Sure, the movie Constantine has technically already been transformed into a real television series. However, none of the actors had the depth of character needed to make the series great, and the content was limited by being on regular television. Premium television series have better writers, bigger budgets, and more seasoned actors. And, a script that speaks to the fall of mankind at the hands of spiritual and physical destruction should be a little darker than the original series that ran. Premium channels rarely take the simple and fun angle when a more nuanced approach is available, and the subject matter of Constantine requires strong writing and acting in order for it to be taken seriously. A story line with demons, exorcisms, and the classic battle between good and evil should be more engaging and should be elevated above the comedic viewpoint that both the movie and the previous television series were written.
Dogma weighs religion versus existentialism. It examines Christianity, it questions Catholicism, and ultimately the movie calls for introspection, tolerance, and love. Though this Kevin Smith movie also takes a comedic stance on serious supernatural subject matter, it is not as reliant on action sequences as Constantine. Where Constantine is about a literal battle between good and evil, Dogma represents a physical interpretation of the internal struggle between right and wrong. And, the movie has enough characters and potential story lines for each of the movie’s heroes to be developed. As a television series, Dogma could potentially explore human nature, man’s personal need for religion, and the benefits and contradictions of faith.
Westerns have drama written into them before the plot of the story is ever introduced to the viewers. It was a struggle just to live in the Wild West without the rampant gun violence, and even more difficult to exist with conflict. You had to be a cattle wrangler or a farmhand just to make a decent living in the plains, and any natural disaster could cause an entire family to starve. Unforgiven starts with the story of William Bonny farming his land as a single father. He has put down his gun, stopped drinking, and is raising his children on barren land without his deceased wife. Bonny is struggling to make ends meet when a stranger comes looking for him with an opportunity to collect a bounty as a hired gun. But, Bonny has put his old life as a dangerous gun behind him. He does not want to leave his children orphaned by getting killed in a gunfight, and he wants to teach them a different life from the one that he lived. But, he needs the money. Bonny recruits his partner
Gladiator utilizes some of the strongest thematic ideals in cinema. It is a story of honor and love. It is a story of ambition and betrayal. But most of all, it carries the theme of redemption. Gladiator by its own admission is the story of a general who became a slave and a slave who became more powerful than the emperor of Rome. And, Gladiator is perfect for a mini-series. Each pivotal moment of the original movie could be transformed into an episode. Maximus Decimus Meridius’s stint as the leader of the emperor’s army would take a prominent role in the first few episodes. The death of Emperor Marcus Aurelius at his son Commodus’s hands and the betrayal of Maximus ushers the story along. And then, the fall of the great general into slavery would be next in the series. But then, he begins his rise to notoriety and ultimately to the Colosseum. Gladiator is the perfect story for premium cable.
This movie never reached its full potential, but that was not due to premise or poor acting. It showed the best of people and the worst of people. The movie was about how fragile conventional society is as a whole, and how constructs break down in crisis. It was about how people react under extreme stress. The premise is simple. Blindness becomes an epidemic across the world and no one knows why. It breaks out like a virus in concentrated areas, so the government quarantines people affected by it. And, at first, the people affected by the disease work together. But eventually, rules begin to break down.
The Road represents a post-nihilistic world where conventional society has fallen. Money is irrelevant, the strong take from the weak, and food, water, and shelter are the most valuable commodities in the world.Food is so sparse that people begin hunting other people. The young, the old, and the injured become prey. Think the Walking Dead with cannibals instead of zombies. A series created from the Road could last as long as the Walking Dead because the series is not only about the present danger of bloodthirsty antagonists. It is also about the breakdown of society under duress.
Brian DePalma made such an extensive and detailed film that the Scarface movie could be split into several different seasons on television. And, each section of the series would be as dynamic and engaging as the previous segment. The story could start with the initial descent into a life of crime that led Tony Montana to a Cuban prison. Then, the story progresses to his escape from Cuba and his struggle for relevance in America. Next, the focus shifts to Tony’s rise within the criminal ranks of the drug cartels. He makes all the right moves until he ends up on top of the drug world by himself. Scarface shows the ascension of the American bad guy, and ultimately his fall. It would be a great watch.