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The Best TV Shows Based on Movies

Updated February 26, 2021 53.2k votes 6.5k voters 164.9k views82 items

List RulesAny television adaptation of a film, live-action or animated

List of the best TV shows based on movies. Here are the rankings of the top television series that all began with a film. When a story is so never-ending and epic, it is often perfect for a franchise. Books, remakes, and cross-overs between film and television. "M*A*S*H" is one of those rare instances of the film and television show both being perfect -- although "The Odd Couple" might fit that description. Did you know "Friday Night Lights" was a movie before a hit TV show? And what about all the animated ones like "RoboCop" and "Clerks?" "Teen Wolf" is now MTV's number one scripted series and it evolved from a feature film. Many of your favorite Disney movies are now shows as well.

These are the greatest movies-turned-TV-shows in the history of entertainment. With "Parenthood" also on the air, it is time to look back at the best TV series that are based on movies that have ever graced both screens.

  • M*A*S*H1

    ActorsAlan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swi

    Genres (Tv)Black comedy, Medical drama, Sitcom, Satire, Military

    Based on: MASH (1970)
    M*A*S*H is an American television series developed by Larry Gelbart, adapted from the 1970...  more

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  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer2

    ActorsSarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, James Marsters

    Genres (Tv)Supernatural, Horror, Comedy-drama, Teen drama, Action

    Based on: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The WB, 1997) is an American supernatural drama television series...  more

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  • Stargate SG-13

    ActorsRichard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping

    Genres (Tv)Military science fiction, Action/Adventure, Adventure film, Action, Science Fiction

    Based on: Stargate (1994)
    Stargate SG-1 is an adventure and military science fiction television series and part of...  more

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  • Highlander: The Series4

    ActorsAdrian Paul, Stan Kirsch, Jim Byrnes

    Genres (Tv)Supernatural, Action/Adventure, Drama, Adventure film, Action

    Based on: Highlander (1986)
    Highlander: The Series is a fantasy science fiction action-adventure television series...  more

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  • The Odd Couple5

    ActorsJack Klugman, Tony Randall, Penny Marshall

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Based on: The Odd Couple (1968)
    The Odd Couple, formally titled onscreen Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, is an American...  more

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    #151 of 297 The Best Duos of All Time#57 of 309 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History

  • The Real Ghostbusters6

    ActorsMaurice LaMarche, Dave Coulier, Frank Welker

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Action/Adventure, Animated cartoon, Children's television series, Mystery

    Based on: Ghostbusters (1984)
    The Real Ghostbusters is an American animated television series, a spinoff of the 1984 movie...  more

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    #7 of 25 The Best 80s Cartoon Theme Songs#38 of 54 The Most Disappointing TV Shows Based on Movies

  • Muppet Babies7

    ActorsGreg Berg, Katie Leigh, Laurie O'Brien

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Animated cartoon, Children's television series

    Based on: The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

    Jim Henson's Muppet Babies, commonly known by the shortened title Muppet Babies, is an...  more

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  • Beetlejuice8

    ActorsStephen Ouimette, Alyson Court, Tabitha St. Germain

    Genres (Tv)Horror comedy, Black comedy, Animation, Animated cartoon, Children's television series

    Based on: Beetlejuice (1988)
    Beetlejuice is an American-Canadian animated television series which ran from September 9,...  more

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  • Westworld9

    ActorsEvan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal

    Genres (Tv)Sci-fi, Drama, Western

    Based on: Westworld (1973)

    Westworld (HBO, 2016) is an American science fiction western thriller television series...  more

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  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles10

    ActorsLena Headey, Thomas Dekker, Summer Glau

    Genres (Tv)Action/Adventure, Drama, Science fiction

    Based on: The Terminator franchise (1984)
    Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Fox, 2008) is an American science fiction television...  more

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    #109 of 266 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time#210 of 339 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

  • The Mask: The Animated Series11

    ActorsRob Paulsen, Tim Curry, Jim Cummings

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Animated cartoon, Action, Animated series

    The Mask aka The Mask: Animated Series is an American animated television series based on the...  more
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars12

    ActorsTom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter

    Genres (Tv)Computer Animation, Animation, Children's television series, Action, Science Fiction

    Based on: Star Wars franchise (1977)
    This show is an American 3D CGI animated television series created by George Lucas and...  more

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    The Clone Wars TV Show Is The Best 'Star Wars' Since 'The Empire Strikes Back'#411 of 542 The Best Animated Films Ever

  • Friday Night Lights13

    ActorsKyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Gaius Charles

    Genres (Tv)Teen drama, Sports drama, Family drama

    Based on: Friday Night Lights (2004)
    Friday Night Lights (NBC, 2006) is an American sports drama television series developed by...  more

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    The Best Seasons of 'Friday Night Lights'#143 of 538 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time

  • Aladdin14

    ActorsScott Weinger, Linda Larkin, Dan Castellaneta

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Animated cartoon, Children's television series, Adventure film, Comedy-drama

    Based on: Aladdin (1992)

    Aladdin is an animated television series made by Walt Disney Television Animation which aired...  more

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  • Nikita15



    ActorsMaggie Q, Shane West, Lyndsy Fonseca

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Drama, Thriller, Adventure film, Action

    Based on: La Femme Nikita (1990)
    Nikita (The CW, 2010) is an American crime drama television series and reboot of the Canadian...  more

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    #66 of 284 The Best Female-Led TV Shows#179 of 403 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time

  • In the Heat of the Night16

    ActorsCarroll O'Connor, Howard Rollins, Anne-Marie Johnson, Lois Nettleton, Alan Autry

    Genres (Tv)Crime Fiction, Drama

    Based on: In the Heat of the Night (1967)
    In the Heat of the Night is an American television series based on the film and the novel of...  more

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    #34 of 95 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time#146 of 160 Shows With The Best Freakin' Series Finales Of All Time

  • Clerks: The Animated Series17

    ActorsBrian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Sitcom, Comedy

    Clerks is an American animated sitcom based on Kevin Smith's 1994 comedy of the same name. It...  more

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  • Alice18



    ActorsLinda Lavin, Beth Howland, Vic Tayback

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Based on: Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
    Alice is an American sitcom television series that ran from August 31, 1976 to March 19, 1985...  more

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  • Mr. Belvedere19

    ActorsFergie, Kellie Martin, Bob Uecker, Christopher Hewett, Twink Caplan

    Genres (Tv)Sitcom, Comedy

    Based on: Sitting Pretty (1948)
    Mr. Belvedere is an American sitcom that originally aired on ABC from March 15, 1985 to July...  more

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    #23 of 33 20+ 1980s Sitcoms That Will Still Make You Laugh#30 of 64 The Best Sitcoms of the 1980s

  • Fargo20



    ActorsBilly Bob Thornton, Allison Tolman, Colin Hanks, Martin Freeman, Kirsten Dunst

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Drama, Crime

    Based on: Fargo (1996)
    Fargo (FX, 2014) is an American black comedy drama anthology television series created by Noah...  more

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  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series21

    ActorsDaveigh Chase, Chris Sanders, David Ogden Stiers

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Animated cartoon, Comedy, Science Fiction, Animated series

    Lilo & Stitch: The Series is the animated television spinoff of the feature film, Lilo &...  more

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    #98 of 645 The Best Cartoons of All Time#97 of 350 The Best Kids Cartoons of All Time

  • Timon & Pumbaa22

    ActorsErnie Sabella, Kevin Schon, Jim Cummings

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Animated cartoon, Children's television series, Comedy, Animated series

    Based on: The Lion King (1994)
    The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa, often simply referred to as Timon & Pumbaa, is an American...  more

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  • RoboCop: The Animated Series23

    ActorsLen Carlson, Susan Roman, Dan Hennessey, Ron James, Barbara Budd

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Action/Adventure, Animated cartoon, Children's television series, Adventure film

    Based on: RoboCop (1987)
    RoboCop: The Animated Series is an American animated series produced in the 1980s by Marvel...  more

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    #249 of 407 The Best Children's Shows of All Time#50 of 100 The Greatest TV Shows Set in the Future

  • Back to the Future24

    ActorsDavid Kaufman, Dan Castellaneta, Bill Nye

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Animated cartoon, Live action, Adventure film, Science Fiction

    Based on: Back to the Future (1985)
    Back to the Future is an animated series for television based on the Back to the Future...  more
  • DreamWorks Dragons25

    ActorsJay Baruchel, America Ferrera, T.J. Miller

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Children's television series, Adventure film, Action, Fantasy

    Based on: How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
    DreamWorks Dragons is an American computer-animated television series based on the 2010 film...  more

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