Now, you probably knew that there was a Ferris Bueller television spinoff, but the one you’re no doubt thinking of is Parker Lewis Can’t Lose which, if you couldn’t guess from the title, isn’t actually a direct spinoff despite absolutely, 100% being based on the same concept. The series starred a guy named Charlie Schlatter as the eponymous Ferris, but he didn’t really get much of a chance to become anything even resembling a star as the show lasted only 13 episodes. One fun fact about the man who would be TV Ferris, however: he was the original choice to voice Philip Fry in Futurama, before being replaced by Billy West. Oh, and even more interestingly? Jennifer Aniston played the Jennifer Grey role of Jeannie Bueller in the short-lived series. So, there’s that.
A lot of folks, sadly, may not remember the film Breaking Away by title alone, but if we were to tell you it’s that one with Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, and Jackie Earle Haley as blue collar kids in Bloomington, Indiana, who find themselves in the Little 500 bike race against rich college kids, well, chances are a whole lot better you know exactly what we’re talking about. Breaking Away won Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars, so it’s no surprise that someone tried to turn it into a TV series. Amazingly, Jackie Earle Haley reprised his role of Moocher, but the show lasted only eight episodes before fizzling out and becoming a forgotten potential gem.
Serpico is one of the most beloved cop films in history, starring Al Pacino as a damn good cop working against a corrupt system, and maybe not surprisingly there was an attempt to turn it into a TV series. It actually seems like a prime example of a TV spinoff of a movie that really should have worked, but it lasted only 15 episodes. There was some talent behind it, as well, with legendary composer Elmer Bernstein creating the theme music but even that wasn’t enough to save this from becoming a forgotten attempt to capitalize on the success of a great film.
A lot of television spinoffs of movies are pretty much straightforward continuations of the plots of those movies, but that was not the case with a horribly misguided attempt to turn the John Candy classic Uncle Buck into a weekly sitcom. The movie was big on learning to become one big, happy, accepting family, but the series decided, “Eh, screw that, let’s kill the parents and make Buck the legal guardian of those kids!” Yeah, that was seriously the premise. Uncle Buck, played here by the insanely obnoxious Kevin Meaney, is forced to take care of his nieces and nephew after his brother and sister-in-law die in a car wreck. That’s good old fashioned family fun, right there. Not surprisingly, it lasted only one season.
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