Paul Katz
July 15, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Didn’t get enough of Crash or Barbershop in theaters? Just wait. Both films are being adapted into TV series. But when jumping from the silver to small screen, a successful landing isn’t guaranteed. (Clueless? Yep, it was.) Consider these six historical examples.

THE BEST

M*A*S*H 1972-83 (CBS)
BASED ON Robert Altman’s 1970 antiwar farce
ROLE PLAYING Alan Alda inherits Dr. Hawkeye Pierce’s scalpel from Donald Sutherland.
WHY IT WORKED The sharp comedy never hit a false note. Not even Klinger in a negligee could make us look away.

FAME 1982-87 (NBC, Syndicated)
BASED ON The 1980 film set in New York’s High School for the Performing Arts
ROLE PLAYING Unknown Erica Gimpel subbed for now-forgotten Irene Cara.
WHY IT WORKED Teens actually played teens! The WB should be calling them any second now.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER 1997-2003 (The WB, UPN)
BASED ON The campy 1992 film
ROLE PLAYING Sarah Michelle Gellar nails Kristy Swanson’s movie role.
WHY IT WORKED The concept — high school really is hell — played better as a serial than a film.

THE WORST

FERRIS BUELLER 1990 (NBC)
BASED ON The 1986 John Hughes comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
ROLE PLAYING Future Friend Jennifer Aniston won Jennifer Grey’s part by a nose.
WHY IT DIDN’T WORK Nothing could save Ferris with Charlie Schlatter subbing in for Matty B.

DANGEROUS MINDS (ABC) 1996-97
BASED ON The edgy 1995 drama of the same name
ROLE PLAYING Michelle Pfeiffer = Annie Potts. Yes, Annie Potts.
WHY IT DIDN’T WORK Potts’ homey-room teacher never caught on as the gritty film became a barrio Head of the Class.

MY BIG FAT GREEK LIFE 2003 (CBS)
BASED ON 2002’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding
ROLE PLAYING Everyone returned — except John Corbett. Good call, John.
WHY IT DIDN’T WORK Indie wit-turned-sitcom sap and Nia Vardalos’ clashes with CBS led to a big fat Greek flop.

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