It's a trend that doesn't seem to be letting up: Movie properties being adapted into television shows. While there are some mainstream blockbusters from years' past -- we're looking at you "Lethal Weapon" -- that have proven successful as a small-screen reboot, there's no place this trend has been more exciting than in genre television. Truth be told, we never thought this would be the case. When "Hannibal" was originally announced, we were of the mindset that this was an unnecessary re-exploration of Thomas Harris's subject matter.But, once we saw Mads Mikkelsen taking up the Hannibal Lecter mantle from Anthony Hopkins, we changed our tune dramatically.
Much like comic-book inspired television shows, TV series based on classic horror movie properties have proven they don't need to stay true to the previously introduced story canon for them to work. There are exceptions to that rule, obviously, but if it's one thing we've learned over the past few years it's that television is the perfect place to continue exploring some classic genre stories... and the terror these movies originally brought to the big-screen.
Since it's the Halloween season, we thought this was the perfect time to shine a light on four shows in particular that have successfully continued the genre tale their movie predecessors laid the groundwork for. Whether a reboot, a retelling or a flat-out sequel (or prequel), let's take a closer look at some of the best horror shows on TV right now.
It was a series we didn't think we wanted and going into its fifth and final season, "Bates Motel" has become a show we can't live without. Presented as a prequel to the "Psycho" canon -- which all started with Robert Bloch's novel and, of course, Alfred Hitchcock's classic film -- the series explores a modern-day take on the story of Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his mother Norma (Vera Farmiga). Unlike previous films in the franchise, including an attempt in "Psycho IV: The Beginning" to give a never-before-seen backstory to the relationship between Norman and Mother -- played here by Henry Thomas and Olivia Hussey -- "Bates Motel" has succeeded at taking the original subject manner and running with it in a series that has turned out to be dramatic, engaging and, even though we know what's coming, unpredictable.
Unlike previous films in the franchise, including an attempt in "Psycho IV: The Beginning" to give a never-before-seen backstory to the relationship between Norman and Mother -- played here by Henry Thomas and Olivia Hussey -- "Bates Motel" has succeeded at taking the original subject manner and running with it in a series that has turned out to be dramatic, engaging and, even though we know what's coming, unpredictable.
"Bates Motel" Season 1 - 3 are currently available to stream on Netflix; The show's final season will premiere in early 2017 to A&E.
When MTV announced they were adapting Wes Craven's "Scream" movies into its own TV series, we were both hesitant and intrigued. How much more ground needed to be covered regarding the events that transpired in Woodsboro? Well, the network proved they were onto something as horror movie rules have changed a whole lot since 1996. What's more, when it was announced that the new program would feature a brand new killer, new characters, a new city (Lakewood) and seemingly no connection to the original films -- aside from the important detail that high school kids were being picked off by a masked killer -- we had to give the show a shot.
Yes, it's an MTV show, and yes, it's made for the network's prime demographic, but what the show offers is a new urban legend in Brandon James, some decent performances by the cast and a collection of gruesome murders we never thought we'd see play out on the former music channel. It also helps that some of the genre's best directors have pitched in throughout the first two seasons to bring these frightful episodes to life.
"Scream" Season 1 and 2 are available for streaming on Netflix; A shorter third season will premiere on MTV in 2017.
'Ash vs. Evil Dead'
It's the sequel "Evil Dead" fans have always wanted, yet never thought they'd get. When the "Evil Dead" remake hit theaters in 2013, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell thought they were satisfying their most die-hard followers. Yet, even though Fede Alvarez's reboot of the cult classic was scary, action packed and extremely bloody, it wasn't good enough. Thankfully, Raimi and Campbell came to their senses! With the help of longtime producing partner Rob Tapert, "Ash vs. Evil Dead" premiered to Starz in the fall of 2015.
What began as a spiritual sequel to "Evil Dead II" -- because at the time they didn't have the rights to "Army of Darkness" -- has become an entity all its own. Bringing back Raimi's signature style of slapstick comedy and practical effects, the horror series is now in the middle of its second season and has only gotten better. Not to mention, we now have a whole new glossary of groovy Ash-isms to pull from.
"Ash vs. Evil Dead" Season 2 airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Starz.
We saved the best for last as, well... FOX's "The Exorcist" has left us flat-out baffled. Not only was the horror series announced as a new story inspired by William Peter Blatty's iconic horror novel -- and William Friedkin's horrifying 1973 film -- for the most part, it came with some unfamiliar faces. Yes, we knew Ben Daniels from "House of Cards," Alan Ruck was great in "Ferris Beuller's Day Off" and Geena Davis has acting chops for days, but nothing really stood out here as a show worth our time. Add to that notion the fact that the network plopped it in their Friday night lineup, and we were prepared to wring our hands of the show and be done with it.
Yet, we just couldn't. Yes, "The Exorcist" started off as a slow burn -- and on television, that may mark your show as a cancellation waiting to happen -- but the more we watched the series, the more we were sucked into the new possession story plaguing the Rance family. And then, it began dawning on us that, much like "Hannibal" before it, "The Exorcist" was providing horror fans with an unspoken sequel to the original film.
That last statement was further personified by the season's fifth episode which unveiled a mind-boggling twist that revealed the true nature of the series: It has been a sequel all this time... and a very frightening one, at that!
"The Exorcist" airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.