The Rundown: After ‘Deadwood,’ What Other TV Shows Should Get A Follow-Up Movie?

Editor-at-Large
05.31.19

HBO

The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items will vary, as will the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday and we are here to have some fun.

ITEM NUMBER ONE — I don’t know if these will work, but let’s do them anyway

Are you aware that three of the best dramas in television history are making movie-length returns in the near future? You probably are. You’re smart and you follow interesting developments. Let’s run through them anyway, just for the other people: Deadwood is back this weekend for a two-hour conclusion to the unfinished story it left behind over a decade ago; The Sopranos will return at some point in a slightly altered form when David Chase finishes his prequel film; and Vince Gilligan and company are working on a Jesse Pinkman-based follow-up to Breaking Bad. Whether these are all good decisions is open to interpretation and depends largely on the finished products (it’s not like we have any reason to doubt the people involved), but if three of the five best dramas ever made are in on the fun, the cat is already out of that bag. This is a thing now.

And because it’s a thing now, it raises an obvious question: What’s next? What other shows will get movie-length adaptations from the original creative team? The options here are limitless. The three I listed above feature one continuation (Deadwood), one prequel (Sopranos), and one borderline spin-off (Breaking Bad). There’s plenty of room to build out from the source material if other shows want to give it a crack. I’ve got a few options listed below, all of them selected for being my personal favorites as much as any other reason. You probably have your own suggestions, too. Toss them into the ring. Have a blast, I say.

Justified

Justified was a very good show with a very good ending. (“We dug coal together.”) There is nothing like it on television right now, with its mix of drama and goofs and action. I would love to have more Justified in my life if the people involved can figure out a way to do it. I’m not the only one, either. Listen to Timothy Olyphant:

[T]here’s no Deadwood-esque Justified revival on the immediate horizon, but Raylan Givens is a role Olyphant hopes to play for the rest of his career. “If [they] want to come back three years from now, or ten years from now, and do a Raylan story—I’ll do them until they say, ‘Tim, you’re too old.’ I’ll do them in a heartbeat. I would love nothing more than for that to happen.”

I read that quote and immediately had this flash in my brain of a series of Columbo-style Raylan one-offs. Four or five of them, one every few years, with the whole gang back together and Raylan breaking up Oxy rings or organized crime groups or hunting Wynn Duffy throughout the surf spots of the Pacific. He can go to Boyd for help with his cases, visiting the wild-haired maniac in prison like Clarice visiting Hannibal Lecter. Again, I don’t know if this is a good idea. I would very much watch it, though. Every time. I miss my devious Kentucky boys. Also, please don’t forget this:

FX

Why yes, I would also watch a spin-off about Boyd Crowder getting out of prison — perhaps early, in exchange for his help — and opening a Dairy Queen. I want to see his rise. I want to see him threaten and intimidate and become the ice cream king of the south. I want this badly. Please.

Mad Men

Who among us doesn’t want to spend more time with the characters from Mad Men? I miss Peggy and Don and Joan and Roger. Especially Roger. Even Pete Campbell, surprisingly. I really started coming around on him near the end, probably related to him shouting “The king ordered it!” while defending his family’s aristocratic legacy.

Hell, I’d even go so far as to say I’d watch an entire spin-off movie about Pete doing business in Kansas, where we last saw him and his family headed. I can’t believe I’m saying this. I once — many times, actually — advocated for Pete getting eaten by a bear. I’d still kind of like to see it, if I’m being honest. Maybe that’s how the movie ends. Best of both worlds.

Worth considering.

Happy Endings

Happy Endings was one of my favorite network comedies of all-time and I’m still angry it got canceled. It was so funny and so fast and so loaded with talent that it feels unfair that it just doesn’t exist anymore. I’m sure getting everyone together again would be a logistical nightmare at this point. I doubt there’s even the demand beyond me banging pots and pans together about it right now. I don’t care. I want it and I think I should have it.

Zoo

Okay, listen. I know I’m the only one who cares about Zoo, the short-lived CBS summer series about genetically-altered animals banding together to overthrow the human race. But it’s important to point out that the last thing any of us saw on the show was, well, this.

CBS

To be clear, that is a remote-controlled military issue jumbo jet — complete with a fully-stocked laboratory and an also-fully-stocked bar, for reasons that were never explained — crashing through the wall that separates humans from a gaggle of bloodthirsty scienced-up hell-beasts. That was the cliffhanger ending of the third season and then the show was canceled. On one hand, this is the perfect way to end a show that created rubble and chaos everywhere it went with little concern for the fallout, but on the other hand… no, never mind. It’s too perfect. Forget I said anything.

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