There be rumors flying about that AMC is looking into turning their hit show The Walking Dead into a feature length film. This is a terrible idea. And I’m going to tell you why. First, the details: Bleeding Cool reported this, hearing a source who “works closely” with AMC and the crew that they want to make a movie version.
Let me first say that Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead novels were originally in talks to become a feature length film before turning into a hit TV show so this movie talk isn’t unexpected. Plus, all popular TV shows get people hoping for movies. Because, you know, you can’t be satisfied until you see a giant 2-hour version on the big screen of a 1-hour show. So let’s move on – why this is a terrible idea.Big name TV shows always get stuck in development hell.
24. Entourage. Jericho. Veronica Mars. Arrested Development. Huge TV shows, or cult TV shows, always have fans clamoring for a movie. If you can’t get another season, the least they can give you is two hours. Right!? Wrong. Although TV viewerships are high, it doesn’t always translate for enough interest for a film. And plus you have TV show writers jumping to movies and then you need a director and have to bring back the cast. It’s a lot of work. Too much for most to get done.TV doesn’t translate into film
Here’s the thing about a TV show: you have at least 10 hours to build a great story, world and characters. It’s why people get so attached to TV shows. You feel like you know all the characters and the situations they get into. And all of these hours come in a small amount of time (compared to films). Think about it: you get about 12 hours of Walking Dead in six months. To get that many hours in the film world you’d need a decade or more. Plus, the stories are different. You’d need a self-contained story rather than a huge narrative. That’s not easy to do for TV writers who are used to spreading things out.Show diehards vs general audience
Like any adaptation, you’ve got to also manage the diehard fans of the property while balancing the general audience. You can’t assume that everyone in the world watches your show and loves it. Fans of the show would probably be happy with a 2-hour episode that sets up a new season. Most people won’t like that. The film has got to cater to general audiences to have a chance at being good. Do you really want to be re-introduced to Rick and the gang all over again?Side story syndrome
Of course, you could also just spin off Rick into his own story. But then you’re altering the show to fit in a movie that nobody needs. Oh hey look, Rick got lost in another city for three episodes. WATCH OUR MOVIE TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED!The Walking Dead works best as a series
Kirkman’s Walking Dead will never end until Rick is dead. They just keep coming out with issues and fleshing out the world and the decisions people make and the relationships they build and destroy in an apocalyptic time period. The best way to illustrate all this is long-term narratives like comics or TV shows. You wouldn’t get the same sense from a 2-hour film. Instead it would turn into a zombie killing fest. And despite what you may think, that’s not what The Walking Dead is.
Now please, let’s all hope this goes away. There are successful TV-t0-movie stories. Say hello to The X-Files and Sex and the City. [via /Film]