more than the basic premise of the movie, and go from there
Expect a substantial downgrade in visual effects. Also, a whole lot of Suspiciously Similar Substitutes
or The Other Darrin
, as the talent available for a big-budget Hollywood movie is a somewhat different pool from that for a weekly series.
are common here, especially for movies created for adults but with significant kid-demographic overlap
. Mind you, while there are plenty of cartoons for adults, these... won't be.
If the movie has a sequel, it usually won't acknowledge the series; the reverse may or may not be true.
As unlikely an idea as it sounds, there are a surprisingly large number of highly successful examples, some of which have even exceeded the original film in popularity
. Unfortunately, those tend to dwindle next to the far larger number of shows that make you wonder what the heck "someone in Hollywood" was thinking (similar to the effect of watching an Animated Adaptation
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- Probably the most successful example is M*A*S*H. Almost the entire ensemble was recast. Also, over the course of its run, it increasingly diverged from the irreverent tone of the movie. And yet, it is virtually unsurpassed in ratings. It's a prime example of Adaptation Displacement as a result, as few remember the movie or books.
- Coming in second, Stargate SG-1 replaced the entire cast (save for a few minor characters), but was able to leverage the implied potential of the movie's set-up with minimal retconning. They later reversed the process by making two DTV movies in turn based off the series.
- One of the earliest successful examples was the 1964 series Peyton Place which was based on a 1956 novel and 1957 movie. It ran for five seasons (at one point airing three new episodes a week!) and launched the careers of Mia Farrow and Ryan O'Neal.
- The Odd Couple is another example of the series improving on the movie, largely due to the talent and commitment of the two leads.
- Highlander: The Series, which took the tack of focusing on a relative of the film franchise's hero. It did Retcon the film's ending (though for many years, a number of fans insisted that the entire series took place during an unspecified break in the action of the first film), but then, so did the other three Highlander films.
- War of the Worlds followed on from the 1953 film, taking the large time lapse as justification for introducing an entirely new set of characters.
- Friday The 13th: The Series was not based in any obvious way on the film franchise for which it was named, aside from a vague suggestion that the shop-full-of-cursed-antiques around which the show revolved was the source of Jason's iconic hockey mask.
- Similarly, Poltergeist: The Legacy had little to do with the original Poltergeist.
- Freddy's Nightmares was a horror Genre Anthology based on the A Nightmare on Elm Street film series. A small number of episodes involved Freddy himself, though the character acted as narrator for the other stories.
- Baby Talk was envisioned as an adaptation of the film Look Who's Talking, though it carried over only the film's narrative device — which itself wasn't all that unusual, aside from being done in a live action medium.
- Blade The Series is the direct sequel to the third Blade movie, as many events are mentioned from all three movies.
- The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids supposedly takes place after the first movie, though it has different appearances for the characters, especially Amy and Quark, and ignoring most of the continuities of the movies save for the shrink ray, which was downplayed after the second season until the Series Finale in the third.
- Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
- Fame, a TV show based on a movie. Followed later by a musical play. And a remake of the film. And a reality show.
- In the Heat of the Night , the TV series, picks up twenty years on with a married Virgil Tibbs moving to Sparta and signing on as Chief of [nonexistent] Detectives. It's the 'New South', and everyone's anxious to seem racially progressive... except, initially at least, Gillespie. Also, of course, several dozen bad guys. Ran six seasons; despite the Adaptation Decay inherent in translating racial politics from film to TV, it was kept interesting by brilliant casting choices Carroll O'Connor and Howard Rollins.
- Planet of the Apes
- The 1968 movie has a live-action series that lasted only a single season in 1974, which more or less followed the same premise as the original film.
- There was also an Animated Adaptation dubbed Return to the Planet of the Apes, in which the ape civilization depicted in the series was more advanced than its live-action counterparts. (Ironically, this is the only adaptation that comes close to the simian world as shown in Pierre Boulle's original novel!)
- The Magnificent Seven became a TV series in 1998, thirty-eight years after the movie.
- Although Star Trek was a series before it became The Movie, the many Spin-Off series often took advantage of all the extra stuff from the films by recycling special effects, uniforms, and sets.
- The Paper Chase, which ran for one year on network TV, then was later picked up on pay cable (one of the first such series) for an additional two years. The series was less brooding in tone than the movie, and allowed much greater character development, while also exploring some complex legal topics.
- Alien Nation was another series that arguably improved on the source. Where the movie was pretty much a sci-fi/buddy-cop action flick, the series allowed much more depth to the characters, and was more of a social commentary than a shoot-em-up. The series made some slight continuity changes from the movie, making the aliens' anatomy more human (to allow less elaborate prosthetic makeup, though it was still considerable) and ignoring the mutagenic drug that was important to the film's climax. It also changed the spelling of the human lead's last name, from Sikes to Sykes. Otherwise, it kept consistent with the movie and even incorporated footage from the movie as a flashback in its pilot episode.
- Amazingly, someone thought Animal House would make a good TV series; the extremely short run of Delta House predictably proved that to be wrong.
- Classic movies that spawned justifiably forgotten TV series include Shane, The Thin Man and The Third Man.
- A Topper series aired from 1953 to 1955, using the first film's premise.
- The Sarah Connor Chronicles spun off the Terminator movies, and specifically movies 1 and 2, ignoring or even deliberately undoing points of 3.
- A strange borderline case is That's Hollywood, which is a sort-of spinoff of the That's Entertainment movies. The executive producer came from the film and the film and show had similar subject matter and titles, but That's Hollywood came from 20th Century Fox instead of MGM. Not to mention that this is a rare case where a documentary spun off a TV series this way.
- Another documentary-to-series came about when the History Channel aired a documentary called Breaking Vegas, about the MIT blackjack team of the 1990's, the same people the book Bringing Down the House and the movie 21 are about. It was successful enough that it spun off into a short-lived but entertaining series about similar casino tricksters and cheats who tried to decode roulette wheels, rig slot machines, and so forth. This might actually have been a case of a Backdoor Pilot.
- A more straight-up example is Life After People, originally an obvious one-shot documentary about what happens to the world after people are gone, cashing in on the popularity of then-Time Magazine's book of the year, A World Without Us and probably the last thing people would think of as potential series material. But after the ratings came in (it was literally the most watched program in History Channel's history), the execs just had to order it as a series.
- It's also interesting to note that Swamp Loggers and Ice Road Truckers share the same subject material as two episodes of Modern Marvels (in Ice Road Truckers's case, the Modern Marvels episode is actually a reworking of a documentary originally shown on parent network A&E).
- Weird Science - A 90s teen comedy series based on the 80s movie. It even used the Oingo Boingo song "Weird Science" from the original film as its theme song.
- Private Benjamin.
- Parenthood was made into two different TV series (1990, and 2010) with different characters, but a similar concept.
- Logan's Run, the novel, was adapted as Logan's Run, the movie, which was later remade as Logan's Run, the series. The series followed the same basic Stern Chase plot as The Fugitive, Kung Fu and The Incredible Hulk: The heroes take it on the lam (from the City of Domes), pursued by an obsessive hunter (Francis 7). Each week, they encounter a new town with its own set of troubles, sort things out, then leave before their pursuers can catch up.
- In 1975 Blazing Saddles was made into a TV pilot, Black Bart (never picked up as a series; the pilot appears on the movie DVD). The titular black sheriff is The Other Darrin (with a moustache for some reason), other characters are replaced, and the script completely lacks the spoofing and humour style of the film it spun off from.
- Crash, the series. Besides the setting, general theme, name, and producer, it had little to do with the film. It received a mixed reception from critics and ran for two seasons before going on hiatus following the death of its star, Dennis Hopper.
- The Courtship of Eddie's Father
- Clueless, from writer/director Amy Heckerling, is a fairly successful example (possibly because the movie was originally conceived as a TV series), becoming part of ABC's TGIF line-up for many years. It kept almost the entire movie cast, save of course main character Cher and her father, and got rid of the boyfriend she'd won by movie's end to leave plotlines open for relationships. And the gay friend.
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High, another Amy Heckerling high school film (see above), was turned into a forgettable short-lived series that was stripped of all the R-rated content that made the film a classic.
- Casablanca had two forgotten television adaptions.
- A rare British example was long-running cop show Dixon Of Dock Green, taken from the 1950 Ealing Studios movie The Blue Lamp despite the fact that Dixon was killed in the movie.
- Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels had a surprisingly good but short-lived spin-off series of hour-long episodes.
- The Witches of Eastwick, released in 1987 (and based on a novel), became a TV series called Eastwick. Interestingly, one of the actresses from the original movie is in the series as someone entirely different. This was the third attempt to adapt it to television, lasting half a season while the previous never moved beyond pilot.
- Mama, based on I Remember Mama, was an early television example.
- There was a short-lived spinoff of My Big Fat Greek Wedding called My Big Fat Greek Life, starring many of the same actors and following the lives of the main characters after the wedding.
- The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, a Lighter and Softer series based on the first movie.
- The Dukes of Hazzard was based on the little-recalled movie Moonrunners.
- In 1966, Shane got turned into a TV series. Because David Carradine is the natural substitute for Alan Ladd.
- One whole decade after the movie's premiere, ABC Family decided to recycle 10 Things I Hate About You as a sitcom, with a completely new cast (except for the main characters' father). The series was decently well-received by critics, but was canceled after the first season.
- The Beastmaster was released in 1982. Beastmaster: The Series first aired in 1999, and featured Marc Singer (who starred in the movie) as a recurring guest star in the third season.
- NBC's Outsourced is an adaptation of a film of the same name which you've never heard of.
- Westworld had a critically acclaimed but short-lived TV series called Beyond Westworld which explored more deeply the issues raised in the first film (and ignored the sequel).
- The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, based on short stories by Max Shulman which had also been adapted into the 1953 film The Affairs of Dobie Gillis.
- The Man Who Fell to Earth was remade as a Made-for-TV Movie in 1987 (both the original novel and screenplay were credited) — it was intended as a pilot for a series and, among other alterations, completely changed the ending to set one up.
- The 1982 comedy Diner was made into a pilot the following year that aired on CBS but wasn't made into a series. Barry Levinson directed both, but Paul Reiser was the only cast member in both.
- The King and I has the short-lived 1970s sitcom Anna and the King, not to be confused with the 1999 movie of the same name. Featuring an American Anna (played by British Samantha Eggar) and none of the Rodgers and Hammerstein music, this didn't have much to do with The King And I, other than the basic premise, Yul Brynner reprising his role as King Mongkut, and the occasional recycling of dresses and jewelry from the movie.
- There's several planned film-to-screen adaptations that never got past the Pilot:
- A pilot for a Fargo series was shot in 1997 starring Edie Falco as Marge Gunderson and directed by Kathy Bates.
- There was a live-action Clerks sitcom commissioned by Disney (who owned the film's distributor, Miramax) in 1995. In attempt to attract family viewers, the show's tone was markedly different from the film's and starred Jim Breuer as Randall. Attempts by Kevin Smith and original stars Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson to be involved with the project were shot down (Smith's script idea was rejected and O'Halloran and Anderson auditioned for the part of Dante, as Jim Breuer was already given the Randall part) and the show never survived past the pilot anyway. The later, Smith-approved animated series did better, in that it actually made it to air.
- There was an attempt to make Mr. and Mrs. Smith into a TV series. It wasn't ordered to series and, according to The Futon Critic, the pilot was awful.
- There was a pilot for an L.A. Confidential series, with Kiefer Sutherland in the Kevin Spacey role. (Sutherland's IMDB page lists it as 2003, but considering he was already doing 24 by then it was presumably made well before that.)
- There was an unsold pilot for a Catch-22 series starring Richard Dreyfuss as Yossarian.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an unusual example, in that the 1992 movie wasn't all that popular. The script writer, Joss Whedon, didn't think the final product matched his original vision, so he jumped at the chance to remake it as a TV series in 1996. The TV-series is a sequel to the original movie script, ignoring the changes made that resulted in the final product. He later made a comic of the version of the movie's events considered canon in the series.
- Ferris Buellers Day Off spawned a TV series called simply Ferris Bueller, which only lasted one season. It justified having none of the original actors by way of Recursive Canon.
- The 1997 movie Kiss Me, Guido, about a gay man renting out his spare room to a straight Italian man (hence the "guido") actually started life as a rejected sitcom pilot in 1991, becoming a stageplay along the way. It finally became the very short-lived sitcom Some of My Best Friends with Jason Bateman and Danny Nucci in 2001.
- Friday Night Lights spawned a critically acclaimed series which aired for five years.
- Timecop spawned a series which aired for nine episodes.
- Although it wasn't directly based on a movie, Aaron Sorkin drew inspiration for his series The West Wing from his film The American President. The West Wing went on to run for seven critically acclaimed years and win nineteen Emmys.
- Tremors The Series based off the cult classic films. Only had two original cast members and introduced a government lab where all kinds of creatures could appear from. The series was cancelled half way through its first season.
- Forever Knight was based off a made-for-tv film called Nick Knight. The script was rewritten for the pilot,with a few changes. The setting changed to Toronto,Nick moved from a thearer to a converted warehouse loft,the vampires were made older and more backstory added,and the male coroner became a female,likely for more sexual tension. Most of the cast was replaced,but Don Kapelos kept the role of Don Schanke. Also,Nick's '59 Cadillac became a '63 one.
- Kind of an odd example. A character, played by Martin Clunes appeared in a film Saving Grace and later two prequel miniseries. In making Doc Martin, the character was given a Re Tool with Doctor Jerk added to the character (who was originally just a Fish out of Water), and his last name was changed to Ellingham (an anagram of the last name of the show's writer Dominic Minghella).
- From Dusk Till Dawn retells and expands the events in the movie From Dusk Till Dawn with an entirely new cast, premiering 18 years after the movie did.
- The radio series The Adventures of Harry Lime, a prequel spun off from the film The Third Man. Orson Welles returned to the role he'd made famous in the film.
- The Real Ghostbusters was an Animated Adaptation of the Ghostbusters film series, and the series actually dealt with the Celebrity Paradox by having the live-action movies exist in-universe as movies "based on" the events of the cartoon series (the cartoon Ghostbusters even attend the first movie's premiere). The "real" in the title, though, comes from a legal dispute over Filmation's own Ghostbusters cartoon, which, because it was based on an older TV series, was meant to force the studio to choose another name.
- All three of Jim Carrey's 1994 breakout hits (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Dumb and Dumber, and The Mask) were made into Saturday morning cartoons, despite their mature content (though all three cartoons did have a sizeable amount of risque jokes that slipped by the censors). Out of the trio of Jim Carrey movies made into cartoons, The Mask was probably the most-remembered by 1990s cartoon nostalgists and had a longer shelf life (three seasons; two seasons ran on CBS and one ran in syndication). Dumb and Dumber lasted only a season on ABC. Ace Ventura had a good run on both CBS and Nickelodeon (and even had Seth MacFarlane as a show writer), but was only memorable for having a Crossover episode with The Mask ("The Aceman Cometh," which was the series finale of "The Mask" and "Have Mask, Will Travel," which was the season finale of Ace Ventura's second season).
- Likewise, Beetlejuice. Virtually In Name Only (for starters, the film's antagonist, now actually named Beetlejuice, was Lydia's friend, and the ghost couple played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis in the film were not shown in the cartoon). Still turned out surprisingly good.
- Godzilla: The Series, though there were actually two (animated) series; The Godzilla Power Hour (c. The Seventies) was based off the Toho Godzilla movies, the second off the 1998 American remake. Oddly enough, there's never been a Godzilla anime.
- Another example of how the adaptation can indeed be better than the original. While the 1998 Godzilla movie was widely reviled, the animated adaptation was far better received, what with that Godzilla actually acting like the Kaiju we all know and love. Mainly in how the show was about him fighting other Kaiju.
- Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! had a cartoon spinoff about a man named Dr. Gangrene trying to take over the world using tomatoes. It was pretty awesome. It even had an earworm-inducing intro.
- Clerks: The Animated Series, which had similar humor with many more fantastic elements.
- This was lampshaded in the beginning of the last episode (titled "The Last Episode Ever") where fans complained how much the show is almost nothing like the movie. Plus, they think Dante and Randal are gay.
- A Star Wars live-action television series is currently in Development Hell. As well, Star Wars: Clone Wars took place in between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
- There were two earlier animated spin-offs (Ewoks and Droids), a few live-action Ewok TV movies, and the new Clone Wars series. The Pilot Movie was released in theaters because George Lucas loved it so much.
- The second Men In Black movie blatantly disregarded the events of Men in Black: The Series, which ended with the MIB organization exposed. Of course, the series blatantly disregarded the ending of the first Men In Black before that.
- This was actually Hand Waved in the series. Kay enlightened Jay that once in a while, a Hollywood writer inadvertently makes a movie about them, forcing them to neuralize the public, pulling the movie, and relocating. The series in fact, takes place after the movie itself was released.
- "So that's why they keep making the same movies over and over again!"
- Interestingly, they made light of the fact that neither Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones reprised their roles in the animated series by having Jay and Kay comment on the choice of actors for the Hollywood movie made within the series (with the characters onscreen in the movie trailer looking like dead ringers for the original movie actors)
- Marvel Comics made a one-shot that explains why Kay is still an agent. They needed him in an unseen case.
- For Back to the Future The Animated Series, Doc created a second DeLorean time machine after the first one was destroyed in the end of the third movie; the new version was capable of going through space as well as time. Sometimes, the episode plots directly contradicted the way time travel was established to work in the movie trilogy.
- Alienators: Evolution Continues was the Animated Adaptation of the movie Evolution, picking up after the movie had ended, but working much better had one not actually seen said movie. Of course, since the movie wasn't exactly huge and the show didn't even make it to the end of its first season, this point is pretty much moot.
- Ozzy and Drix took the entertaining concept of the movie Osmosis Jones and made a kids' TV show out of it. The results were far different from the adult slapstick of the movie, and arguably more intuitive (and better).
- Instead of Bill Murray, the show takes place inside a boy named Hector. This is explained in the first episode — "alien abduction", or, in human terms, a mosquito bite. However, this episode also contradicts the ending of the film, where Bill Murray's near-death experience convinces him to finally start watching out for his health, as he's more slovenly than ever at the start of the episode.
- RoboCop also had its turns on TV, including a cartoon version (along with the usual scads of toys and other merchandising) aimed at children — which seems a strange demographic for a movie that was rated "R" for its over-the-top violence, gore and near-constant dropping of the f-bomb. The 1994 television adaptation marketed the show to a younger audience, retaining the "Media Break" segments, but toning down the violence (to such a degree that RoboCop/Murphy never killed a single person). There was also another adaptation made in 2000 (RoboCop: Prime Directives) which brought back the violence and satire of the Media Break commercials, but heaped on plenty of illogical plot twists (RoboCop hides out as a homeless man! An African-American police captain becomes the next-gen RoboCop! A neurological virus is contained in a teddy bear! RoboCop is now Alex Murphy again!) and silly acting.
- Like RoboCop, Rambo had an Animated Adaptation as well, in spite of having many of the same issues as RoboCop — like being an R-Rated movie that wasn't intended for kids. The Rambo animated series was based on a toyline, clearly an attempt to ride G.I. Joe's bandwagon.
- "Hey, someone forgot a cartoon based on an R-rated movie!" "I'll fix it!" Police Academy: The Series! HOORAY!!
- "Hey, let's cut down production costs by taking out the funniest element of the movies, Michael Winslow's voice effects, and replace them with stock audio clips of the actual things he duplicates with his voice!"
- Starship Troopers spawned a CGI-series The Roughneck Chronicles. It was surprisingly well done, but massive ongoing behind-the-scenes production problems doomed it.
- An interesting case, since while they lifted a few ideas and characters from the movie (Dizzy being female, etc.), the series was more a recycle of the book instead.
- They took their sweet time dooming it though; it only got cancelled three episodes from the end. This troper remembers seeing a fan-run online fundraiser to get the series finished just because it was so damn close, but it sadly didn't get off the ground.
- Much modern Disney Animated Canon produces these.
- Aladdin: The Series is a well-received TV series that took place after the events of the first movie's sequel, Aladdin: The Return of Jafar. The second movie was intentionally a pilot, introducing a recurring villain and the new voice cast. The third movie Aladdin and the King of Thieves was the finale, and watching the movie trilogy without knowledge of the series, things don't make any sense.
- Timon & Pumbaa spun off from The Lion King; it had surprisingly good imitations of the film's voice actors.
- The Emperor's New School was an adaptation of The Emperor's New Groove. The premise of the latter was a parody of animated Disney movies in which a self-centered emperor had to learn to be more considerate of others; the former put him in high school as preparation for becoming an emperor. Well-received, and Eartha Kitt received numerous awards for reprising her role from the film.
- The Little Mermaid TV series took place before The Little Mermaid movie happened, possibly to avoid retcons. Since she no longer was a mermaid at the end of the first movie, naming the series "The Little Mermaid" in a post-movie setting would have been a bit silly.
- 101 Dalmatians had a series with everyone living on the "Dalmatian Plantation", and primarily focused on the adventures of three of the puppies (Lucky, Rolly, Cadpig) and their friend Spot the chicken.
- There was also a Hercules cartoon series, a midquel of sorts in which he attends an academy for gods and mortals with classmates like Icarus and the seer Cassandra. Hades was also a recurring villian, even though the movie didn't have Hercules meet Hades until he was an adult.
- And Lilo & Stitch: The Series and The Legend of Tarzan.
- The Mighty Ducks. And definitely In Name Only. To clarify, the movies were about an underdog peewee-league hockey team; the show was about anthropomorphic alien duck space-police...who played hockey.
- Even Toy Story managed to inspire its own Buzz Lightyear of Star Command cartoon, though that was more of a Show Within a Show.
- The show also was born out of the direct-to-video movie of the same name, which later became the Five-Episode Pilot.
- A kinda sorta inversion: Disney was planning to make a series out of Atlantis: The Lost Empire (the casting of Cree Summer as Kida may have been a result of this). However, the movie didn't do well enough for Disney, and so the three episodes that were being worked on were turned into a direct-to-video instead. It was also originally even going to have a crossover episode of Gargoyles as well.
- Also averted with The Rescuers. Similar to Atlantis, originally, Disney was actually going to make a TV series off of that film, but due to the financial failure of Down Under (which became the only true flop of Disney's Renaissance era), combined with the death of Eva Gabor, it, as with all future Rescuers films were scrapped, and was actually eventually reworked into the show Chipand Dale Rescue Rangers instead.
- The Jungle Book had a series in the '90s called Jungle Cubs, about Baloo and company when they were...well, cubs. Strangely, Shere Khan goes back and forth from being the Aloof Ally to an actual friend. Kaa is also played as a mischievous friend rather than an outright villain (which actually leads to Fridge Brilliance considering his role in the original books).
- TaleSpin was also a series with characters based on The Jungle Book. Some argue it's one of the best Disney animated series ever, as well as the one listed below.
- Arguably, the most popular, and most remembered Disney cartoon, airing just after DuckTales, The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. This one borrowed the title from the movie it's spun from, and altered it, like Jungle Cubs.
- Spider-Man: The New Animated Series takes place after the first live-action movie. It was canceled after one season.
- Sadly considering how some fans considered to be pretty damn good (at least it dealt well with Peter's emotions, rather than the loads of drama pushed on us by the sequels).
- Dreamworks Animation broke into the business with The Penguins of Madagascar, and has Kung Fu Panda, Monsters vs. Aliens and How to Train Your Dragon slated to follow.
- An almost example: Fans of Snakes on a Plane have proposed ideas for an animated series spin-off, among other things.
- In the late '90s, an attempt was made to develop a TV series for the Fox network based on The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, to be titled Buckaroo Banzai: Ancient Secrets and New Mysteries. The project was on the verge of shooting the pilot, when Fox pulled the plug. The reason given was that the highly cerebral script was too "dense" to be commercially successful. The only surviving material is a CGI promo trailer included on the DVD release of the movie. It was most likely that new actors would have been cast in main character roles.
- Fievel's American Tails was a short-lived spin-off of An American Tail: Fievel Goes West. Though three of the original voice actors were recast, the quality of the writing and animation was noticeably much worse than the movies, and focused on slapstick a hell of a lot more. Also had many Off Model moments too.
- Toxic Crusaders! Toxic Crusaders! Warning: Earworm
- MGM's All Dogs Go to Heaven had a series, fittingly titled All Dogs Go To Heaven: The Series (with a pretty nice, sitcom-y theme song). According to the Other Wiki, the direct-to-video movie An All Dogs Christmas Carol was aired as its final episode.
- Bill & Ted had an Animated Adaptation titled Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures, which lasted for two seasons. The first season of the animated series aired on CBS and was produced by Hanna-Barbera. It actually featured Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, and George Carlin reprising their roles from the film and pretty much expanded on the time-traveling premise of the first film. The second season aired on Fox, where Executive Meddling to retool the series as a tie-in to their (quickly forgotten) live-action series, also titled Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures. The show was now animated by DiC and Bill & Ted were now played by their actors from the live-action TV series. Needless to say, the show didn't last a third season.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) was originally supposed to be an animated series of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie version of Conan the Barbarian (1982).
- Batman: The Animated Series, while not a true example, did borrow quite a few elements that were introduced in Tim Burton's two Batman films. Most obviously, the show used a slightly reworked version of Danny Elfman's theme for its opening and closing sequences.
- Dragons: Riders of Berk is a TV series to How to Train Your Dragon. Being a Sequel Series, it does remain in continuity with the film, and the animation is surprisingly high quality.