Tag Archives: Clint Eastwood

The Exorcist to hit the small screen: The power of TV compels you

What with the success of such horror fare as The Walking Dead and American Horror Story in our living rooms it’s perhaps not unsurprising to hear the announcement that The Exorcist is to make the leap to the small screen in the form of a 10-part series.

Other horror franchises have hit the small screen in the past but these have just been in name only and effectively being loose reworkings of The Twilight Zone, step forward Freddy’s Nightmares, Friday the 13th (Voorhees free) and Poltergeist: The Legacy.

We of course hear lots about TV programmes being turned into films, some are good, such as The Fugitive ,The Naked Gun and Mission Impossible, some are bad, step up Wild Wild West and I Spy, whilst others are just plain ugly, Car 54, Where Are You? but less like this The Exorcist move.

Let’s have a flick through the TV Guide of yesteryear to celebrate and shake our heads at some of those franchises that made the leap, or in some case fatal stumbles, from our cinemas to the small screen.

Blue Thunder

I’ve always been a big fan of the Roy Scheider film on which this was based. I never realised it until yesterday but the main character, here played by James Farentino, isn’t even the same character as Scheider, he just has an equally big pair of shades. Daniel Stern couldn’t return due to him getting killed in the film (or really that doesn’t mean a thing, see what I mean later) so we had a similar sidekick in the form of Dana Carvey (yes, Garth from a future Wayne’s World) with support from two American Football legends, the fantastically named Dick Butkus and Bubba Smith, that’s right Hightower from Police Academy (and here I was under the impression he worked in a florists). Turns out that the sky wasn’t big enough for two helicopters and Airwolf – with its funkier titles, theme tune and flying machine) metaphorically shot it out of the sky after only 13 episodes. Still love Blue Thunder the movie though.

Alien Nation

Ah, the late 80s.After the success of Lethal Weapon we pretty much exhausted every mis-matched cop variation that we could (cop and dog – K(, American cop and Russian cop – Red Heat, cop and kid – Cop and a Half, cop and zombie ex partner – Dead Heat and cop and alien partner – Alien Nation.

The film starred James Caan and Mandy Patinkin and explored issues of race regarding a new alien species who were facing the same struggles that say black people were facing 15-20 years earlier when it was released in 1988. The TV series explored that theme a lot deeper and TV was the perfect place for it to draw out such issues. Even when the series ended it returned for several TV movies.

Stargate SG-1

At the current time of writing this is the longest constantly running Sci-Fi show (no, Doctor Who doesn’t count due to his long break). Spinning off from the hit film of the same title we have Richard Dean Anderson – almost shugging off all previous memory of MacGyver – bet he could have made his own Stargate – instead of Kurt Russell in the same role and crucially acknowledges, respects and significantly builds upon that original film world and did so for 10 seasons, its own spin off TV movie and two of its own spin of series, making it the most successful  Sci-Fi property since Star Trek.

Ferris Bueller

It could have only been more bungled if Principal Rooney had tried to make this himself. Sometimes a property works because of the writer and the actors involved, this had neither so was more a case of Ferris Bueller Bog Off rather than his still never bettered Day Off. It always seemed like Parker Lewis Can’t Lose tone and had Charlie Schlatter (liked him in 18 Again, hope he fired his agent after Police Academy 7 replacing Matt McCoy replacing Steve Guttenberg and perhaps most widely known for Diagnosis Murder) and an early turn from Jennifer Aniston and her pre operation nose. Talking of John Hughes properties, somehow, somehow Uncle Buck also made it to a series.

Working Girl

The film was Oscar-nominated, had a career best performance from Melanie Griffith who turned into Sandra Bullock for the short-lived TV version.

Tremors

After four films (don’t worry only two of them made them into cinemas) the Syfy Channel thought they’d Graboid some extra green stuff from the franchise and spin it out as a TV series, featuring Michael Gross, who has been a mainstay of all of the films (and played Michael J Fox’s dad in Family Ties). The Channel mucked about with the order so it made no sense, which meant sloppy re-editing and an audience that nose-divided sending the Graboids back into hiding never to be seen again.

Madigan

Richard Widmark lasted for six 90 minutes episodes of this TV series named after the 1968 film of the same name, which to be honest was some going as he got shot dead at the end of the film. The original film was directed by Don Siegel who would go onto make Dirty Harry.  In the same year as directing Madigan, Siegel also directed Coogan’s Bluff with a fish out of water cop played by Clint Eastwood. This also turned up on TV, this time as McCloud with Dennis Weaver in the role.

Casablanca

When Humphrey Bogart said “Play it again, Sam” I don’t think he meant the whole scenario, well amazingly that is what happened and more amazingly still it was with David Soul in the Bogart role in 1983, which also featured an early Ray Liotta and Scatman ‘Hong Kong Phooey” Crothers. Was also made for TV in 1955, the latter only lasted two episodes with the former shutting up shop after 6.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

It’s often forgotten that Buffy started out as something of a so-so movie with a good idea with the lovely but oh so different to Gellar, Kristy Swanson in the role.

Robocop

Think it over creep. I really wish they had. One of those really odd things that happened (a similar think happened with a  Rambo kids cartoon) were an ultra violent film and is slowly eroded away over sequels (flying Robocop in part 3 folks), then a TV series – which still looked like that same world but just something of a cuddlier version and even a cartoon.

Adventures in Babysitting

Now obviously I’m fully aware that whilst I’m out at work Sarah isn’t sat at home with Isabelle watching Jeremy Kyle or Homes Under the Hammer, far from it I know. But I still don’t think I really fully appreciated how compromised she is by having Isabelle around, I did however find out when I turned ‘Mr Mom’ for the day whilst Sarah and her mum ventured into London to watch Billy Elliot, more on that later.

Sarah’s home alone (I don’t mean she has to foil the wet bandits on a continuous daily basis) much of the week but this was pretty much my first proper experience of it on my lonesome and although I thought I knew what to expect it was something of an eye opener.

In times of old when you had a day off the time was pretty much your own but all that is changed, I even found surfing and emailing on a netbook compromised, typing one handed and taking several hours to write or research something that would have normally taken a couple of minutes.

er, shouldn't you be at work Dad?

The thing that struck me the most was that although I had the whole flat to myself I was pretty much quarantined to the living room which acted as base camp with visits to the kitchen to get another bottle of milk from the fridge and heat Isabelle’s bottle, all whilst juggling Isabelle in my arms.

The only other room ventured into was Isabelle’s room to get her nappy changed after feeding, so pretty much 50% of my day was spent feeding, burping and changing and the rest entertaining and stimulating through play and of course those all essential cuddles.

I can certainly see why some people go a little stir crazy with the routine, especially if it is day in and day out and don’t get any help or change from the routine by visiting family, local baby groups or just getting out of those four walls.

I think the thing that concerned me, and I know this is really stupid, was what on earth to I do if I need the loo? Do I have to take Isabelle in there and sit her with me? She’s rolling right over now so it’s not as if I can leave her in her nest on the sofa! Of course the rational me didn’t think about her little rocking chair.

Back to Billy Elliot for a moment. Ironically my worry for Sarah and her mum was far greater than my loo worries as they were heading up to London by coach extremely near to the rioting taking place in Parliament Square and it did seem to flare up every so often and made you wonder when and where it was going to end and what was going to happen next, especially with fires being started and police horses sent charging in, which along with police lines being broken down the very street Billy Elliot was playing made the live helicopter shots look like something out of the miner’s strike meets Planet of the Apes.

I had this vision of the coach somehow being caught up in events and it being rocked, battered and ending up like that bus at the end of that late70s Clint Eastwood film, The Gauntlet, so I stayed tuned in so I could report on anything untoward kicking off. Turns out the coach was fine but as a footnote Charles and Camilla’s car was attacked on the way to the Royal Variety Performance, so a senseless attack wasn’t totally out of the question.

Later on in the day Sarah’s dad joined me at the flat for a spot of food which gave me that breather from the living room, playing that role I normally play when I come in from work I guess, and it was amazing what a difference one extra pairs of eyes can make, now meaning that it was far easier to wash pots, feed the dog and generally do little chores that you pretty much take for granted.

When I went back to work a part of me was jealous of Sarah and all that time she gets to spend with Isabelle and seeing those first smiles, those gurgles and those little nuances that at the moment can change pretty much everyday, and part of me still is as I loved just spending time pretty much was watching Isabelle and making her smile. All that kind of cancels out the little tantrums, the interesting coloured nappies, the being awake when she should really, really be asleep.

Of course, Sarah gets out and gets to do loads with Isabelle but I think it’s those days when you are invariably stuck inside, just the two of you, that the cabin fever can easily set in. I for one have oodles more respect, not that I didn’t have an enormous sack of it before, for Sarah and indeed all mum and dad kind who do the same thing day in and day out.

Next time I get back in from a long day at ‘the office’ and am handed Isabelle as soon as I get in, which is great by the way, I can now appreciate why my coming home isn’t just a welcome sight to Isabelle, swinging, rocking and smiling away, but also one to Sarah.

I’ll be back for more flying solo exploits at home of course and Isabelle is ever changing which will no doubt bring new challenges, the next thing to crack is me hitting town with my daughter, now that really will be a challenge. I know where all the baby changing facilities are so I’m already formulating my epic route.

And did I enter the obligatory This Morning competition to win enough money to clear the mortgage? Of course I did, it’s the done thing!