Hannibal (and five other films that would make great TV shows)
Already the subject of no fewer than four feature films, Thomas Harris' murderous creation, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, was given another new incarnation in 2013, this time in an eponymous TV series led by the show's creator, director Bryan Fuller. Starring Mads Mikkelsen as the brilliant but highly disturbed Lecter, the show combines narratives and characters from all of Harris' books, but mostly follows Hannibal's timeline before the part of his life depicted in The Silence of the Lambs (hence no Clarice Starling), beginning with Dr. Lecter still working as a practicing psychiatrist and the beginnings of his odd relationship with FBI profiler Will Graham.
Mikkelsen is excellent in the role of Lecter, support throughout the show's three seasons by a talented cast that has included Laurence Fishburne, Gillian Anderson, Eddie Izzard, Hugh Dancy and Richard Armitage, among many others. The third season, aired earlier this year, proved to be its last and focusses largely on the character of Francis Dolarhyde (Armitage), a serial killer variously known in Harris' novels as 'The Tooth Fairy' or 'The Red Dragon', detailing his obsession with William Blake's famous painting and his transformation from disturbed film processing technician to fully-fledged murderer.
Despite dwindling ratings in its third season, the series overall gained a positive reception from audiences and critics alike and the expanded, TV serial format allows for more exploration of established characters like Dolarhyde and Will Graham (Dancy). It's an idea that seems to be part of a growing trend in TV adaptations of hit movies, with shows like Gotham performing well and numerous others on the way, including Jonathan Nolan's reimagining of cult 70s sci-fi movie Westworld and Martin Scorsese's Ashcliffe, a series based on his own Shutter Island and set before the events of the film.
With these and more in production, we thought we'd make a few suggestions of our own as there are plenty of great films we'd love to see turned into TV series. Hannibal will arrive in stores on Monday (October 19th) and you can watch the trailer for the final season below, beneath that we've picked five films we think would work brilliantly on TV. Enjoy...
V for Vendetta
Among fans of comics and graphic novels, writer Alan Moore needs little introduction. With titles like From Hell and Watchmen, Moore helped shift the focus of comic books away from younger audiences with a more gritty, adult approach to his writing. He is, however, notoriously dismissive of the Hollywood adaptations of his work and has disassociated himself from both Zack Sneider's version of Watchmen and James McTiegue's adaptation of his other seminal work, V for Vendetta, but while the former is currently rumoured to be the subject of a planned HBO series, the latter is just as ripe for serialisation.
The Wachowskis' script for McTiegue's film crams a lot into a two hour slot, but there is so much more to the characters in Moore's graphic novel than appears in the film and a TV series would be the perfect way to explore them. He's unlikely to want to be involved, but in the wake of the Occupy and Anonymous movements the character V has become a powerful symbol of dissent, so much so that the Guy Fawkes masks have been banned in the UAE, so we think there's definitely a global appeal there and an opportunity to revisit this complex character in more detail.
Once Upon a Time in America
Sergio Leone is known to most as the godfather of the 'spaghetti western', but his final film – although part of a series that began in the wild west – is instead set in New York and follows the life of a former prohibition-era gangster on his return to the lower east side neighbourhood where he grew up.
Aside from the fact that it's a great story, the fact that it covers the lives of David 'Noodles' Aaronson and Max Bercovicz over such a long timeframe offers plenty of opportunity for longevity, so this is one that could potentially run for season after season. With Boardwalk Empire now but a distant memory, there's even a gap in the schedule for something just like this.
Gordon Gecko is the embodiment of 1980s capitalism and recently made a return to the big screen in the wake of the global financial crisis in Oliver Stone's 2010 sequel, Money Never Sleeps. What neither film really shows you though is quite how Gecko got to be the way he is, so we figured that a Gotham-style prequel charting his rise to success might be worth a shot.
You can imagine how this might pan out; daddy issues, boarding school, bullying – nobody knows for sure how Gordon got so greedy, but wouldn't you love to find out?
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
Chuck Barris is probably best known to most as the presenter of American talent show The Gong Show, which aired in the 1970s and 80s, or even as a producer of other gameshows such as The Dating Game, but while he could rightly claim to be the godfather of shows like Blind Date and Britain's Got Talent, in his autobiography, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, he claims something else: that he was also working as a contract assassin for the CIA the whole time.
Adapted for the big screen by Charlie Kaufman and George Clooney, the film embellishes even further on Barris' own story (which he still refuses to admit he made up), but with Kaufman writing the script there would be some much more mileage in this idea and we'd love to see it get made. Chuck Barris on the grassy knoll, anyone?
Quentin Tarantino has a habit of creating extensive backstories for all of his characters – even the ones with very little screen time – and there is, according to the director, a whole 'Tarantino Universe'. Did you know, for example, that Reservoir Dogs' Mr. Blonde and Pulp Fiction's Vincent Vega are actually brothers? Or that Donnie 'The Bear Jew' Donowitz from Inglorious Basterds is the father of Lee Donowitz from True Romance?
It's exactly this kind of detail that makes Tarantino's characters perfect for TV serialisation, and there must be plenty of mileage in the adventures of the five assassins from Kill Bill. We reckon a series about the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad would be a hit. In fact, we're a little surprised it hasn't happened already...