Folks had every right to be skeptical when the FX network announced that the Coen brothers and former Bones' writer Noah Hawley would be adapting Fargo into a TV series. Yes, the fact that the filmmaking siblings were lending their name to the endeavor suggested that this wouldn't be a cheap cash-in or a con job. But you can still lose something vital when you transition from the big screen to the small one. A TV series based on a movie might expand on the original's themes and storyline. Or it might end up being something similar to the original attempt to adapt Fargo for TV back in 1997 (with a pre-Sopranos Edie Falco as Marge Gunderson!), which never made it past the pilot stage.
Thankfully, Hawley's take on crime and punishment in the Land of 10,000 Lakes has every indication of being a critical and popular slam dunk after its first week, but it does remind you that the history of movie-to-TV adaptations is littered with runaway hits, halfway interesting also-rans and a few outright stinkers. So we've singled out 20 attempts to turn a two-hour film into a two-seasons-or-longer series and ranked them worst to best. Some of these are shining examples of serial storytelling at its best — and others will make you feel like you can't change the channel quick enough. By David Fear