Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Classic TV Shows That Made the Leap to The Big Screen

Classic TV Shows That Made the Leap to The Big Screen

Classic TV shows capture the hearts of generations of fans, so it only makes sense some would make their way to the big screen.


In 1951, Jack Webb brought his radio drama Dragnet to television, introducing the world to the first-ever police procedural. This iconic series, known for Webb’s portrayal of L.A. Detective Joe Friday and his famous phrase “Just the facts,” aired until 1959.

It was later revived three times: first in 1967, with Webb reprising his role as Friday and Harry Morgan joining as Bill Gannon; then again in 1989, six years after Webb’s passing, without Friday; and finally in 2003, with Ed O’Neill taking on the role of Friday (the show was briefly titled L.A. Dragnet during its second season).

Alongside the television adaptations, a 1987 feature film starred Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks, serving as a sort of sequel and spoof of the original series. To promote the film, Hanks and Aykroyd also did a music video featuring the worst rap of all time.

‘The Brady Bunch’

1995’s The Brady Bunch Movie paid a great homage to the classic sitcom while spinning the story into a pretty high-concept premise. For whatever reason, the Brady’s remain stuck in the groovy 70s, while the outside world is the then-modern 90s.

This leads to a lot of fish-out-of-water moments, as well as some major cultural misunderstandings. Shelly Long and Gary Cole give pitch-perfect performances as the Brady’s matriarch and patriarch.

A More Recent Classic TV Show That Made it to the Big Screen… ’21 Jumpstreet’

The TV series 21 Jump Street was a huge success in the late ’80s and early ’90s, making Johnny Depp a teen idol. The show followed undercover police officers posing as high school students to solve cases. In 2012, the film adaptation starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum took a comedic-action approach and received positive reviews.

It not only achieved commercial success but also led to a sequel, 22 Jump Street.

‘Lost in Space’

In 1998 Lost in Space got the big screen treatment. It starred William Hurt, Matt LeBlanc, Gary Oldman, and Heather Graham. Several actors from the 1965–1968 CBS TV show make cameo appearances in the film. Mark Goddard briefly appears as the military general who assigns Major Don West his mission.

June Lockhart makes a brief appearance via distance learning as Will Robinson’s school principal. Angela Cartwright and Marta Kristen also make brief appearances as news reporters early on in the movie.

‘The Twilight Zone’

1983’s Twilight Zone: The Movie was produced by some heavy hitters. Steven Spielberg and John Landis. Inspired by Rod Serling’s iconic television series from 1959-1964, this film showcases four stories directed by Landis, Spielberg, Joe Dante, and George Miller.

Landis’ segment is an original story made for the film, while Spielberg, Dante, and Miller’s segments are remakes of episodes from the original series. The film features a talented cast including Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks, Scatman Crothers, John Lithgow, and Kathleen Quinlan.

Notably, original series cast members Burgess Meredith, Patricia Barry, Kevin McCarthy, Bill Mumy, and William Schallert also appear in the film. Meredith as the narrator previously played by Serling.