The best TV shows made into movies

We take a look at the stories that have made the leap from small to big screen…

Taking the leap from the small screen to the cinema screen is a gamble for many stories, and one that does not always pay off. With MRS BROWN’S BOYS D’MOVIE released in Irish cinemas this week, we take a look at the best TV shows that successfully made the jump from TV to cinema screens.


Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, the VERONICA MARS movie was released in cinemas earlier this year. For many years, fans had been crying out that Veronica and Logan’s story was left unfinished, so when the opportunity to contribute to seeing Mars Investigations on the big screen, fans jumped at the chance. The story followed an older, qualified Veronica (KKristen Bell) as she tries to make her way in the real world, but is dragged back to Neptune, California, when her ex-boyfriend is arrested for murder.
The character-driven thriller was made for the fans, and some knowledge of the show was needed to appreciate the story, but with &*% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a spin-off in the works, VERONICA MARS is one TV show that successfully moved from small to big screen.


It takes a certain type of person to want to hurl themselves off things, have things thrown at them and be launched through things in the name of entertainment, and the JACKASS boys are those people. Originally a TV show on MTV, JACKASS has gone on to spawn three movies, as well as the Oscar nominated – yes, really! – BAD GRANDPA.
Cinema audiences did not need to know the story of the TV show to appreciate the movies, but they did need a strong stomach and the will to laugh at people hurting themselves and generally being jackasses. Having the charismatic Johnny Knoxville as the front man certainly helped too.
JACKASS – THE MOVIE is the only film in the franchise to be certified ‘rotten’ on Rotten Tomatoes, with BAD GRANDPA sitting comfortably at 60%.


The Monty Python boys created four narrative films on the back of their hugely popular, wildly absurd TV show MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS. Only two of the films – AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT and THE MEANING OF LIFE – truly followed the chow’s sketch format, while THE HOLY GRAIL and THE LIFE OF BRIAN lampooned religion and popular culture in a more traditional narrative manner.
All four films score 90% or more on Rotten Tomatoes, and many fans more fondly remember the Knights Who Say Ni than the Ministry of Silly Walk or Upper Class Twit of the Year sketches from the TV show. It helps that the movies are brilliantly written, with quotes for almost every situation.


The Muppets started life on Sesame Street, before THE MUPPET SHOW was born in 1976. It wasn’t long before Jim Henson decided to capitalise on the success of his creations, with THE MUPPET MOVIE being released in 1979. Since then, there have been seven other Muppet movies released in cinemas – the most recent being MUPPETS MOST WANTED – meaning that The Muppets are now more movie stars than they are TV characters. No complaints here though! The Muppets were a huge part of many people’s lives as they grew up, and their resurgence in popularity on the big screen since THE MUPPETS was released in 2011, is due in part to nostalgia, as well as catchy songs and endearing character.
The eight Muppet movies have an average score of 78% on Rotten Tomatoes, and finally won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2011 for MAN OR MUPPET.


The first episode of SOUTH PARK originally aired in 1997, and two years later Trey Parker and Matt Stone brought the foul mouthed characters to the big screen in SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER, AND UNCUT.
The story of the film follows Stan, Cartman, Kenny and Kyle as their ‘fragile little minds’ are warped by a movie that they see. The end result is the US declaring war on Canada for producing the obscene movie, and Satan rising from hell.
The movie is as over the top and surreal as the TV show, but is filled with comment on free speech, censorship and the controversy that surrounded the show when it was first aired. The film has made over $83 million worldwide, and was one of the only R-Rated films to be nominated for an Oscar; for the song Blame Canada.

Honourable mentions to: FIREFLY, LOST IN SPACE and THE ADDAMS FAMILY.

MRS BROWN’S BOYS D’MOVIE is released in Irish cinemas on June 27th

Words: Brogen Hayes