back to top

12 Awful '90s Movies Based On TV Shows

The decade that took beloved 1960s television shows and turned them into unwatchable films.

Posted on

1. The Avengers (1998)


Based on: The British television series of the same name, which ran from 1961–1969.

Not even the all-star cast featuring Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, and Sean Connery could save this dud. The film was nominated for 10 Razzie Awards, including Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actor (Connery), Worst Actress (Thurman), Worst Actor (Fiennes), and Worst Screen Couple (Fiennes and Thurman).

Most scathing review: "To put it mildly, the dandified Fiennes does not look capable of inflicting serious damage with that bumbershoot, and Ms. Thurman had a better costume-party role as Poison Ivy in Batman Forever." —Jane Maslin, The New York Times

2. Mr. Magoo (1997)

Based on: The 1960s cartoon of the same name.

Disney adapted a barely known cartoon character, Mr. Magoo (played in the film by Leslie Nelson), into a barely seen movie.

Most scathing review: "If you really hate your kids, pack them off to this slapdash farce." —Jonathan Rosenbaum, The Chicago Reader

3. The Mod Squad (1999)


Based on: The popular ABC series of the same name, which aired from 1968–1973.

Despite the hot young cast, the film tanked at the box office. It grossed only $13 million during its theatrical run and had a $50 million budget.

Most scathing review: “At the end, theater exit signs are welcome beacons.” —Lawrence Van Gelder, The New York Times

4. Inspector Gadget (1999)

Based on: The popular syndicated cartoon of the same name, which ran from 1983–1986.

The film, which starred Matthew Broderick as Inspector Gadget, was actually a moderate success at the box office, and even spawned a direct-to-video sequel — which featured 3rd Rock from the Sun's French Stewart as the title character.

Not so scathing review: "This is the worst live-action Disney feature since 1997's That Darn Cat remake!" —Steven Rosen, The Denver Post


5. Lost in Space (1998)


Based on: The campy CBS series that ran from 1965–1968.

The film was a moderate success at the box office — and it also has the distinction of ending Titanic’s 15-week-long reign atop the box office.

Most scathing review: “This is the kind of movie that, if it fell into a black hole, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.” —Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

6. The Flintstones (1994)


Based on: The classic ABC animated series, which ran from 1960–1966.

The film was a huge box office hit, earning $130 million during its domestic theatrical run.

Sadly, the movie was also Elizabeth Taylor’s final theatrical film — and it garnered her a Razzie award nomination for Worst Supporting Actress.

Most scathing review:The Flintstones is a $45 million design problem with 98 minutes of weak prehistoric jokes. The ‘stone’-shtick gets mighty old after about 15 minutes.” —The Washington Post

7. It's Pat (1994)


Based on: The (I guess popular enough) androgynous Saturday Night Live character Pat.

The film was both a box office and critical bomb. It currently holds a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Most scathing review: “Ever hear the one about the pic that was too bad to be released, so it escaped? Well, that old joke now has a new punch line: It's Pat.” —Joe Leydon, Variety

8. My Favorite Martian (1999)


Based on: The quirky CBS sitcom of the same name that ran from 1963–1966.

The movie tanked at the box office, earning just $36 million during its theatrical run, out of its $65 million budget.

Clearly, Disney underestimated the appeal of a forgotten 1960s sitcom.

Most scathing review: “Glorified special-effects demo reel based on the singularly daft '60s sitcom (what's next — Petticoat Junction?).” —Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly


9. McHale's Navy (1997)


Based on: The ABC sitcom starring Ernest Borgnine, which ran from 1962–1966.

This movie starred TOM ARNOLD (enough said).

Most scathing review: “Even for a generation with only secondhand knowledge of the show, the new outing is a ham-fisted, fitfully amusing lark that quickly runs aground.” —Leonard Klady, Variety

10. The Beverly Hillbillies (1993)


Based on: The very popular CBS sitcom (that was Filmways presentation!), which ran from 1962–1971.

While the film might have been a campy mess (and not in the good way), it was actually a moderate box office success, earning $44 million domestically during its theatrical run.

Most scathing review: “Imagine the dumbest half-hour sitcom you've ever seen, spin it out to 93 minutes by making it even more thin and shallow, and you have this movie.” —Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

11. Dudley Do-Right (1999)


Based on: The "Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties" shorts that ran as part of 1960s animated series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

The film bombed at the box office — grossing only $9.9 million, against a budget of $70 million.

Apparently, nobody at Universal remembered this film when they decided to green-light The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Most scathing review: “Dumber than Dudley (no mean feat), dumber than most cartoons, this film will be forgotten well before it's gone.” —Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

12. Wild Wild West (1999)


Based on: The Wild Wild West, a spy series set in the Old West, that ran from 1965–1969 on CBS.

A Will Smith summer blockbuster vehicle — that somehow also managed to snag both Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh in leading roles. Although the movie grossed $113 million domestically, it was a box office failure due to its bloated $170 million budget.

The film did eventually manage to turn in a small profit once it was released overseas.

Most scathing review: “This is another big, lavish movie with no there there. Ruled by increasingly ghoulish special effects, it leaves reality so far behind that its storytelling would be arbitrary even by comic-book standards, and its characters share no common ground or emotional connection. It cares far more about herding audiences into theaters than about what they hear or see.”– Janet Maslin, The New York Times

View this video on YouTube

The movie also left us this annoying theme song: