If the multiple early reviews are to be believed, 22 Jump Street, the sequel to 2012’s surprise hit 21 Jump Street, is already looking to be the best comedy of 2014. Now that a beloved 80’s television show has been successfully made into a comedic film twice, this can only encourage the possibility of applying that formula to other 80’s dramas, especially if you’re a studio executive.
With all this in mind, let’s take a look at some 80’s television shows that could possibly receive a comedic reinvention for cinemas.
The Fall Guy (1981-1986)
The Fall Guy was a show about legendary Hollywood stuntman Colt Seavers (Lee Majors) who used his natural “talents “of pretending to get punched in the face to moonlight as a bounty hunter. As we all know, professional stuntman often work side jobs tracking down the most nefarious criminals of Hollywood. I mean, how can they not? If the Six Million Dollar Man can do it, then anyone who’s really good at faking a fall can. A ratings juggernaut, The Fall Guy went on for an impressive five season run. Majors, ever the badass, performed most of his own stunts and one liners.
Movie: Zac Efron stars as Colt Lee Seavers, Hollywood’s greatest stunt man. With the God-given ability to fake being awesome at stuff, he’s living the life of his dreams. However, Seavers’ career is put on the line with advent of CGI filmmaking. Forced to support his exuberant lifestyle, Seavers becomes a bounty hunter. While knowing nothing about fighting, criminology, forensics or the legal processes of actually becoming a bounty hunter, Seavers is introduced to Steve Austin (Majors) who trains him to not only be the ultimate bounty hunter, but to teach him…humility.
The Misfits of Science (1985-1986)
What if there was a show that featured the writing talents of the creator of Heroes, and starred a pre-silicone Courtney Cox alongside the guy who played the alien in Predator? You’d get Misfits of Science of course! Nothing can beat this team of teenagers with superpowers who drove around in an ice cream truck solving crimes. Yes, a completely necessary and practical ice cream truck. One of the teens had the “amazing” ability to get really cold. So cold in fact, that if he wasn’t inside the truck he would start to melt. Iceman he was not. The show also featured a seven foot tall man with the ability to shrink to seven inches and a wannabe rock star with the power to channel electricity, Misfits of Science only lasted for 16 episodes. I wonder why?
The Movie: It was a seemingly ordinary day at Humanidyne Academy, but for five students, it was anything but ordinary. It actually wasn’t great all things considered. Honestly, it sucked. After being inexplicably exposed to various amounts of radiation at the exact same time, five teenagers are given powers that they never asked for. Seriously, one of them shrinks to the size of a pencil and if the other gets too warm he melts into a puddle of goo. Using their less than amazing gifts, these five kids come together and save (insert obvious 80’s cliché).
Science-fiction space comedies are not unusual. Such films like Galaxy Quest and Spaceballs stand out not only because they’re parodies of two massive science-fiction franchises, but because they were actually well written and directed. Quark is none of those things. No, it didn’t premiere in the 1980s, but it did come near the tail end of the 70s. Following the crew of an interstellar garbage truck, Quark was an amalgamation of Star Trek, Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey all wrapped into one. You had the straight-laced captain, two voluptuous twins vying for the affection of said captain, a human/plant hybrid named Ficus, a hermaphrodite and a very sexually confused general manger who also competed for the captain’s heart. While the premise and characters are ridiculous, you can’t deny that it was ambitious. Only managing an eight-episode run, Captain Adam Quark and his crew got into a few perilous situations while fighting the foam-helmeted Gorgons. While the material is already parodying multiple science-fiction sources, it would still be fun to see another take on this odd cult-favorite.
Movie: H. Jon Benjamin stars as Captain Adam Quark, the captain of an United Galaxy sanitation patrol cruiser. Quark and his crew thought that their lives as galactic sanitation workers was filled with nothing but boredom and monotony. However, after much boredom and monotony was had, these space garbage men and women are forced into an adventure to save the galaxy from the evil Gorgons, a race of alien conquerors. It’s basically a live-action Archer in space, except Benjamin is just as crass, but not nearly as handsome as his animated counterpart.
The Renegades (1983)
The Renegades, much like 21 Jump Street, followed the shenanigans of an 80s street gang comprised of a bunch of 30-year-old actors pretending to be teenagers. In order to avoid prison, The Renegades were forced to help the police in an experimental undercover investigation unit. Clad in leather and Levi’s, this gang of thugs featured Patrick Swayze as their mullet haired leader. You know this gang means serious business. I mean, with names like “Bandit,” “Dancer, ” and “Dragon,” you knew not to mess with these guys. They even had a token Asian who knew kung-fu! With a six-episode run, The Renegades failed to generate a reaction from audiences.
Movie: The Renegades believe they’re the toughest gang in Pemblebrook, New Jersey. In this upper-middle class suburban hell-hole, they view themselves as kings. After committing a crime that actually pisses off enough people, this gang is forced by local police to infiltrate a criminal empire. While maintaining their “rep” as leather pants-wearing bad boys, they must survive in a world that’s not like their own. Oh, God. I just wrote a new version of The Mod Squad.
Keeping the same exact style and time period for the film is paramount. The original show obviously presented a very fantastical look at gang-life. Forcing the Renegades to interact with more realistic criminals could potentially lead to something a lot funnier, or a lot more violent. Think The Warriors mixed with comedic sensibilities of Hot Fuzz.
Are there any shows from 80s that you feel should be remade into comedies? Let us know in the comments below!