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TV Masterpiece Cinema

M. Brown, K. Conway, C. Eckerle, M.C. O'Donnell, J. Shaffer, T. Spragins, and D. Sullivan | Thursday, November 19, 2009

Avatar: The Last Airbender
“Avatar: The Last Airbender,” was a program on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008. It was about an “airbender” named Aang who is charged with saving the world from the Fire Nation through his mastery of all four elements — fire, water, air, and earth — which only he can accomplish due to his status as the Avatar. The show proved to be very popular with both young and more mature audiences, and it won multiple awards and critical respect. In early 2007, it was announced that M. Night Shyamalan had been hired to direct a live action version, the first work the director would be directing that he had not written.

Sex and the City

Perhaps one of the best TV-to-movie adaptations, the fabulous women of “Sex and the City” hit the big screen in the summer of 2008. In fact, the screen adaptation was so successful that Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda will return to movie theaters everywhere in the summer of 2010. Making near seamless transition from HBO television to cinema, the bright and glitzy big screen version of “Sex and the City” has all the crucial components of the great success. With the perfect ratio of romance, girl time, drama, comedy, high fashion and a trendy soundtrack, the women of “Sex and the City” get better with age and the longevity on the big and small screen.

Starsky & Hutch
Witty dialogue, brilliant action scenes and a bromance for the age, “Starsky & Hutch,” both the 1970s TV series and 2004 movie adaptation, has all of it. The show premiered in the late ‘70s, following the lives of Bay City cops David Starsky and Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchinson, two seemingly mismatched partners, and their adventures. The movie adaptation has all the same hilarious hijinks and even some of the same clothes. Not only that, it features four members of the Frat Pack: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn. Both versions are excellent for comic relief, and any diehard fan of the show would definitely get a kick out of the remade movie.


Due to a rabid base of loyal fans the 2002 show Firefly was given a conclusion in the 2005 film Serenity. In Firefly, captain Mal Reynolds is the leader of a ragtag bunch of renegade smugglers in a surprising setting that can only be described as a space western, and even more surprising, it works … flawlessly.  With a trigger-happy mercenary, childish pilot, master mechanic, high-class prostitute, two ex-revolutionary officers, a priest with mysterious military connections, a wacked-out human weapon and sensitive doctor  all on the same boat, it is a show filled with hilarious interaction and is just plain fun. Fellow fans I leave you with this, I am a browncoat.

Charlie’s Angels
Whoever didn’t watch the “Charlie’s Angels” show was missing out. The three beautiful angels and their adventures are still missed by many, but luckily their fans can find solace in the 2000 and 2003 movies starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu. Though the original was too good to ever be lived up to, the movies did the best they could. The spunky dialogue and genuine connection between the actresses does a good job at faithfully recreating the entertaining adventures of the original angels. A fun detail to the fans: Diaz, Liu and Barrymore reenact some scenes from the show during the credits.

Power Rangers

I think we can safely say that the phrase “It’s morphin’ time!” was a defining part of most of our childhoods. “Power Rangers” was a show I grew up loving, until a point far beyond when one was supposed to love it. When the movie came out, my life was completed. As a kid, I watched it multiple times in a row, because I could not get enough of their wholesome good-triumphing-over evil. A few years ago, I re-watched this gem of a movie, and it was … shall we say, only nostalgically awesome? The plot is nonsensical, the one-liners lackluster and the plot does not carry well. The movie is still a classic but far from the quality we’ve come to expect in our movies.

Lizzy McGuire

Once there was a lovable blond preteen who had a television show on Disney channel, and her name was Hilary Duff, or Lizzy McGuire. Narrated by her cartoon alter-ego, Lizzy helped young kids everywhere hash out their angst and dilemmas of elementary and middle school life. Then one day, Lizzy graduated, not just from the middle school but also to the big screen. In this wild adventure, she left the bland setting of American suburbs and departed to Rome. Here she conquers her stage fright and also discovers that she has an Italian lookalike who’s a famous pop star. Add an international love interest and the complication of a friend who has always wanted to be a little bit more. With all the drama and cutesy pop music that makes Disney television so addictive, this movie is a successful screen adaptation of the childhood favorite.

Star Trek
Joining the realm of wizards and vampires in pre-release fever, the announcement of a “Star Trek” franchise being revamped into a movie to be directed by “Heroes” creator J.J. Abrams had fans across all generations geeking out. It also brought much deserved attention to a new Captain James T. Kirk, played by Chris Pine, which more shallow-minded trekkies can be totally grateful for. The action goes back to Kirk’s origin in the Federation, and the beginnings of his famous relationships with Spock, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu and McCoy. So much more than a new spin on an old story, Abrams brought a re-born franchise to the masses as an incarnation of “Star Trek” that fans can wish to live long and prosper.