Ranking the top 5 television series based on movies: “If the apocalypse comes, beep me.”

So I’ve noticed that more and more remakes and adaptations from film are making their way to the smaller screen, which got me thinking about some of my favorites and how they compare to the originals.  While some television series go in a completely different direction, others attempt to be closer to the original but sometimes fail to capture the same allure, leaving fans disappointed or searching for more.  To me, what makes a television series truly stand out is if it takes on its own life and branches out into a new world of characters and stories.  Whether it is considered a prequel or another chapter, the series has to capture the interest of the viewer who tuned in and keep it.  Sounds like a difficult task especially when you add in an original film that the series is based on.  Some of the shows below do an excellent job of staying true to the original and respecting where the series comes from in terms of history and context.  At the same time, they are able to continue on with the story or shift into a new one without skipping a beat, keeping the original fans happy and bringing in new ones at the same time.  My top 5 television series based on movies are:

5) Teen Wolf.  Based upon the 1985 film of the same name starring Michael J. Fox, the series was created in 2011 on MTV.  Already this was a risky move, as the audience MTV was targeting might not have necessarily seen the original movie, although I hope so.  While the movie has a cheesy humor-like quality, the series follows the same premise of a teenage-boy realizing that he is transforming into a werewolf, only it embraces more of a horror genre approach.  Both characters are named Scott, only with different last names and have to deal with the consequences of being bitten by a werewolf while dealing with everyday teenage drama.  While the series is based on the movie, it really becomes something completely new and different, advancing the plot into something darker with touches of romance and terror, delving much deeper into the story.

4) Hannibal.  Based upon the films, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Red Dragon, the series is a psychological thriller that dives into the relationship between FBI agent, Will Graham and Dr. Hannibal Lecter who will later become his nemesis.  While the television series had a lot to live up to from the books and films it was based upon, it proves to be a contender with excellent performances and a detailed plot, which keeps the viewer active and involved.  As a result, the audience becomes hooked and drawn to every horrible reveal.  While the films attempt to stay true to the books and showcase a simpler approach, the series is not afraid to break into new developments and jump head first into the darkness and insanity that is at the core of these characters.

3) Ash vs Evil Dead.  Based upon the franchise films, The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness, the series once again stars the very funny and brilliant Bruce Campbell as Ash or “Ashy Slashy” as fans know him by.  What is so great about this series is it is a true continuation of the films.  Bruce Campbell is once again the star bringing fans back to the originals.  Bruce Campbell has a true talent for bringing the campy horror-like genre a life of its own and I would have been disappointed if anyone had been casted in his place.  Once again, Bruce and his chainsaw arm need to fight the forces of evil and he recruits some new and fun characters to help along the way.  Lucy Lawless also joins the cast who did work with Bruce previously on Xena and fits in perfectly.  The series stays true to the campy-horror genre while keeping the comedy going strong.

2) Bates Motel.  Based upon the classic film, Psycho, the prequel follows the life of Norman Bates as a teenager and also introduces his mother, Norma Bates.  The acting in the series is so real and powerful, as each actor reveals to the audience vulnerability blended with insanity, hypnotizing us into wanting to watch more and more.  What’s truly impressive about the series is that the viewer becomes attached and fully invested into both Norman and Norma.  As Norman is losing control, you do feel bad for him and see that there are moments of goodness that do truly exist in him.  His unusual attachment to his mother seems harmless at first, but grows into something more and more dangerous, however.  The series does an excellent job of allowing viewers to see the man behind the monster and to understand that although darkness wins in the end, there is a grey area that exists, making it not so easy to merely write Norman off as a killer without a conscience.

1) Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Based upon the film of the same name, this television series is at the top of my list because it takes a superficial campy premise and turns it into something epic and memorable.  In the film, Buffy is very superficial and materialistic which creates some laughs and fun along the way, but there is nothing substantial about her character that makes her stand out.  When Joss Whedon decided to turn his movie into a television series, Buffy had now become a character that teenage girls could truly look up to.  She is a strong female who makes some bad decisions along the way, but this shows that she is human and she has to sacrifice a lot in order to save the world, growing up fast as a result.  The humor remains but is more subtle and witty in the series, embracing more of a romantic and darker idea about the world of vampires and truly recognizing that this is a lot of pressure to put on one teenage girl to fight them all and repeatedly save the world.  The series has the perfect blend of drama, action, comedy, and horror with terrific acting and entertaining villains along the way.  It has truly surpassed the film, but it’s fun to take a look back at the movie from time to time.

 

I hope you enjoyed the list.  Feel free to post your comments below on your favorite television series based on films.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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Throw-back Sunday: Ranking the top 5 villains from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

It’s Throw-Back Sunday TV Fans!  For today, I have returned to one of my old favorites, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Buffy and her friends are a blast to watch and are always trying to ensure that goodness prevails in order to protect Sunnydale and the rest of the world.  But this would get boring if Buffy could always easily save the day against countless vampires.  What makes the show surpass this is the introduction of formidable foes that cross her path.  Ranging from the geeks she went to high school with to the first evil that existed in the world, there is a lot of evil and chaos thrown at the Scoobies.  Let’s not forget that some of Buffy’s closest friends have turned on her and mortal enemies have become great allies along the way.  Buffy is the Chosen One for sure, but these villains are not only worthy of an all out battle, they are more complex and smarter than your average vampire turned to dust.   Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch the series yet. My top 5 villains from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are:

5

Drusilla

Drusilla was introduced to Buffy in season 2 along with her boyfriend, Spike.  When she first came to town she was weakened from a mob, but was revealed to possess psychic abilities.  When Drusilla is at her full strength she proves to be extremely dangerous and even kills another slayer who gets in her way.  What makes Drusilla such a stand-out villain is that she is completely insane.  She has an innocent girl-like quality at first and manipulates Spike to do her bidding, all while having a tea party with her dolls.  One of my favorite scenes with Drusilla is when she blindfolds one of the dolls and says she’s not allowed to watch with the rest, as she kills someone brutally in front of them.  There is a haunting quality about Drusilla that makes her beyond scary and a real threat to Buffy.

4

Glory

The best way to define her I suppose is if Cordelia had god-like powers with no sense of remorse.  Glory is revealed to be a god and Buffy’s sister, Dawn, is the key that she is desperately looking for.  In one of the first fights with Glory, Buffy is beaten not just badly, but to a bloody pulp, making fans wonder about how she would be able to defeat her.  Glory is an entertaining villain, keeping her manicure and lip gloss in check while continuing on her quest, refusing to allow anyone to get in her way.

3

The Master

The Master is introduced as the first main villain that Buffy must face in the first season.  His face has no humanity left in it, different from other vampires, because of his age.  There is a cringe-worthy factor here for sure, but the Master hasn’t left his sense of humor behind either.  He is ruthless and powerful and even is able to kill Buffy initially.  Thankfully Xander is able to revive her, but he proved to be a dangerous foe and an influence on other vampires nearby.

2

Evil Willow

Everyone loves Willow and she is a great friend to Buffy.  When she begins experimenting with witchcraft, it naturally seems like a great way to help Buffy fight the forces of evil.  But when Willow loses the love of her life, Tara, she is consumed by rage and evil magic corrupts her.  Willow becomes so powerful that it seems like no one will be able to defeat her.  If not for her best friend, Xander, who has no powers or supernatural strength, she would have been lost for good and the world might have been destroyed.  Xander uses love to remind Willow that he will always be there for her and it brings her goodness back to the surface.

Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one pick are:

  • Spike
  • Faith
  • The Mayor
  • The Judge
  • Mr. Trick
  • Anyanka
  • Darla
  • The First
  • The Gorch family
  • The Gentlemen
  • Kralik
  • Caleb
  • The Trio
  • Harmony

1

Angelus

Buffy and Angel’s love is so passionate and real throughout the beginning episodes.  There is something very romantic about the idea of a vampire with a soul and Angel has been trying to do good and make up for the monster he used to be.  However, when he is with Buffy, he loses his soul because he experiences true happiness, and Angelus is unleashed on the world once more as a result.  Not only is he a vicious killer, but he targets on Buffy’s weakness and mocks their love, making it seem like he did not care for her in the slightest.  He goes after her friends and family and toys with Buffy in a stalker-like way.  When Angelus unleashes a demon on the world to swallow it whole, Buffy knows that she must kill him to close the portal.  She has pushed her feelings aside and knows that she must defeat him for the greater good.  However, this becomes an almost impossible task when Angel’s soul is restored right at the moment she is about to kill him.  Buffy must follow through with this, sacrificing her love to save the world.  Her love for Angelus is what makes him such a dangerous villain.  Buffy is the Chosen One, but she is also human and a teenage girl with feelings.  Her strength is truly tested when Angelus is introduced, but she is able to do what is necessary to defeat him.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to share some of your own favorite villains from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Thanks for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

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“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Ranking the top 5 episodes of the series

Happy Friday TV fans!  I was somewhat uninspired by the shows that aired last night so I decided to return to an old favorite, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Over the years, Buffy still holds up for me as one of my top shows of all time.  Buffy first aired when I was in high school and in desperate need of a female lead to look up to that was strong, resilient, smart, and selfless.  Plus Sarah Michelle Gellar’s wardrobe as Buffy helped my fashion sense tremendously.  Watching Buffy helped shape me into the person I am today and while I have not re-watched the show in several years, the episodes are still fresh in my mind.  I have to say that out of all my top 5 rankings, this was the most difficult show to narrow down my selections.  I adore making lists so when I was brainstorming last night about which episodes I wanted to include, I found myself scratching off some and adding others repeatedly.  There were some that I really wanted to include but I thought it was only fair to pick 5.  I think that goes to show that there are so many amazing episodes of Buffy.  Good job Joss Whedon! My five top episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer for are:

5

“Hush” (season 4, episode 10).  

I have to admit that I still have nightmares about “The Gentlemen” from this episode.  They are so well crafted and creepy, that even Freddy and Jason cannot compare.  “The Gentlemen” travel to Sunnydale to collect hearts and steal the voices of everyone so that no one can hear you scream.  I was in college when this episode first came out and I remember being very hesitant to open my dorm-room door after a knock because of this.  Sure that is a little extreme, but that’s how truly scary these demons were.  What really makes this episode stand out is that Buffy and the Scoobies have to find a way to defeat them and communicate with one another without their voices.  This leads to some great comedy along the way balanced with sheer terror.

4

“Fool for Love” (season 5, episode 7).

In this episode, Buffy comes very close to dying and is looking for a way to learn from her mistakes and stay alive.  She decides to go to the vampire, Spike, for help.  She knows that over his lifetime, he has killed two slayers and she wants to know how.  For me, Spike has always been one of my favorite characters.  The development of his back-story was so interesting and necessary to the show.  What really grabs the viewer is when he tells Buffy that “he’s always been bad,” only to flash back to a scene where he is dressed in a dusty suit, reciting poetry.  Who would have thought that one of the most dangerous vampires of all time had a romantic side?  We find out through the episode that he was nicknamed “William the Bloody” because of his “bloody awful poetry.”  While it is interesting to see how Spike is turned into a vampire and how he defeated the other two slayers, what really stands out is his love for Cecily.  He had been crafting his poetry for her and pouring his heart out, only for her to reject him and say that he is “beneath her.”  This moment is what drags Spike’s vulnerability to the surface and comes back to haunt him when Buffy later says the same thing to him.  For me, the end of this episode always stands the test of time.  Spike goes off to kill Buffy for making a fool of him and he sees her crying on her porch steps after she has learned that her mother is very ill.  He goes to sit with her and comfort her in what I think is the purest and most beautiful moment between them.  At this moment, Spike doesn’t have a soul.  Sure, he has a chip in his brain preventing him from hurting others, but he is able to show true compassion and friendship here, which is really beautiful.

3

“The Gift” (season 5, episode 22).  

This is a very powerful season finale and I often thought that the series would end here.  It wasn’t until the UPN network picked up Buffy for seasons 6 and 7 that it continued on.  A lot goes on in this episode and a catastrophic portal opens that can only be closed by the blood of the key, Buffy’s sister Dawn.  Buffy makes the ultimate sacrifice, choosing to jump into the portal to sacrifice herself to save her sister and the world.  A flash-back reveals Buffy reminding Dawn that their blood is the same, which brought tears to my eyes.  Buffy tells Dawn that “the hardest thing in this world is to live in it.  Be brave.  Live.  For me.”   As if this moment couldn’t have been tragic enough, Spike’s reaction to Buffy’s death is so heart-wrenching and real.  He does truly care for her and feels he let her down.

2

“The Zeppo” (season 3, episode 13).  

You may be wondering why I included this episode and why it is ranked so high on my list.  “The Zeppo” is the funniest episode of the entire series, following a series of events through Xander’s perspective.  In the beginning of the episode, Cordelia talks about how everyone in the Scoobies has something to contribute except for him.  He’s like “Jimmy Olsen” or “The Zeppo.”  Xander gets into a never-ending adventure where Buffy and the rest of the gang are simply background noise.  Xander’s reaction to each new challenge is hilarious and the music is spot on, which makes this episode stand out for me as one of my all-time favorites.

Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one episode of Buffy are:

  • “School Hard”
  • “Halloween”
  • “Innocence”
  • “Passion”
  • “I Only Have Eyes For You”
  • “Homecoming”
  • “Lovers Walk”
  • “The Wish”
  • “The Prom”
  • “Living Conditions”
  • “Something Blue”
  • “Who Are You?”
  • “Buffy vs. Dracula”
  • “Triangle”
  • “The Body”
  • “Life Serial”
  • “Once More, With Feeling”
  • “Tabula Rasa”
  • “Conversations with Dead People”
  • “Lies My Parents Told Me”
  • “Chosen”

1

“Becoming Part 2” (season 2, episode 22).  

This has always been my absolute favorite episode of the series.  While the episode has a lot going on, the last moments are what make it so powerful.  Angel has lost his soul and became the evil Angelus and Buffy is fully prepared to put a stop to him, recognizing that the man she fell in love with no longer exists within this soulless demon.  Angelus is opening the mouth of a demon that will swallow the world hold, unleashing hell upon earth.  Just as Buffy is about to strike him down with a sword and save the day, Willow’s spell takes effect, and his soul has now been returned.  Angel doesn’t remember what has happened or where he is.  The damage is done; however, as the demon’s mouth has already been opened and Buffy must destroy the love of her life to close the portal.  Buffy reveals her selflessness again to save the world, losing her true love in the process.  Once the tragic task is completed, Buffy leaves Sunnydale, unable to deal with the tragic consequences.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to comment on some of your own favorite episodes.  Happy viewing and have a wonderful weekend!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

“Supernatural” Lucky season 13: How has the longest running show on the CW lasted?

Can a television series air for 13 seasons and still bring in viewers without becoming stale?  The CW’s Supernatural series is currently on lucky or perhaps unlucky season 13 and it begs the question, how has this show lasted so long?  A few thoughts come to mind as I myself am a long-time fan of the show.  For starters, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are believable as brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester and have an undeniable bond.  Viewers connect and empathize with them as you find yourself on the edge of your couch clutching your popcorn, wondering if one of these challenges along the way will ultimately separate the brothers forever.  That being said, they have survived hell, purgatory, and whatever else has been thrown their way while still keeping a sense of humor through it all.  Is the brotherly bond enough to keep the Supernatural series from becoming tiresome, however?

 

For me, it also comes down to the clever way that the writers integrate episodes that some critics may refer to as fluff.  Episodes like season 4’s “Yellow Fever,” where the opening scene reveals Dean running for his life from an adorable Yorkie or season 9’s “Thinman,” which has a creepy vibe brewing until you find out that it involves fan favorites, the Ghostfacers, are brilliant.  Throughout the serious plot twists or the enemies that come their way, whether it involves angels or demons, this can sometimes wear on you as a viewer.  Incorporating episodes where Sam and Dean are just merely going out on hunter adventures keeps it exciting and fresh, while giving true fans that sense of nostalgia that hooked them onto the show in the first place.  It’s the reason why shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Charmed which were also favorites of mine, did not have as long as a run as Supernatural.  These shows eventually ran their course, while Supernatural keeps going strong.   It follows the main plot for the season while strategically sprinkling in fun and lighter episodes that remind you why you keep coming back for more.

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

Top 3 Favorite TV Series of all time

Happy Monday to all of you TV viewers out there!  Today’s topic will focus on my top 3 all-time favorite television series no longer airing new episodes.  I have to say that coming up with this list was extremely difficult.  What truly makes a show that epic and memorable?  I realize that my favorites may include some of yours or may be completely off and that’s what makes television series so great.  They each impact us in a different way and leave some kind of impression on us.  I always find it so interesting that I can remember where I was in my life or what was going on around me when thinking about a particular episode or season that I watched.  Also, if I can continuously re-watch a series and still find something new each time, it helped it make the list.  So here it goes…my top 3 series no longer airing:

  1. Lost.  Lost is without a doubt my favorite television series of all time.  Out of my top 3, this was the easiest one to come up with.  I recently watched the series for my 16th time this summer and will continue to do so each year.  You may think 16 re-watches of a show is beyond excessive and you’re probably right.  However, Lost brings something new to the table each time I watch.  Forget about the others or the smoke monster or whatever you think you may know about Lost.  This show is about the characters and the connections they make while on the island.  They were all searching for something and found it unexpectedly when flight 815 crashed onto to the island. “We have to go back!” The main character, Jack got it right.  I keep coming back for more and more.
  2. Breaking Bad.  I recently re-watched this series for a second time to see if it would have the same impact on me as the first time I watched.  While I’m not sure I can watch this show as many times as Lost, this show is addictive in its own way.  What really makes this show stand out to me is the partnership and friendship between Walter and Jesse.  Through every betrayal and twist and turn, when it comes down to it, they both truly care for each other and will stand by each other in the end.
  3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  To round up my top 3, Buffy still stays strong.  For a while, Buffy was my favorite show but I realized that it did not measure up years later when Lost and Breaking Bad came out.  I think it has a lot to do with me growing as a person as well.  When Buffy originally came out, I was in high school so the strong character of Buffy really stood out to me and honestly really helped shape who I was as a person.  The series had just the right amount of laughs balanced with the supernatural drama to keep me hooked for years.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post some of your own as well!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl