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Most Memorable Movies Based on TV Shows

'The Bob's Burgers Movie' is the latest in a long list of memorable movies based on TV shows. See whose footsteps it follows in, ranked by Metascore.

Andrea Reiher
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'The Bob's Burgers Movie'

Courtesy of YouTube

After more than 10 years (featuring more than 200 episodes) about the burger-flipping Belcher family and their cast of zany friends, Bob (H. Jon Benjamin), Linda (John Roberts), Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman). and Louise (Kristen Schaal) made the leap to the big screen with The Bob's Burgers Movie.

This animated adventure, which has a Metascore of 75, sees a sinkhole open up on the street outside the burger joint, which blocks the entrance and leaves Bob and Linda trying to figure out how to keep their struggling restaurant afloat. Meanwhile, the kids encounter dangers left and right as they try to solve a mystery that could help save the family business. It is billed as a musical comedy mystery adventure and sounds like fun for the whole family.

With that in mind, we wanted to share with you some of the most memorable TV shows that became movies. A lot of properties have gone the other way (a popular movie has become a TV series), but there are definitely some standout properties that started out as TV shows and became highly successful and popular films, including The Simpsons Movie and The Sopranos' prequel film. There are even such iconic film franchises that may be easy to forget started out on the small screen, from Star Trek to Mission: Impossible. Of course, not all movies based on television shows are memorable because they took the stories in a better direction, but that's what makes reflecting on how far franchise have come fun.

So, let's take a look back at the top 10 most memorable TV series that were turned into movies, ranked by Metascore.


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Ian McShane in 'Deadwood: The Movie'

Courtesy of YouTube

Deadwood: The Movie

Metascore: 86
Best for: Fans of gritty Westerns and quietly powerful acting
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, , iTunes,
Runtime: 110 minutes

After a three-season run on HBO from 2004 to 2006, the residents of Deadwood, S.D. come back for a film set 10 years after the events from the end of the third season in this 2019 followup. Calamity Jane (Robin Weigert) and Alma Garret Ellsworth (Molly Parker) return to town as U.S. Marshal Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) is investigating the murder of Charlie Utter (Dayton Callie), which it turns out was ordered by a familiar face from the TV series, but no spoilers here! Alma and Seth are still star-crossed lovers, but Seth is now happy with the family he made in Deadwood. Meanwhile, other relationships advance when Sol Star (John Hawkes) marries Trixie (Paula Malcomson) and Trixie sits with a dying Al Swearengen (Ian McShane). It is poignant and a very satisfying wrap-up (just check out that "Must-Watch" designation based on the Metascore) to the series that many think should have gotten more seasons in its original run.

"As a series capper, it's a satisfying, loving end that fulfills old Deadwood's imperfect promises while mostly avoiding the pitfalls of nostalgia." — Jacob Oller, Paste Magazine


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Tom Cruise in 'Mission: Impossible'

Courtesy of YouTube

The Mission: Impossible Franchise

Metascore: Ranges from 59 to 86
Best for: Fans of action films who also want a twisty plot
Where to watch:

Google Play, iTunes, Pluto TV, Vudu
Runtime: Range from 110 minutes to 147 minutes

Tom Cruise took the CBS TV series about secret government spies that ran from 1966 to 1973 and turned it into an action-packed, death-defying series of movies. The first film, released in 1996, received middle-of-the-road reviews, as did the immediate follow-up in 2000. But the third, fourth, fifth and sixth installments keep getting increasingly positive ratings as Ethan Hunt (Cruise) gets entangled in increasingly dramatic, heart-pounding global espionage. In the sixth one, "Fallout," a mission goes awry and Hunt finds himself in a race against time to stop a terrorist organization known as the Apostles, made up of former members of the Syndicate, the arm of British intelligence that acts outside the rule of law. Two more films in the franchise are due to be released in 2023 and 2024.

"[Mission: Impossible 6 has] that finely-tuned, perfect blend of every technical element that it takes to make a great action film, all in service of a fantastic script." — Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com


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From left to right: Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in 'Star Trek'

Courtesy of YouTube

The Star Trek Franchise

Metascore: Ranges from 43 to 82
Best for: Science fiction aficionados who also love humor and heart
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Pluto TV,
Runtime: Ranges from 103 minutes to 132 minutes

The original Star Trek TV series ran on NBC for three seasons in the 1960s. Other than an animated series in the 1970s, it did not reappear on TV until the late 1980s with The Next Generation, which spawned multiple spin-off series. But starting in 1979 came a series of movies that have been quite popular, following Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and the rest of the USS Enterprise as they save various ships, worlds and galaxies from utter destruction. In 1994, the series shifted to four films following Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), then the original films were rebooted in 2009 with Chris Pine stepping into Kirk's captain's chair. The three newest films in the series have all been generally well-received, with the first in that franchise becoming a "Metacritic Must-Watch" because of its 82 Metascore, and a fourth one is slated for a 2023 release.

"This new Star Trek is fast-moving, funny, exciting warp-speed entertainment and, heaven help me, even quite moving." — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian


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'The Simpsons Movie'

Courtesy of YouTube

The Simpsons Movie

Metascore: 80
Best for: Fans of the long-running animated sitcom looking for even more jokes and sight gags per story
Where to watch:

, , fuboTV, Google Play, iTunes,
Runtime: 87 minutes

The Simpsons is the longest-running scripted primetime American television show of all time, beginning as a series of animated sketches on The Tracey Ullman Show in the 1980s before becoming its own half-hour sitcom in 1989. It has aired ever since, and in 2007 it even got the big-screen treatment. Similar to Bob's Burgers, the movie just allows for more breathing room for a new story; he doesn't reboot the world for a new medium. In true Simpsons form, the big-screen treatment focuses on family patriarch Homer Simpson (Dan Castellaneta) having to save Springfield (and the world) from a global catastrophe that he started, which leads to Springfield being imprisoned under a giant dome. After losing his family because of his selfishness, Homer returns to Springfield to save the day and gets back in his wife Marge's (Julie Kavner) good graces.

"The genius is in the writing and in keeping all gambits created by the individual writers in sync, so the piece has a tonal consistency and a narrative flow." — Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post


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'South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut'

Courtesy of YouTube

South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut

Metascore: 73
Best for: People who love musicals, satire, and fart jokes
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 81 minutes

Just two years into South Park's successful (and still going) run on Comedy Central, the show about the four foul-mouthed kids from Colorado got the big-screen treatment with Bigger, Longer, & Uncut. The movie skewers its own medium by following the boys' scheme to get into an R-rated movie where they learn swear words — gasp! The pearl-clutchers get all up in arms about the film-within-a-film's comedy duo Terrance and Phillip corrupting their precious, innocent babies, while little Kenny (Matt Stone) is kept busy trying to stop Satan (Trey Parker) from taking over the world for Saddam Hussein (also Stone). It is also filled with surprisingly catchy original music.

"Turns out to be the funniest, most risk-taking, most incisive movie of the summer." — Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly


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From left to right: Aaron Paul and Jonathan Banks in 'El Camino'

Netflix

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

Metascore: 72
Best for: People who love a good redemption story
Where to watch: Netflix
Runtime: 122 minutes

This follow-up to the award-winning, critically-acclaimed AMC TV series Breaking Bad follows Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), the young man who became Walter White's (Bryan Cranston) meth-manufacturing partner-in-crime in the series. White was killed in the series finale and the film picks up moments later, as Pinkman flees the scene and hides out with some friends who help make it look as though he fled to Mexico. As he tries to avoid being killed by the Brotherhood and Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons), Jesse tries to get Ed Galbraith (Robert Forster) to help make him disappear. (This ends up being Forster's final role before his death, as he died the day the movie was released.) El Camino brings back a bunch of previous series stars via flashbacks, plus wraps up Jesse's cliffhanger to provide closure for the longtime fans, but it also works as a standalone action thriller.

"That this film can stand on its own, all while paying tribute to the show that helped birth it, is maybe the most impressive escape act of them all." — Steve Greene, IndieWire


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From left to right: Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in '21 Jump Street'

Courtesy of YouTube

21 Jump Street

Metascore: 69
Best for: Fans of the buddy cop comedy subgenre
Where to watch:

, fuboTVGoogle Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 109 minutes

This 2012 film bears only a passing resemblance to the 1980s TV series of the same title that sees cops go undercover as high school students — and thank goodness because that show only received a 13 Metascore. The show was a drama starring Johnny Depp as a young police officer posing as a high school student, but the comedy film sees Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill star as Jenko and Schmidt, respectively, a pair of police officers tasked with infiltrating a local high school to contain the spread of a synthetic drug called HFS (Holy F---ing Sh--). The movie doesn't take itself seriously, instead featuring wall-to-wall physical gags, clever wordplay, and fun puns, but it also features the unlikely bonding of Jenko and Schmidt, who were total opposites when they actually were in high school. A sequel, aptly titled 22 Jump Street, was released two years later.

"This movie embraces everything that should make it lousy, calling out itself for aping the source's bad ideas then flipping the script with meta precision." — Steve Persall, the Tampa Bay Times


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Michael Gandolfini in 'The Many Saints of Newark'

Courtesy of YouTube

The Many Saints of Newark

Metascore: 60
Best for: Fans of mafia movies and origin stories
Where to watch:

Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes,
Runtime: 120 minutes

This 2021 prequel to The Sopranos centers on how one young gangster in New Jersey became the Tony Soprano (the late James Gandolfini) fans would fall in love with over six seasons of the HBO TV series. Gandolfini's real-life son Michael Gandolfini plays young Tony, a high school student struggling in school despite having a high IQ and leadership qualities. He really just wants to feel loved by his mother Livia (Vera Farmiga), but instead finds himself seeking out community and validation from the mafiosos in his life. It was divisive amongst critics, receiving some very favorable reviews, but a few thought it didn't have enough of the TV show's heart and soul to fully work, hence the yellow Metascore.

"When you make a film out of the greatest TV show of all time, there's bound to be a hint of disappointment. What you're getting here is a very enjoyable mob movie that can be appreciated by anybody, but will undoubtedly be preferred by Sopranos fans." — Johnny Oleksinski, the New York Post


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From left to right: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu in 'Charlie's Angels'

Courtesy of YouTube

The Charlie's Angels Films

Metascore: 52 (original) and 48 (sequel)
Best for: Fans of slick, light-hearted action movies led by kick-ass ladies
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Starz, Vudu
Runtime: Each film runs approximately 100 minutes

This action franchise takes the conceit of the 1970s show — three beautiful, smart, capable female private detectives go on missions given to them by their mysterious boss, Charlie — and turns it up to 11, coupling high-tech gadgets with quippy comebacks and a creepy villain known as Thin Man (Crispin Glover). The titular angels are played with gusto by Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu, and Bill Murray assists them as Bosley. Tim Curry and Sam Rockwell also appear in the first film as two high-tech communications experts whose loyalties are murky. The 2003 follow-up was not quite as good as the first one, as you can see from its lower Metascore, but both (and even the 2019 film) continue the action and themes of the series much more so than the 2011 television series reboot attempt.

"Something rare: a mess of a movie that is somehow infectious, and infectious not despite its mess, but because of it." — Robert Horton, Film.com


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'Sex and the City 2'

Courtesy of YouTube

The Sex and the City Films

Metascore: 53 (original) and 27 (sequel)
Best for: Fashionistas and those who didn't get enough 
Where to watch:

, Google Play, HBO Max, iTunes,
Runime: Each is roughly 145 minutes

This is perhaps the starkest example of how follow-up films can change the course of an iconic piece of television, which is what makes the two films so memorable. The first film wraps up the four ladies' storylines from the HBO series, with Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) finally marrying Big (Chris Noth) capping years of romantic relationship ups and downs with something sweet. But the sequel pokes more holes in the women's lives and inexplicably takes them to Abu Dhabi where Carrie sees an old flame — yeah, crunchy carpenter Aiden (John Corbett) just happens to be in Abu Dhabi. Their sense of privilege sees them keeping their Western style alive in a place that is much more conservative, causing a huge culture clash that results in (among other things) Samantha (Kim Cattrall) getting arrested and inciting a mob.

"In its cinematic incarnation, Sex and the City has lost none of its bawdiness yet gained a more profound sense of soberness." — Kimberley Jones, The Austin Chronicle, of the first one

"An insult to the memory of the cleverly written show and its celebration of friendship, it's a slap in the face of the four gal pals ... and an affront to Muslims." — Claudia Puig, USA Today, of the sequel