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20 best TV shows that got their own movies

From small screen to box office smash

Some TV shows are just so good, or so iconic, that they need space to breathe on the big screen. From big Hollywood blockbusters like Mission: Impossible and 21 Jump Street to sci-fi dramas like Serenity, theres plenty to get excited about in the world of TV-to-film adaptations (especially if Joss Whedon is involved).

Just in case youre wondering, we've ranked based on the quality of the films here so, just because you loved the original TV show, that doesn't mean it is going to be high on our list. And, as always, we can guarantee a few spoilers are going to crop up, so dont say we didn't warn you! Go on, begin the countdown

20. Dark Shadows (2012)

Everybody loves a good vampire, especially if theyre flawed, scared and slightly deranged like Barnabas Collins in the Dark Shadows series. The concept was rolled out to television in 1966 and 1991, but it only hit the big time in 2012 when Johnny Depp stepped into Barnabas shoes.

The plot is simple; an imprisoned vampire is set free and returns to his ancestral home only to find his descendants are completely dysfunctional. The film starring Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Lee Miller, and Helena Bonham-Carter had so much potential, but sadly it tanked. Visually, we were impressed, but the plot and script needed a little fine tuning. Keep your eyes peeled for the inevitable remake.

19. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been through so many reboots, reincarnations and remakes that its almost impossible to keep track. There are a few key dates for your memory palace though, like 1987, when the first TV series aired and 1990 when the first movie spin-off was born.

Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo and Michelangelo were given another shot at solving crime in a big budget 2014 movie starring Megan Fox as April ONeil. We loved the sense of nostalgia, but a movie focused on fantastical heroes, karate and pizza shouldnt have to work so hard to keep us entertained. The CGI fight sequences made us dizzy, but we enjoyed some of the corny one-liners. Well probably give Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 our last shred of optimism when it hits cinemas in 2016.

18. Entourage (2015)

We lamented the human race when a generation of people declared Entourage as their ultimate guide to life. The boys club TV show aired from 2004 to 2011 and had some entertaining moments and memorable characters, especially Jeremy Pivens Ari Gold.

Hardcore fans were gutted when the show finally ended, but were quickly appeased by a feature length movie released earlier this year. To say the reviews were bad is a bit of an understatement, but, as it picked up almost exactly where the TV show left off, fans got the closure they craved. Were all about closure Joss Whedon, JJ Abrams, James Cameron were looking at you!

17. The A-Team (2010)

The 1980s were an, errr, interesting time for television. The decade that fashion forgot may have spawned some great characters, but it didnt do much to limit the amount of cringe-worthy dialogue on offer. The ultimate example of this is The A-Team, which made boys (and grown men) giggly with excitement from 1983 to 1987.

When it was decided to reboot the TV show and turn it into a blockbuster action movie in 2010, we had high hopes, but not even Bradley Cooper and Liam Neeson could save this one. If youre a die hard fan of the original concept, then youll probably love it, but only in the same way as you love The Expendables or another Fast & Furious movie

16. Miami Vice (2006)

Windswept hair and shoulder pads had their moment in Miami Vice, which kept fans hooked for six seasons from 1984 to 1990. Unlike most TV shows of its generation, Miami Vice tapped into New Wave music culture and made itself relevant to anyone who considered themselves cool in the 1980s. It also starred Don Johnson as James Sonny Crockett, who became a kind of icon of awesomeness for the post-punk era.

This pop culture status made most movie-makers terrified of turning Miami Vice into a full-blown movie. Fortunately for us Michael Mann came along in 2006, bringing Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Naomie Harris, and Justin Theroux along for the ride. Fans of the original show hated it, but audiences generally stayed awake until the end. Well let you make up your own mind.

15. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Were not sure whether we should love or loathe the Transformers franchise for gifting/cursing us with the revival of Shia LaBeoufs film career. Transformers started as a popular TV series in 1984 and was given an animated movie follow-up in 1986.

By 2007 Michael Bay had worked his magic, scooped up LaBeouf and Megan Fox and bought the war between the Autobots and Decepticons to life. There are four films in the franchise, but weve picked the second Revenge of the Fallen as the best of the bunch. Dont agree with us? That's what the comment section is for...

14. The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008)

The X-Files is great, we all know this, end of story. But it has always felt unfinished, like theres something Mulder and Scully arent telling us we really, really want to know what that is. With the new TV show kicking off in January next year, well be catching up on seasons one to nine, plus the spin-off movies The X Files and The X Files: I Want to Believe.

The latter featured a particularly creepy Billy Connolly as Father Joseph Crissman, but the film also had massive problems. In fact, some fans are crushing our dreams by telling people to watch the film before getting too excited about the 2016 series reboot. Were shocked and horrified (although we kinda sorta agree with you, the film wasn't the best). Damn you, Chris Carter!

13. Spooks: The Greater Good

We love a good spy film (hello James Bond!), but out of all the secret agent dramas on TV it was Spooks which left a mark. It certainly made an entrance by boiling one of its characters alive in the very first episode, leaving gentle viewers reeling and desperately jabbing their phones to ring Ofcom. Despite this shaky start the show stuck around for 10 seasons and finally ended in 2011.

Fans silently sobbed into their pillows until 2015, when the movie Spooks: The Greater Good was released in cinemas. It loosely picks up where the TV show left off and its certainly entertaining, but the only word we could muster was blah. It was just blah. It was good to see Jon Snow, errr, we mean Kit Harrington playing a posh English hero as opposed to a Northern English hero though. See, he has range!

12. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)

South Park has been going strong for 19 seasons with its mix of satire, sarcasm, offensive language and parodies. When the show was first released in 2007 you couldnt move for Cartman-related merchandise, Who Killed Kenny? t-shirts, backpacks, flip phone covers and even bedspreads. Then, in 2000, the show focused more on topical comedy, writing episodes just one week before they were destined to air. The rest, as they say, is history.

The movie version pushed South Park's bad taste comedy to the limit, with a Saddam Hussein/The Devil love match in Hell and a brutal war with Canada. After its release in 1999, kids scrambled to watch the R-rated film and learn the lyrics to Kyles Moms a Bitch. YouTube it now if you need a quick laugh

Sarah Jordan
Sarah Jordan
TV obsessive. Expert in the ShondaLand universe. Buffy the Vampire Slayer until the day I die. General lover of superheroes, dramas, sci-fi, but strictly no horror. I want to make the term 'appendage shows' an actual thing, like 'fetch' in Mean Girls.