'CHiPs' and 15 More Shows From the 1970s That Were Adapted Into Feature Films

8:30 AM 3/22/2017

by Lexy Perez

As Dax Shepard and Michael Pena head to the big screen as California Highway Patrol officers, THR takes a look at several others series that aired during the "Me Decade."

CHiPs is the latest series that aired during the 1970s to get adapted for the big screen.

The feature film remake stars Dax Shepard and Michael Pena, who step into the boots of series stars Larry Wilcox (as Officer Jonathan A. Baker) and Erik Estrada (Officer Francis (Frank) Llewelyn "Ponch" Poncherello).

As the remake heads to theaters Friday, The Hollywood Reporter takes a look back at 15 other series from that decade to get remade as feature films.

  • 'Bewitched'

    A sitcom about a witch marrying an ordinary man and dedicated to living a normal life as a suburban housewife made its debut on ABC in 1964. The series starred Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York as the show’s leading couple and went on become a success. Throughout the 1960s-70s, the series was recognized for being the longest-running supernatural themed shows on television. It was ranked at No. 50 on TV Guide’s 2002 list of the 50 greatest TV shows of all time. The series lasted for eight seasons and aired its final episode in 1972. A film adaptation of the same title and plot, starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, was released in 2005. Despite the original series being a success, the film failed to match the sitcom’s glory. The film struggled at the box office and grossed only $63 million. The film marked the second time Kidman acted as a witch, her first portrayal being in the 1998 film Practical Magic

  • 'The Brady Brunch'

    The sitcom, which aired on ABC, centered on the Brady family, a blended family of six children, their parents and a beloved housekeeper. The cast included Robert Reed, Florence Henderson, Ann Davis, Barry Williams, Maureen McCormick, Christopher Knight, Eve Plumb, Mike Lookinland and Susan Olsen. Although not a commercial hit, the traditional family sitcom lasted for five seasons — and went on to find success in syndication and with new generations of viewers — and inspired a several spinoffs that included The Brady Bunch Hour (1976-1977), The Brady Girls Get Married (1981), The Brady Brides (1981), A Very Brady Christmas (1988) and The Bradys (1990). Apart from television, the series was also adapted into feature films such as The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), A Very Brady Sequel (1996) and a made-for-TV film, The Brady Bunch in the White House (2002). In The Brady Bunch Movie, the original cast did not reprise their roles, but made cameos.

  • 'Charlie's Angels'

    The girl power crime drama premiered on ABC in 1976, lasting for five seasons and 110 episodes. The series focused on three women (Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith) working as private detectives in Los Angeles, following the orders from their boss, Charlie. The show was a TV success, earning a spot in the top 10 in Nielsen ratings for its first two seasons. The series fell out of the top spot in the third season and suffered a decline in ratings, until being canceled in 1981, while in its fifth season. The female-driven show became a pop culture phenomenon and was later adapted into two film adaptations: Charlie’s Angels (2000) and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003), starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu as the lead detectives. The original cast was invited to make cameos in the film, but declined. Drew Barrymore not only starred in the film, but also served as a producer and bought the screen rights. She is estimated to have earned $40 million for the first film and $80 million for the second. A revival of the show was attempted in 2011, starring Annie IlonzehMinka Kelly and Rachael Taylor, but was canceled after one season.


  • 'ChiPs'

    The action-crime drama television show focused on two motorcycle police offers of the California Highway Patrol debuted on in 1977 on NBC. Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada played the two leading officers. Each episode featured light comedy with very little violence shown. The show ran for six seasons and 139 episodes. Years after the show ended, a made-for-television sequel was released in 1999, with original cast members reprising their roles. The show became a pop culture phenomenon, with references made in series such as Galactica 1980 and Hawaii Five-O. In the 1993 film National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1, both Estrada and Wilcox reprised their officer roles. A 2017 film adaptation stars Dax Shepard as Officer Jon Baker and Michael Peña as Officer Frank "Poncho" Poncherello. The film provides a more modern approach to the original series, yet has received harsh criticism from Estrada, retweeting a tweet that expressed a dislike toward the new version. No original cast members are featured in the remake. 

  • 'Dark Shadows'

    The American Gothic soap opera premiered in 1966 on ABC. The series followed the lives of wealthy Collins family, where they come across many supernatural occurrences. The show features zombies, werewolves, ghosts, witches and other supernatural-themed figures. While featuring characters who were played by multiple actors, central cast members included Louis Edmonds, Joan Bennett, Nancy Barrett, Thayer David, John Karlen, Lara Parker, Grayson Hall and Jonathan Frid. The show generated a cult following. In 2004 and 2007, TV Guide ranked Dark Shadows as No. 19 and No. 23 on its list of top cult shows ever. In 1970, a featured film titled House of Dark Shadows was released and featured many of the original cast members reprising their roles. The following year, Night of Dark Shadows was released with original cast members returning once again. While filming the second feature film, cast members had to be written out of the TV series in order to be available to star in the movie. In 2012, director Tim Burton adapted the supernatural show into a feature film starring Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins and Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. Depp and Pfeiffer were such fans of the original series that they both expressed great interest in being a part of the film. Original cast members Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker, David Selby and Frid made cameos in the film. The film provides a more comical approach to the series yet continued to reflect the era of the show's setting. 

  • 'Dukes of Hazzard'

    The comedy came onto the TV scene in 1979 and aired for seven seasons, with a total of 147 episodes. The series chronicled the rambunctious lives of the Duke cousins of Hazzard County — Bo (played by John Schneider), Luke (Tom Wopat) and Daisy (Catherine Bach) — plus their Uncle Jesse (Denver Plye). In 2005, a big-screen remake was released starring Johnny Knoxville (Luke) and Seann William Scott (Bo), and it also marked the big-screen debut of Jessica Simpson as Daisy. The film’s premise followed the same plot as the series, following the adventures of the Duke cousins and their Uncle Jesse as they try to outplay the Hazzard county commissioner Boss Hogg and Sheriff Rosco Coltrane. Although the film received negative reviews from critics, it was No. 1 at the box office in its opening weekend with a $30.7 bow. 

  • 'Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids'

    The animated series was created, produced and hosted by comedian Bill Cosby. Cosby also voiced multiple characters in the series, including Fat Albert. The show made its television premiere in 1972 on CBS and aired for eight seasons. The series' final episode aired in 1985. The show was based Cosby's memories of his childhood friends. Each episode included an insightful, educational lesson with Cosby’s live-action segments. In 2004, a film adaptation titled Fat Albert was released and starred Kenan Thompson as Albert, Kyla Pratt, Dania Ramirez and Cosby as himself.

  • 'Get Smart'

    A satire on the secret agent genre, the comedy series follows agent Maxwell Smart /Agent 86 (played by Don Adams) and his female partne,r Agent 99 (played by Barbara Feldon). They both work for CONTROL, a secret U.S. government intelligence agency located in Washington, D.C. The show made its debut in 1965 on NBC, until moving to CBS in its final year of broadcast. The show ran for five seasons and was ranked second on TV Guide’s 2010 list of top 10 credits sequences. The show featured a variety of stars who made cameos in the series, including Johnny Carson, and grew to be a success, earning nominated for two Golden Globes and 14 Emmys (winning a total of seven). In 1995, Fox attempted to revive the series with Adams and Feldon reprising their roles as Smart and Agent 99, but it last only seven episodes. In 2008, a film adaptation was released starring Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway. The film was produced by Leonard B. Sern, who served as the producer for the original series. The film followed the same premise of the series, yet received mixed reviews from critics. The film ranked No. 1 at the box office and earned a worldwide total of $230.7 million. Adams died in 2008, three years before the film’s release. Feldon was invited to appear in the film, but declined.

  • 'Land of the Lost'

    For three seasons, the Marshall family were trapped in a dinosaur-inhabited universe, fighting to survive and return to their own world. Along the way, they were able to explore the exotic creatures that had become a part of their new surroundings. The children’s adventure show debuted in 1974 on NBC and featured a cast that included Spencer Milligan (Rick Marshall), Wesley Eure (Will Marshall), Kathy Coleman (Holly Marshall) and Uncle Jack Marshall (Ron Harper), along with Phillip Paley (Cha-Ka), who joined in season three. While broadcast on NBC, it later became part of daily syndication as part of the "Krofft Superstars" package in the 1980s. In 1991, Krofft Productions an alternate version of the show, which ran for two seasons. The remake followed the Porter family, who were also trapped in an alternate universe. In 2009, a film adaptation was released in theaters that starred Will Ferrell. Despite the original series being geared toward children, the film adaptation targeted a more adult audience. The film was originally given an R-rating, but later re-rated as PG-13. Original cast members Coleman and Eure shot a cameo for the film reprising their roles as Holly and Will, but the scene was later cut. The film failed to reach box office success, earning only $68.8 million.

  • 'Mission: Impossible'

    The action-packed series, which aired on CBS, centered on a team of secret government agents known as the Impossible Missions Force. During the first season, Dan Briggs (Steven Hill) led the team of agents, with Jim Phelps (Steven Graves) dubbed the new leader during the remaining seasons. Although the series ended after five seasons, it was reprised in 1988 for two seasons, with only Graves returning. In 1996, the action show inspired a film franchise starring Tom Cruise. The films include Mission: Impossible II (2000), III (2006), Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol (2011) and Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation (2015). Jim Phelps (played by Jon Voight) is the only character from the original series to appear in the first feature film. The sixth installment is set for release in 2018 and will feature The Crown star Vanessa Kirby. 

  • 'The Mod Squad'

    The crime drama, starring Michael Cole, Clarence Williams III and Peggy Lipton, premiered in 1968 on ABC. Six-time Emmy nominee, four-time Golden Globe nominee and winner of Directors Guild of America Awards, the show was a success. The series marked the first time a group of young undercover cops appeared on television. Each character represented mainstream culture’s perceptions and fears of youth during that era. Pete Cochran (Cole) was disowned from his wealthy family, Lincoln Hayes (Williams) was arrested for participating in the Watts riots, and hippie Julie Barnes (Lipton) was arrested for fleeing from her prostitute mother’s home. The three rebellious, social outcasts were joined together to work as undercover detectives, as an alternative to being incarcerated. The series aired for five seasons. In 1999, a film adaptation was released starring Omar Epps, Giovanni Ribisi, Claire Danes and Dennis Farna, but failed to connect with moviegoers at the box office, earning only $15.4 million. The film — which also featured cameos from original cast members Lipton and Williams — received negative reviews and was nominated for a Razzie Award for worst screenplay. 

  • 'Monty Python's Flying Circus'

    Monty Python’s Flying Circus was a British sketch comedy series created by the comedy troupe dubbed Monty Python. Members of the group included Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Staying true to the series’ title, the comedy group starred as themselves in the series and structured the show as a sketch comedy. Each episode featured comical banter and skits between each of the members. Approximately 45 episodes aired throughout the show’s airtime in five years. The first episode aired in 1969 on BBC and concluded in 1974. The series was a massive success, inspiring touring stage shows, albums, books and a stage musical. The most well-known post-show iteration was the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The show premiered a year after the series ended. Although the original cast returned to star in the film, the movie strayed from the original show’s sketch structure. It followed a storyline that centered on King Arthur and his knights searching for the Grail, but not without being confronted with humorous obstacles.


  • 'The Muppet Show'

    A multiple Emmy winner for outstanding comedy, variety or music series, The Muppet Show was created by Jim Henson and centered on Kermit the Frog and his friends as they put on a weekly variety show in their theater house. The show’s cast consisted of Jim Henson, Jerry Nelson, Dave Goelz, Richard Hunt and Frank Oz. The eclectic cast of Muppet characters became famous faces, and a variety of spinoffs followed the series. The Muppet Show characters were later featured in The Muppet Movie (1979), The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), The Great Muppet Caper (1981), The Jim Henson Hour (1989), The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002), Muppet Treasure Island (1996), Muppets Most Wanted (2014) and The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz (2005).


  • 'Scooby-Doo'

    The animated mystery franchise debuted in 1969 on CBS, running for six years until later being broadcast in ABC's Saturday morning lineup from 1976-71. The series followed four teenagers and their charismatic dog, Scooby-Doo, embarking on adventures and solving mysteries. The cartoon franchise cultivated a fan following and was recognized by TV Guide as the fifth-greatest TV cartoon of all time. The show inspired multiple of spinoffs and direct-to-video films that included Scooby Goes Hollywood (1979), Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School (1988) and Scooby- Doo on Zombie Island (1998). Reruns of original episodes continue to air on Cartoon Network and inspired motion picture adaptations. Scooby-Doo, starring Matthew Lillard, Freddie Prince Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar and Linda Cardellini, was released in 2002 and became a box-office success, grossing $275 million worldwide. Two years later the cast returned for a sequel, Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed, but failed to gross as much as the original, earning $181 million worldwide. Fred Welker, who voiced Freddy Jones in the original cartoon series, provided his voice for one of the villainous creature in the film. He has also voiced Scooby-Doo. Raja Gosnell directed both films. 

  • 'Starsky & Hutch'

    The cop thriller starring Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul as two detectives made its debut in 1975 on ABC. The show chronicled the detectives patrolling the streets of fictional Bay City, Calif.  The show aired for four seasons, and each of the 92 episodes had a duration of 50 minutes. A film adaptation of the same title was released in 2004 and starred Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. Although released in the new millennium, the show abided by the original series’ time frame and based its plot in the year 1975. Siller and Wilson pay homage to Glaser and Soul by portraying a scene where their characters are wearing shoulder holsters and little towels, attire the original stars wore in the series. The original stars also made a cameo appearance.

  • 'S.W.A.T.'

    A spinoff of The Rookies, the action/crime drama starred Steve Forrest, Rod Perry, Robert Urich and Mark Shera as members of the operated Special Weapons And Tactics (S.W.A.T.) team in California. Despite lasting only two seasons, the series attracted attention for premiering during a sensitive time period for television. Showing violence on television was a controversial subject, and the series received criticism from the actual Los Angeles S.W.A.T. team that the characters were modeled after. A film adaptation was released in 2003 starring Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson. One of the series’ original stars, Forrest, made a cameo, while fellow original cast member Rod Perry played the father of LL Cool J. A 2017 TV series based on the movie is set to star Stephanie Sigman and Shemar Moore.