LittleBigPicture: movies you didn't know had TV spin-offs


22nd April 2010

In lieu of an actual TV article this week, we're being overly critical about spin-off TV shows from some pretty classic movies. No Buffy, M*A*S*H or Clueless here, oh no... These are the ones that tried, but failed to make it on the small screen. The little spin-offs that couldn't.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

This is the bastard lovechild of Ferris Bueller and Zach Morris, and this is by far the worst spin-off on our list, as you will see about 10 seconds into this clip. They might as well have gotten John Hughes on and pissed directly in his hair.

It 'stars' Jesse from Diagnosis Murder as Ferris (apparently freshly felled and ferried straight onto set from the sawmill), with Jennifer Aniston as sister Jeannie; perhaps proof that Aniston has always made really bizarre career choices. The series lasted 13 episodes before it was pulled off the air. That's 13 episodes too many.

Broadcast four years after the movie's release, FBTV offers the supposition that Ferris Bueller, awesome Chicago-rocker, is a movie based on the life of unawesome, LA-schmoozer Ferris Buller (Charlie Schlatter). Perhaps it would have performed better, ratings wise, if it hadn't been aired against Parker Lewis Can't Lose, which was pretty much the original, if unofficial, Bueller spin-off. Or perhaps, it was just because it was shite. You decide.

Uncle Buck

John Candy was a big fat funnyman who played a real part in my comedy upbringing. I mean, Planes, Trains And Automobiles? Brewster's Millions? Nothing But Trouble?

Perhaps my favourite Candy role, and my favourite Uncle, is Uncle Buck.
Recall fondly his awkward, yet jovial, interactions with his nieces and nephews who he babysits under mild duress in the 1989 comedy. Flashcut to 1990, and CBS's alleged situation comedy Uncle Buck, where drunken slob Buck Russell is forced by law to take in the kids when their parents die in a car accident. Yuk-yuk-yuk.

All I've seen of this particular series is the credits sequence. I can safely say without seeing any more that, had I caught it in the '90s, we wouldn't be here today. I would have put my foot through my old black and white TV and never turned it on again.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High

Fast Times At Ridgemont High was Cameron Crowe's first feature film, which captured teenagers perfectly as it was based on the year Crowe spent undercover at Clairemont High School in 1980. Rated R, it was never designed to be on TV as a teenage drama, because, after all, it's largely about a horny 15 year-old girl and her abortive adventures. In 1982 this was hardly primetime viewing.

And despite the fun Spicoli is having below, the TV show failed mainly because it couldn't be about sex, or drugs, and therefore it really wasn't about anything other than teenage girls walking around, bitching about each other. That gets pretty fucking tiresome after, oh about three seconds. And yes, that is Patrick Dempsey.

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