Saturday, March 25, 2017

But I Digress... Adaptation Situation

By Cat

I’m always curious to see what new movies and shows are in the works. My last foray into projects in development sent me down an even deeper rabbit hole that included (but certainly wasn’t limited to) the plethora of Disney live-action remakes, other reboots from various sources, adaptations, and original works.

I can’t possible focus on everything at once, so occasionally I’ll focus on one cross section or another from the treasure trove of listings that I found.  This time around? We’re going to explore some movies that are currently in the works to be adapted from television shows or stage productions.

I’ve assembled a list of 10 projects that I had a significant initial reaction to – whether good or bad. Let us know what you think!

(Please keep in mind that information links may contain spoilers.)

10 - Dora the Explorer

Original Run Timeframe: 2000 to Present Day
Media Format: Animated Children's TV Show
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family
Rated: TV-Y
More information on the original can be found here:

Blurb: A resourceful young girl named Dora loves embarking on quests with her talking purple backpack and monkey companion named Boots. 

What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Disruption Entertainment, Nickelodeon Movies, Paramount Pictures
Executive Producer: Mary Parent
Writer: Tom Wheeler

Deadline Hollywood seems to have broken the story in October 2015 that this movie was going to become reality. When I say that, I am stressing the world ‘real’ there. You read that right. The Dora adaptation will be a live-action movie. While I doubt that it will be anywhere near the College Humor sketch that explored this very notion; I still find myself tilting my head to the side in my ‘wtf’ reaction.

Of course, this cartoon series is one of Nickelodeon’s flagships; and with the number of episodes in the series and its subsequent spinoffs, there’s plenty of material for Paramount to launch a franchise from if they pull this off.  I am a bit curious how they’ll handle the talking map, monkey, and backpack. I can only cross my fingers that it’s not too cheesy. I do see it as a positive that a show that supports bilingual education for children is getting more traction in the cinematic marketplace.

9 - Winx Club

Original Run Timeframe: 2004 - Present
Media Format: Animated Children's TV Show
Tag Line: The magic's in you!
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Rated: TV-Y7
More information on the original can be found here:

Blurb: A girl named Bloom crosses into a Magical Dimension to enroll at Alfea College — the best school for fairies in all the realms.

What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Hollywood Gang Productions, Rainbow S.r.l.
Executive Producers: Gianni Nunnari, Iginio Straffi

Here’s a fun fact about the popular Winx Club cartoon series – it hails from Italy. I hadn’t realized that before I began my research for this article. The first mention of a live-action movie adaptation in the works seems to come from an interview published in Italian with Iginio Straffi (Monster Allergy, Pop Pixie, Gladiators of Rome), himself. (You can find a translation of the pertinent part of that interview here.)He’s only THE GUY where it comes to this particular cartoon property, wearing all the hats – creator, director, writer, and producer.

News of the movie in development seemed to break across American media sources in February of last year (happy birthday to me!) such as this Deadline Hollywood article. I actually can’t wait to see what they do with this movie. Even though the plot is more fantastical than the last movie I mentioned, it seems to be more easily moved to the big-screen in a relatable way that will appeal to audiences of all ages. The show’s creator does seem to want to grow the age-range of its viewership. I, personally, am a huge fan of this series and was very excited to find out that Netflix had put out a new series with World of Winx (2016).

This is still in very early stages, so I hope that it doesn’t hit too many snags as it works its way through development towards a theater near you or me.

8 - Voltron

Original Run Timeframe: 1984-1985
Media Format: Animated Children's TV Show
Genre: Animation, Family, Sci-Fi
Rated: TV-Y7
More information on the original can be found here:

Blurb: This series focuses on 5 lion robots and their pilots as they fight the evil forces of King Zarkon and Prince Lotor. 

What we know about the Adaptation:
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Writer: David Hayter

It seems that when Universal purchased DreamWorks Animation, they got their hands on a seriously awesome list of movies that have been stuck in development hell for quite some time for varying reasons – and they’re being fairly quick to do something about it. Deadline Hollywood seems to have broken the news for this, once more, with an article in November 2016.

A live action Voltron movie has been kicking around the development stages for at least a decade now, since Transformers (2007) found such success. Of course, before this general timeframe, bringing this animated property into a live-action frame of reference would have been near impossible to achieve economically or believably. Hollywood magic has quite a few tools now to render those particular problems moot.

I was already excited that Netflix picked up Voltron: Legendary Defender (2016-) as one of its exclusive series. (My daughter is already in love with it.) So I can’t wait to see what they do with the movie. With Power Rangers (2017) in theaters now, I can only hope that Voltron gets its act in gear to finally make it to the screen and offer some not-as-cheesy combining-mega-robot fun for fans in it for the nostalgia as well as those experiencing the story for the first time.

7 - Three's Company

Original Run Timeframe: 1976-1984
Media Format: TV Series
Genre: Comedy (Sitcom)
Rated: TV-PG
More information on the original can be found here:

Blurb: The misadventures of two women and one man living in one apartment and their neighbors. 

What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: New Line Cinema, Robert Cort Productions, Warner Bros. Pictures
Executive Producer: Robert W. Cort
Writers: Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein

This is an adaptation that I am not excited about at all. I would have rather that they had just made something new with a plot in a similar vein rather than outright remaking this property as a movie.

This was one of the shows that I watched when I was younger and probably shouldn’t have. All the same, I loved it and thought it was hilarious. It was the chemistry of the main characters that made this show what it was. At the very core of that was the late and great John Ritter (Problem Child, 8 Simple Rules, Bad Santa). I don’t want to marginalize the contribution of Joyce DeWitt (Call of the Wild, Snapshot, Rock Story) or Suzanne Somers (She's The Sheriff, Serial Mom, Step By Step) to the show. I was even mad when Somers was replaced with another actress in her role after a dispute with the studio. I didn’t like it as much after that. The new girl just didn’t do it for me.

That is proof to me that without the heart and soul of that cast – namely Ritter, who passed in 2003 – I can’t see any film adaptation capturing the same feel.

Who knows? They might find an outstanding cast for it – maybe even Ritter’s son, whom is also an actor, might be in consideration for the role. Of course, this is just speculation as there isn’t anything known about potential cast or even the actual plot beyond the most basic premise that was the TV Show it plans to emulate. I’ll reserve final judgement but I am steadfastly unhappy that this is happening.

6 - Kojak

Original Run Timeframe: 1973-1978
Media Format: TV Series
Tag Line: Who loves ya, baby?
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Rated: Unrated
More information on the original can be found here:

Blurb: A bald, lollipop sucking police detective with a fiery righteous attitude battles crime in his city.

What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Bluegrass Pictures, One Race Films, Universal Pictures  
Executive Producers: Dylan Clark, Vin Diesel, Samantha Vincent
Writer: Philip Gawthorne
Actors: Vin Diesel

Deadline broke the story back in December 2012 that Vin Diesel intended to bring the iconic crime procedural show of the late 70s to the big screen – with himself as the lead. As of June 2015, a flurry of articles began to swirl around, likely after a screenwriter change, to let us know this project was still in the works. This seems to be one that Diesel is really behind, and he tends to be fairly tenacious in bringing such properties to the screen.

I don’t think I ever watched any of the TV episodes, but I certainly became familiar with this famous Tootsie-Pop loving crime-fighter when several TV movies aired in the ‘90s. Telly Savalas (The Muppet Movie, Cannonball Run II, Mind Twister) was a charismatic screen presence that was just impossible to forget. Sadly, he passed in 1994, and thus isn’t around to give us his own two cents on if he is down with this movie or not.

It’s said that the plan is to “re-imagine and contemporize” the property for today’s audience. The TV series tackled tough topics such as institutionalized racism and rights violations in the era leading to the Miranda Rights law enforcement must now use. This is something in our current socio-political climate that can still be found relevant today.

I’m willing to give Diesel the benefit of the doubt that he has the chops to give Savalas and this movie justice.

5 - Battlestar Galactica

Original Run Timeframe: 1978-1979
Media Format: TV Series
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure
Rated: Unrated (Syfy Channel rated their 2004 series as TV-14)
More information on the original can be found here:
Additional Information on award-winning 2004 Reboot series:

Blurb: After the destruction of the Twelve Colonies of Mankind, the last major fighter carrier leads a makeshift fugitive fleet on a desperate search for the legendary planet Earth. 

What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Bluegrass Pictures, Michael De Luca Productions, Universal Pictures
Producers: Scott Bernstein, Dylan Clark, Michael De Luca, Scott Stuber
Writer: Lisa Joy

Before the 2004 reboot of this TV series, I would have likely reacted poorly to the news of a movie in the works. However, with the stellar handling of the ‘new’ award-winning series, I have hope that this movie in development can be something really fantastic. The producers seem to be locked in, at least as of the time of The Hollywood Reporter’s piece run in February 2016. Fans got a bit more of an update as one of the stars of the original series took the stage to spill some beans at SDCC 2016. 

The kicker will be in the casting, I think. The newer series’ cast is fresh in everyone’s mind at the moment. It might be hard to sell an entirely brand new lineup to fans. That piece of the puzzle is completely up in the air (or entirely hush hush) at the moment so I don’t really even have anyone I could speculate on. We’ll have to wait and see.

I caught a few of the re-runs of the original 70s show when I was younger. I was a big fan of the late Lorne Greene (Bonanza, Klondike Fever, Code Red).  The reboot struck gold in casting Edward James Olmos (Stand and Deliver, Miami Vice, 2 Guns) as Adama. I didn’t really get to watch the reboot, but it’s on my ever growing list.  From what I have gotten to see, I am in general agreement with a June 2016 article regarding some of the things the new movie should take into consideration. (Caution – there are spoilers in that article.)

Universal has the ability to make this great, so I’ll hold out hope that they don’t half-ass an attempt at cashing in on ‘70s space-show nostalgia.

4 - Little House on the Prairie

Original Run Timeframe: 1974-1983
Media Format: TV Series
Genre: Drama, Family, Romance
Rated: TV-PG
More information on the original can be found here:

Blurb: The life and adventures of the Ingalls family in the 19th century American Midwest. 

What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Scott Rudin Productions, Paramount Pictures
Executive Producer: Scott Rudin
Writer: Abi Morgan
Director: Sean Durkin

The books that the old TV series were based on were favorites of mine when I was younger. It was the second ever book series that I read all the way through, and owned in a box set. (The first featured lions, wardrobes, and talking critters oh my!) I also absolutely adored the TV series. Michael Landon (Bonanza, Us, Highway to Heaven) was perfect for the role of Pa. His death in 1991 was one of the first times that a celebrity death really hit me hard.

I just don’t know if I can see anyone else on the screen in his place. Ever.

Needless to say, I’ll be watching this movie under protest if it actually gets made. I’m actually more upset that they’re treading on this sacred ground even more than I am about Three’s Company, as I mentioned before.

Alas, this film really is in the stages of development for the big screen. Emails back and forth with Sony and others discussing potential casting were among the WikiLeaks email dump scandal back in 2015. Nothing concrete seems to have come from any of the suggestions. Sony ultimately tabled the movie and Paramount scooped it up, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s article breaking the story in January of 2016.

I just hope they don’t mess this up.

3 - MacGyver

Original Run Timeframe: 1985-1992
Media Format: TV Series
Tag Line: The right man when things go wrong.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime
Rated: TV-PG
More information on the original can be found here:
Information on Reboot Series can be found here:

Blurb: The adventures of a secret agent armed with almost infinite scientific resourcefulness. 

What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Original Film, Lionsgate
Producers: Dino De Laurentiis, Neal H. Moritz, Lee Zlotoff

The original MacGyver is one of my favorite shows of all time – hands down. I used to watch it every week without fail with my mom. I couldn’t wait to see how Richard Dean Anderson (Firehouse, Stargate SG-1, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) would get his character out of the sticky situations that he always found himself in. One of the episodes that stuck in my mind involved him using chewing gum to help stop a leak from a giant tank of acid. This show was more than just a TV series – it was a cultural landmark. I am constantly referring to ‘MacGyvering’ something when an improvised fix is required. I’m not the only one that does – though it is a bit of a generational thing. 

I had some serious reservations when I found out about the reboot TV series on CBS. I was familiar with Lucas Till (X-Men: Apocalypse, Wolves, Monster Trucks) but skeptical as to whether he could step into Anderson’s shoes effectively. I ultimately decided to give it a chance – because I’m just that big of a geek that I love and miss seeing all those on-the-fly solutions to dangerous problems. If you didn’t already realize with my prior White Rabbit Project (2016-) article – I am a HUGE fan of science entertainment. I think MacGyver was a big factor that influenced that. 

I digress. The point is, I wasn’t really disappointed in the series. They actually throw in quite a few nods to the original both visually, audibly, and within the writing - and with Till in the lead, he actually captures the essence of the original role without actually coming across as trying to be an Anderson clone. The new series gets to explore all sorts of cutting edge (and likely some still theoretical) technology in updating the franchise out of the ‘80s. It’s also more of an ensemble cast show, whereas the original didn’t seem to be so much. Sure Mac had people that had his back but I can’t remember them at all. 

Considering Lionsgate announced both projects at once as part of a development deal with CBS, I’m wondering if the projects are tied together. I actually hope that they are. I was a reluctant convert to the new series – but I can’t imagine them capturing lightning in a bottle a second time in casting anyone different for the movie. Nothing has been announced in that regard yet, but I can only hope that Till, whom is already a veteran of big projects on the big screen, gets to helm this adaptation. They need to avoid the frustrating route that DC Cinematic Universe has taken with their division of small and large screen casts.

2 - Wicked

Original Run Timeframe: 2003 - Present
Media Format: Broadway Stage Production
Genre: Musical, Fantasy, Romance
Rated: Unrated
More information on the original can be found here:

What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Marc Platt Productions, Universal Pictures
Executive Producers: Marc E. Platt, David Stone 
Writer: Winnie Holzman
Director: Stephen Daldry
Hollywood is in love with musicals again. This is a fabulous thing as far as I’m concerned! I’ve wanted to see the stage production of Wicked, but haven’t lived in or traveled to any area where the Broadway production has appeared. 

I love a good spin and flip on a well-known story – such as taking fairy tales and giving them a different perspective. This has been attempted once already on the big screen with Oz the Great and Powerful (2013). I can’t wait to see this reimagining of the tale.

TheWrap seems to have first broken the news back in June 2016 that this movie was moving forward with a projected release date by Universal on December 20, 2019. As yet, the film does not have a cast selected that we are aware of.

I am genuinely excited about this movie and can’t wait to learn more about it as it works through the production process.

1 - Cats

Original Run Timeframe: 1982-2000
Media Format: Broadway Stage Production
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Drama
Rated: Unrated
More information on the original can be found here:

What we know about the planned adaptation:
Production Companies: Working Title Films, Universal Pictures
Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Tom Hooper
Writer: Debra Hayward, Andrew Lloyd Webber, T.S. Eliot
Director: Tom Hooper

I think I’m the most excited to see this movie hit the screen. I’ve always wanted to see this show and have missed it the few times it passed through my area on its tours. Sufficed to say, I was a sad panda when they ended its Broadway run (and overjoyed when they restarted it).

The music is gorgeous and sticks with you – and you’ve probably heard some of it without realizing. Several numbers from this show were popular talent show selections back when I was in school.

I think that the stage production already does a fabulous job of turning its cast into felines; though with the employ of Hollywood movie magic – just think of how seamless and glorious it would be in the live-action movie! (They’d better not screw that up.) TheWrap didn’t give us too many details in their May 2016 article, but you can bet it’s something I’m going to stay on top of.

I’m fairly giddy about this one, can you tell?

What other shows would you be either elated or incensed to see on a theater marquee near you?

But I Digress... is a weekly column for that can't be pinned down to just one thing. It's Cat's celebration of tangents, random references, and general fan geekdom that both intertwines with, revolves around, and diverges from our movie-review core. In homage to the beloved Brit comedians, we want to bring you something completely different!

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