As a direct continuation of yesterday’s post, let’s explore what happens when a movie suddenly starts a serial franchise. For some reason, the early 90s had a lot of good movies that were clearly PG 13 or more and decided that they should make a show of it. And by show, I mean a quite literal Saturday Morning Cartoon. Stuff by the Warner Brothers company more easily makes this transformation and I only know this because the WB channel used to have these types of show. Had The Watchmen movie been picked up years ago by WB then the super cool video from a few posts ago might have been a reality.
One such cartoon was the Godzilla one that came out after the CGI monster terrorized New York. The cartoon came out a little while after but continued the story immediately after the events of the movie, if you ignore the last three minutes that is. Basically, they found the nest all the eggs except one were destroyed, that one immediately hatches, looks at Mathew Broderick’s animated character and escapes. Two days later it reappears being, well Godzilla sized, but treats the previous character as it’s mommy or something. The rest of the show revolves around training Godzilla to work within society to defend New York from other random monstrosities and giant robots with preferably minimal collateral damage along the way. I remember like two episodes so I’m pretty sure it lasted less than the old cartoon. You know that one where the family is on a boat doing, let’s call it research of some degree, and can summon Godzilla with a magical garage door opener. This was also the show with the mini Godzilla that served purely for comic fodder and could somehow fly. To this day if someone says Godzilla my first instinct is to say “and Godzoocki.”
Suffice it to say, neither show really lived up to the horror vibe of the movies they were based off. The basis of a colossal lizard being born by radioactive destruction that is moved by a primeval sense of vengeance just can’t be done in a kid friendly fashion and still be the protagonist. It’s like having a “reformed” moriarty be the hero of his own spinoff book series.
The second show that comes to mind is the Men in Black cartoon. Again, it follows the narrative of the film if you completely forget about K being neurolized and passing the torch on to J. It’s a classic buddy cop premise where the white veteran straightguy (I mean in sense of humor, not sexual orientation) and the minority rookie who is extroverted and the source of all the laughs. So yeah, forget about character growth and let’s have the duo solve mysteries of the week using as many extra terrestrial archetypes as possible. So yeah this one is a lot like the first movie, not so much of the second one, and apparently a third one is in production where Will Smith goes back in time to team up with early middle aged Tommy Lee Jones expy. Pretty sure this one will suck too. Anyway, the show was okay. I’m not sure if it was because it lasted longer or I sat through a marathon because I know this one had some decent episodes. It seemed to work well because the purpose of MIB as an organization works both in the global catastrophic events of the films and in the slightly annoying but still important events that would require intervention at a weekly basis.
The only non cartoon conversion of film to tv show that is a huge success comes as a bit of a surprise to most. You see, a lot of people forget that Buffy the Vampire Slayer started as a movie with not Sarah Michelle Gellar as the titular ass kicker. Now nobody remembers the movie because it wasn’t very good but the premise was made into awesomeness thanks to the vision of Joss Whedon. Obligatory IMDB entry for proof. The movie became the pilot for the show and is treated as such in that it is treated as never happenning within the narrative continuity of the series. The again, my memory is not super clear about this so it could easily be the story of a previous slayer. That or they retconned the movie into doing just that. Ooooohhhhh that reminds me, need to talk about retcons for future posts.