chuck-tv-series

I am completely aware that I might be incurring the wrath of Internet fanboys and girls everywhere, but my heart can no longer allow me to be silent. I simply have to ask, Do we really think that the current round of cult shows being given cinematic treatment actually deserve it? Sure, I like Veronica Mars and Arrested Development as much as the next guy (actually, apparently I don’t) but c’mon people, leave their legacies alone!

Let me make myself clear, I have no intentions of attacking the quality of these shows or the devoted fanbases that they have each amassed. I’m just tired of everybody on the Internet suddenly having the ability to greenlight future projects; our government is a democracy, and Hollywood, despite all the politics, needs to remain a meritocracy.

Now there’s a campaign to make the quirky, but decidedly television-y Chuck into a feature film, and I have to scream, enough is enough!  There may be perhaps three shows in the history of TV that possessed the stakes, quality, and cinematic juju to leap to the big screen, and the fact that Bonanza, Battlestar Gallactica, or The Sopranos never did means that fans of these great, but still decidedly “cult” shows need to cool their jets.

I know I sound harsh, but I only say this because I was once you. While I never watched The X-Files (I’m a baby, not a philistine) or saw the polarizing 1998 movie, I will readily admit to loving Sex and The City. I’m well aware that it’s become apropos of circles outside of Teenage Long Island Jewish Princesses and their gay best friends to bash the iconic show, and yes, I too eventually grew tired of the overemphasis on materialism. But when I first heard that Carrie and the girls were reuniting for a big screen feature, I practically jumped for joy.

Now, 6 years later, look where we’re at. Though the first film was certainly a hit, the combination of the overexposure it gave the girls, not to mention the gratuitous sequel that followed, have tested the love of even SATC’s most devoted fans while alienating potential new ones and furthering the incorrect myth that this show was less about female friendships and more about shoe porn.  And this is a comedy that many would argue, had a cinematic sheen from the very first episode, fortified with HBO’s deep, subscriber flushed pockets. If Carrie and Co. barely survived their jump to the big screen, what are the chances for a cancelled UPN show? For Sex And The City, the decision to hit the theaters tarnished an illustrious legacy simply to satisfy a few rabid devotees who’d have been just as happy with a TV movie on Lifetime about Magda’s journey back to the old country. Take heed, Kristen Bell!

I remember way back in the innocent 90s, when brilliant niche shows like My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks were canceled ahead of their time, leaving this hormonal teen to mourn desperately, feeling helpless as to the fate of shows he loved like they were family members. Well, you know what I did? I got over it! I had faith that the casts and crews would go on to bigger and better things, and clearly you’d have to be under a pop-culture rock not to know that they did. Was Arrested Development unfairly cancelled in it’s prime? Absolutely! But the cast and crew certainly moved on, why couldn’t the fans?

Robert Frost once famously said, nothing gold can stay. Apparently the great New England poet was wrong though, because in this age of instant gratification and all-access media, where everyone believes themselves to be Louis B. Mayer, everything can stay — gold or not. I know, why don’t we just start making the TGIF lineup into movies, or how bout the docs from ER have their own celluloid adventure? 3D blood spurting everywhere! Americans will love it!

Can’t we just go back to the trend of cinematically remaking kitschy older shows with entirely new casts and crews? I laughed my butt off at the campy delights of The Brady Bunch Movie and The Addams Family films (in fact, Paul Rudnick’s Addams Family Values is in my top three of favorite comedic films of all time). I don’t even mind the stylized and mega-budgeted remakes of classic dramas like The Fugitive and Mission Impossible. But to simply translate a cancelled or run-its-course show into a feature just to satisfy a few fans who are unable to deal with change makes absolutely no sense to me. If Chuck peeps can’t be happy with  simply a boob tube reunion or TV movie, someone needs to remind them how great the Growing Pains special or the Saved By the Bell movies-of-the-week were.

I don’t know why I’m so surprised about this recent trend though, in a world where J.Lo’s career is compared to that of Elizabeth Taylor’s, and Anna Nicole Smith is considered Marilyn Monroe. There will always be small niche groups that believe lump white fish to be lobster meat. It’s just that nowadays, the Internet and its everyone-is-an-expert and I-deserve-to-get-what-I-want-with-the-click-of-a-mouse culture give their voices so much credence. Aside from a hallowed few that possess the look and scope to make the proper leap to film, television programs need to stay in the universe in which they were created, because to reformat them feels as wrong as when a film is hastily refitted with 3D after the fact. I hate to sound like a Harvard Club man, but when a TV show has ended, its legacy is all that it’s left with, and to tarnish this aint worth its price in gold…or Facebook likes.