Rather than remakes, the big trend at the moment is turning popular horror movies into TV series, and shows based on The Evil Dead, The Omen, and possibly even Suspiria are soon going to join successful small screen adaptations like “Scream,” “From Dusk Till Dawn,” and “Bates Motel.”
While TV adaptations of beloved horror films are all the rage right now, the road to success for such projects hasn’t always been an easy one. Over the years we’ve seen many come and go, either failing to catch on with audiences or just plain never even finding their way in front of the cameras.
Today we take a look at eight of those horror TV series that didn’t quite work out as planned for one reason or another.
1) OPERATION: ALIENS
Believe it or not, 20th Century Fox actually tried to turn Aliens into a Saturday morning animated cartoon series for children, back in the early 1990s. Titled “Operation: Aliens,” the series was meant to tie in with the release of Alien 3, and though production did start on the show at a Korean studio, it never actually aired. It’s been rumored that a pilot episode was put together, though the footage has to this day never been seen. All that remains of the project are several production stills, which you can see above.
Interestingly enough, Kenner’s line of Aliens toys from the 1990s were actually based on the failed “Operation: Aliens” series, which would explain why the figures looked so different than the characters in the movies – and why Xenomorph creatures not even seen in the movies were turned into toys. Though many pieces of merchandise did make it to store shelves with the “Operation: Aliens” title attached to them, the Kenner toys were released under the title Aliens.
2) BATES MOTEL
Though A&E’s “Bates Motel” has proven that fans are into the idea of a Psycho TV series, the same idea didn’t work out so well back in the late 1980s. After the release and box office failure of Psycho 3 in 1986, Universal thought it’d be best to stop with the movies and instead try to rejuvenate the classic story by turning it into a TV series. Anthony Perkins refused to be a part of the project, but production rolled on and a pilot episode was shot. Kurt Paul – who had previously doubled for Perkins on Psycho 2 and 3 – was brought in to play Norman Bates.
The series was to center around a new character named Alex West, who inherits the infamous Bates Motel when Norman dies, but it was never picked up by a network. With the pilot shot, Universal decided to air it as its own standalone movie, premiering the original “Bates Motel” on July 5th of 1987. The 100-minute pilot garnered mostly negative reviews, and Universal got to work on the made-for-TV Psycho 4 shortly thereafter.
3) BLADE: THE SERIES
Despite the fact that badass vampire-killer Blade caught on with fans in the worlds of both comic books and feature films, the character wasn’t so lucky in the world of television. First up, Showtime had planned a spin-off series several years back, which was to see Wesley Snipes reprising the role. But the plug was pulled on that idea when Snipes dropped out, leaving Spike TV to pick up the ball and attempt to run with it.
Replacing Snipes with rapper “Sticky Fingaz,” “Blade: The Series” became Spike’s very first original scripted series, the 2-hour pilot premiering on June 28, 2006. Written by David S. Goyer – who wrote all three Blade films – and acclaimed comic book writer Geoff Johns, the pilot episode of the series pulled in big numbers for the network, and it seemed that they had a hit on their hands. Taking place after the events of 2004’s Blade: Trinity, the series saw Blade teaming up with a new character named Krista Starr, and a total of 12 episodes were aired on Spike.
Unfortunately, the ratings plummeted after the pilot, negative word of mouth delivering a death blow to the series that once showed promise. Spike announced shortly after the final episode of the season aired that they were not renewing the series.
Prior to the big screen remake we got in 2013, the 2002 made-for-TV adaptation of Carrie that starred Angela Bettis was actually intended to be the pilot episode for a spin-off TV series, which would see Carrie traveling around and helping out others with telekinetic abilities. According to Bettis, the plan was to have Carrie and Sue Snell embark on a Thelma and Louise-style road trip and to possibly delve into the town’s reaction to the prom night massacre.
The 2+-hour TV movie aired exactly 26 years and 1 day after the release of Brian De Palma’s film, premiering to low ratings on November 4, 2002. Due to the poor reception, the series was never picked up, and it left behind a pointless remake that did absolutely nothing to improve or expand upon the original film – or the novel. Its only saving grace was that the always impressive Bettis nailed the part of Carrie White – a role she was perhaps born to play.
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