Television shows can originate from a wide variety of sources, with a constant stream of ideas and inspirations required for the ever-growing base of broadcast networks and streaming platforms to fill their airwaves.
Consequently, it is relatively common to see a film adaptation or reimagining of a classic television series, but the reverse is much rarer.
They will surely grow further in prominence as Disney+ ekes out multiple companion pieces to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars saga, but there is still mostly a clear line between the worlds of television and film that has not yet been blurred.
This rarity could be attributed to several factors – films have traditionally been seen as a superior medium to television and smaller-budget takes on the source material could be automatically dismissed as inferior and deemed unworthy of broadcast.
It could also be because historically, such adaptations have largely been terrible. Like, really terrible. Here are ten that sank like lead balloons on television, best left forgotten lest they besmirch the legacy of their cinematic predecessors for anyone else.
10. Lock, Stock...
Adaptation Of – Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Made on a budget of just £800,000, little was expected of Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, a Cockney crime flick that depicted four friends pulling off a heist to pay off a £500,000 debt to a vengeful gangster. It kickstarted the careers of director Guy Ritchie and actor Jason Statham, becoming a cult classic on DVD.
The success of the film led to Channel 4 commissioning a television adaptation in 2000, the same year that Ritchie and Statham cemented their rises further in Snatch. Simply titled Lock, Stock… (with the title of each episode filling in the gap), it featured a different quartet with suspiciously similar character traits to their predecessors and ran for just seven episodes.
Each of these was a thinly-veiled rehash of the film’s formula, depicting the leads getting involved in business ventures of questionable legitimacy and inevitably falling foul of a hardened local crimelord as they bumbled around.
Ritchie co-wrote one episode, but other than that and an executive producer credit he had no hands-on ties to the series, which swiftly lost more than half of its viewership after debuting.
The film is widely regarded today as a great British crime caper and one of the highlights of Ritchie’s career (which has been somewhat tainted by the likes of Revolver and Swept Away), but its television equivalent is an afterthought by comparison.