Follow TV Tropes

This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.


Recycled: The Series

Go To

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, Suspiciously Similar Substitutes or The Other Darrin for most or even all of the cast, as the talent available for a big-budget Hollywood movie is a somewhat different pool from that for a weekly series.

Animated Adaptations 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).

Compare or overlaps with Artifact Title.

Examples (listed under the adaptation's media):

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Eastern Animation 
  • Lilo & Stitch managed to receive a third show in 2017 called Stitch & Ai, a Chinese series co-produced with American animators (including those who worked on the first series mentioned under "Western Animation"). Like with the Stitch! anime mentioned under "Anime and Manga", Stitch and a number of other characters end up somewhere else, this time it's the Huangshan mountains of China, getting another new best friend in the process. Unlike with the anime, the show was originally produced in English and established itself as a follow-up to the original Western continuity from the get-go.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agent Carter follows the titular character after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is something of one to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though it's not spun out of any film in particular but rather the spy agency that helps connect all of them. Unlike most examples here, the movie series continues to go on and the TV show stays in the movie continuity rather than being an alternate or retconned version, so it and the movies can and do directly affect each other: the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier serve as the first season's big plot twist, and the show's subplots are laying groundwork for The Inhumans years ahead of their own movie.
    This continuity later fell into discontinuity, as after the first two seasons the show stopped incorporating the movies which (other than the aforementioned Winter Soldier) often amounted to nothing more than a mention in a cold open and had no bearing on the plot at hand (this was also due to said episodes having to be withheld from viewing until the movie came out, which wildly disrupted the first season's scheduling). By season 4, the show worked within its own universe and both the series and the movies disregarded each other in regards to continuity.
  • ABC tried to compete with Airwolf by making a TV show based on Blue Thunder. It didn't work.
  • Alice was very loosely adapted from Martin Scorsese's film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.
  • 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, as well as recasting a much younger (and more conventionally attractive) Gary Graham to replace A-lister James Caan. 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. note 
  • Syndicated series Are We There Yet? follows the continuing adventures of characters introduced in Ice Cube's family-friendly vehicle Are We There Yet? and its sequel, Are We Done Yet?
  • 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.
  • The Bad News Bears had an unsuccessful sitcom adaptation in 1980.
  • 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.
  • Blade: The Series is the direct sequel to Blade: Trinity, as many events are mentioned from all three movies.
  • In 1975 Blazing Saddles was made into a TV pilot, Black Bart, written by the film's screenwriter Andrew Bergman. It was never picked up as a series, but it was aired on April 4, 1975, and appears on the movie DVD — it had Louis Gossett, Jr. as Bart (with a moustache for some reason), and Steve Landesberg replaced Gene Wilder as his drunkard sidekick, a former Confederate officer named "Reb" Jordan. Other characters are replaced, and the script completely lacks the spoofing and humour style of the film it spun off from. Interestingly, only the pilot was ever aired, but the show continued to be made for a few years afterward, as a ploy by Mel Brooks to keep the studio from obtaining the rights to a sequel.
    • It has since been revealed that the story about an unaired show remaining in production for years in order for the studio to keep the option open for a sequel was written as a joke, and was quoted at face value by many repudiated sources.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Casablanca had two forgotten television adaptions, both prequels. One, from the 1950s, aired as part of a Wheel Program. The other, from the 1980s, was a standalone series which only lasted five episodes.
  • Before the Animated Adaptation listed below, there was an attempt at a Clerks sitcom, staring Andrew Lowery and a then relatively unknown Jim Breuer as Dante and Randall respectively. The show deviated drastically from the raunchy R-rated comedy, going for a more clean-cut type show, and most infamously, omitted Jay and Silent Bob completely. The show never made it past the pilot.
  • 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.
  • The Courtship of Eddie's Father, based on the 1963 romantic comedy of the same name.
  • Crash, the series. Besides the setting, general theme, name, and producer, it had little to do with the Oscar-winning 2004 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 Crow: Stairway to Heaven, a Lighter and Softer series based on the first movie.
  • Dear White People was made into a Netflix series in 2017, which is more or less a direct sequel to the events of the movie.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Retool 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).
  • The Dukes of Hazzard was based on the little-recalled movie Moonrunners.
  • Fame, a TV show based on a movie. Followed later by a musical play. And a remake of the film. And a reality show.
  • Fargo really has nothing to do with the movie other than (near) location, being produced by the Coen brothers (who directed the film), and using the film's ransom money as a temporary McGuffin. The second season is even further removed from the movie, and has little to do with the first, although some characters appear at younger ages.
    • They attempted to make an earlier TV adaptation, in which they would focus on the further exploits of Marge Gunderson (this time portrayed by Edie Falco). It never made it past pilot stage.
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off spawned an NBC 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 series was critically panned compared to Fox's Dueling Show Parker Lewis Can't Lose, and many fans consider that series the true Spiritual Successor to the film.
  • Discussed in one episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, where Crow ponders if the movie they just saw, The Final Sacrifice, would work better as a weekly series. He acts it out with Mike, who takes the role of the executive hearing the pitch and starts meddling with the idea.
  • 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 theater 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.
  • 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.
  • Friday Night Lights spawned a critically acclaimed series which aired for five years.
  • 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.
  • 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 Ghost and Mrs. Muir was a '60s Fantastic Comedy sitcom adapted from the 1947 film.
  • 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. Yes, they made an Animated Adaptation of this as well!
  • 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.
  • House Calls was a medical-themed sitcom based on the 1978 movie of the same name. Former M*A*S*H regular Wayne Rogers (whose old show immediately preceded this one in CBS' Monday-night lineup) and Lynn Redgrave played the roles originated by Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson.
  • In the Heat of the Night, the TV series, picks up twenty years after the movie 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the series Limitless, Bradley Cooper's character from the movie starts supplying another guy with the cure to the side-effects of their Super-Intelligence pills. That guy, the series protagonist, becomes an FBI investigator.
  • Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels had a surprisingly good but short-lived spin-off series of hour-long episodes.
  • 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 (1972) and The Incredible Hulk (1977): 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.
  • Mama, based on I Remember Mama, was an early (1949-1957) television example. It was actually the first show to be cancelled and then revived in response to a deluge of viewer mail.
  • 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 Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, based on short stories by Max Shulman which had also been adapted into the 1953 musical comedy film The Affairs of Dobie Gillis.
  • 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 and even fewer remember the books.
  • Midnight Run got four made-for-TV continuations (with Christopher McDonald as The Other Darrin for Robert De Niro) as part of the Universal Action Pack.
  • Minority Report (2015) is a Sequel Series to...Minority Report, taking place eleven years after Pre-Crime shuts down and following one of the Precogs (Dash) as he tries to continue helping people with his visions.
  • 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.
  • Mystery Road is an Australian crime TV series beginning in 2018, spun off from the films Mystery Road and Goldstone and featuring the same central character, Aboriginal police detective Jay Swan.
  • The 1948 Police Procedural Film The Naked City was adapted into the series Naked City a decade later.
  • The Odd Couple is another example of the series improving on the movie, largely due to the talent and commitment of the two leads.
  • NBC's Outsourced is an adaptation of a film of the same name which you've never heard of.
  • 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.
  • Parenthood was made into two different TV series (1990, and 2010) with different characters, but a similar concept.
  • 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.
  • 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!)
  • Please Don't Eat the Daisies became the title of a 1965–67 Dom Com that bears no relation to the 1960 movie aside from being loosely inspired by the original (non-fictional) stories by Jean Kerr published under the same title.
  • Poltergeist: The Legacy had little to do with the original Poltergeist.
  • Private Benjamin ran for three seasons, but was cut short in part due to Elieen Brennan's injuries in a car accident.
  • RoboCop 1987 became a huge franchise. Aside from the two sequels and the remake, it spawned a 1994 television adaptation which 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 a mini-series adaptation made in 2000 called (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.
  • In 1966, Shane got turned into a TV series. Because David Carradine is the natural substitute for Alan Ladd.
  • She's Gotta Have It, Spike Lee's 1986 debut film, was made into a Netflix series in 2017. The series is an Adaptation Expansion of the original film's plot.
  • Probably the second most successful adaptation after M*A*S*H, 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. It spawned two spin-offs of its own, collectively accounting for more than 300 episodes worth of content. They later reversed the process by making two DTV movies in turn based off the series.
  • Starman had a short-lived and completely forgotten, but actually not terrible, series starring Robert Hays. Conversion to a series required retconning the one-use magic gum-ball-sized metal spheres so that there was one re-usable sphere, passed on to the alien's son, and the alien brought another with him when he returned to help his progeny.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Terminator: 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.
  • The Magnificent Seven became a TV series in 1998, thirty-eight years after the movie.
  • Classic movies The Thin Man and The Third Man got forgotten series adaptations.
  • Timecop spawned Timecop a series which aired for nine episodes.
  • 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.
  • A Topper series aired from 1953 to 1955, using the first film's premise.
  • 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 despite being one of the Sci-Fi Channel's highest-rated series.
  • Uncle Buck had two:
  • Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
  • War of the Worlds (1988) followed on from the 1953 film, taking the large time lapse as justification for introducing an entirely new set of characters.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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). Another, more critically favored Westworld series followed in 2016; this was a retelling that ignored all three previous productions.
  • 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.
  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, a prequel starring a much younger version of the hero.
  • There's several planned film-to-screen adaptations that never got past the Pilot:
    • 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-and-original-cast-involved animated series did better, if only that it actually made it to air, albeit just for a few episodes.
    • True Grit: A Further Adventure.
    • There was an attempt to make Mr. and Mrs. Smith into a TV series. It wasn't ordered to series.
    • 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.

  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • 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). 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 mostly memorable for having a pair of Crossover episodes 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 '70s) was based off the Toho Godzilla movies, the second off the 1998 American remake. 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.
  • Jumanji: The Animated Series, which surprisingly turned out pretty good as an Alternate Continuity, even if retconning most of the elements from the film in the process, including the rules of the game itself. It's also one of the rare instances that both had and delivered a pre-planned Grand Finale.
  • 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 a catchy intro. Note that the show was based on Return of the Killer Tomatoes (which had very little to do with the first movie) and even reenacted part of the movie in the opening credits.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars:
  • The Men in Black II blatantly disregarded the events of Men in Black: The Series, which ended with the MIB organization exposed. The series blatantly disregarded the ending of the first Men in Black, which had Kay retire, 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 at 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 (2001), 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 & 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.
  • 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.
  • The true "winner" of turning an R-rated movie into a cartoon for children has to be Highlander: The Animated Series. Fortunately, all of the decapitations happened slightly off screen.
  • Allegedly there was even talk of doing one of these for Alien of all franchises, but apparently that was a bridge too far and it never got past the planning stages. Some of the weirder entries in the toyline originated with this concept.
  • 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. There was even 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.
  • Many Disney Animated Canon films were given their own TV shows in the 1990s and 2000s.
    • 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 reformed Iago and the new voice cast. The third movie Aladdin and the King of Thieves was the finale, though both movies stay fairly self contained from the show itself so they can still be enjoyed as an individual film series.
    • Timon & Pumbaa spun off from The Lion King (1994); it had surprisingly good imitations of the film's voice actors. A second Lion King show, The Lion Guard, started airing in 2015.
    • The 7D, a stylized take on the seven dwarfs before they met Snow White.
    • 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 (1989) 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 villain, even though the movie didn't have Hercules meet Hades until he was an adult.
    • Lilo & Stitch: The Series followed up on the original film by introducing audiences to Jumba's other experiments (who were briefly alluded to in the first movie's prologue). In this show, Lilo and Stitch had to find his "cousins" around Kauai, reform them, name them, and find them a place where they could use their abilities for good. Like the Aladdin example above, this show was also bookended by a pilot movie (Stitch! The Movie) and a finale film (Leroy & Stitch). Unlike most of the other entries in this list however, this show managed to be referenced in a later DAC filmnote  and also introduced a Breakout Character who now gets a steady stream of merchandise released to this day.note 
      • Lilo & Stitch also got two more TV series, but you'll have to go up to the "Anime and Manga" and "Eastern Animation" folders to read about those ones.
    • The Legend of Tarzan follows up on Disney's 1999 film.
    • Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series, 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 is also an in-universe example being an adaptation of the movie Lightyear, the first work of the Buzz Lightyear franchise within the Toy Story setting.
    • 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 Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers instead.
    • Similarly averted with Bambi. The initial Disney Afternoon block was going to have a spin off series Thumper's Thicket, though it seemingly didn't make it past conceptual stages.
    • Averted for the fourth and fifth time regarding Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, but in the same way like the Atlantis example above. Both have episodes that were worked on for their series that got canceled and become direct-to-video releases instead: Cinderella II: Dreams Come True and Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World respectively, along with another episode for the latter that ended up on Belle's Tales of Friendship that was originally going to be on the Belle's Magical World original release.
    • The Jungle Book (1967) 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 (1967). 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 (1987), 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.
      • New Adventures was actually just the start of the series' expansion (second in fact counting the variety show, Welcome To Pooh Corner), followed by numerous movies (both theatrical and direct-to-video), and another two series (The Book of Pooh and My Friends Tigger & Pooh). While not without its detractors, the Winnie the Pooh franchise has arguably garnered the most positive response compared to other Disney continuations due to being less ambitious, and thus lower expectations.
    • Tangled has Tangled: The Series, later renamed Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure.
    • Big Hero 6 has Big Hero 6: The Series.
  • 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 by the sequels).
  • DreamWorks Animation broke into the business with The Penguins of Madagascar, and had Kung Fu Panda, Monsters vs. Aliens and How to Train Your Dragon followed suit.
  • 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!"
  • 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.
  • Averted with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983). There were long-standing rumors that it was originally going to be an animated series of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie version of Conan the Barbarian (1982). These rumors have since been confirmed to have been false.
  • 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, about half of the film's cast including lead Jay Baruchel reprise their roles, and the animation is surprisingly high quality.
  • Avengers Assemble was made to be intentionally more similar to the films than the other series (The Avengers: United They Stand, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers) based on The Avengers (two of which predate the movie).
  • RoboCop had two cartoon versions (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 Mummy: The Animated Series was an animated series based on The Mummy Trilogy to capitalize on the success of the second film.
  • The earliest example of this trope is The Inspector. The cartoon was based on the Inspector Clouseau character that appeared in the The Pink Panther series of films (the animation studio that made it also did the Pink Panther cartoons based on the titles). The cartoon avoided using the name Clouseau, but it was otherwise an authorized adaptation of the character.

Alternative Title(s): The Series