As we enter spring, it comes the time for TV networks to begin making decisions on whether to renew or axe their fall shows, and while Fox is still slow on deciding the fate for many of their series, the one show that should be an easy to decision for the network to save: Lethal Weapon.
When it was first announced Fox would develop the films into a TV series, there was certainly a lot of doubt about its quality as similar past adaptations have mostly fallen flat. However, this show has proven its worth time and time again, establishing itself as one of the best movie-to-TV adaptations ever. Let's take a look at why Fox needs to renew the series immediately.
The Chemistry Of Its Leads
One of the best aspects of the original film franchise that made audiences come back for every adventure was the comic chemistry between leads Danny Glover and Mel Gibson, who both had primarily been known for their dramatic work and surprised everyone with how funny they could be.
Though star Damon Wayans is certainly no stranger to comedy, being one of 10 kids born into a comedic family and being part of the creative team for In Living Color and My Wife and Kids, his co-star, Clayne Crawford, is practically a rookie when it comes to comedic acting.
The seemingly mismatched pairing, however, turns out to be a stroke of pure genius, as not only does Crawford prove he can hold his own as the reckless smart-ass Martin Riggs, but he can easily play off of Wayans when the time comes for their witty banter, resulting in just as much hilarity as the original films.
One of the most important aspects to get right in transitioning the series to TV, the action in the Lethal Weapon franchise has always been large and explosive, whether it was Riggs and Murtaugh witnessing a house exploding or the partners engaging in a high-speed pursuit on the freeway whilst Riggs finds a henchman in a house being towed.
While the series obviously doesn't have as big of a budget as the films had, it's clear Fox had a lot of faith in the show as the action is explosive, the stunts are major and the effects are superb for a TV series. One of the best action sequences that capture the grand action the show is delivering is a scene from the fifth episode, in which Riggs and Murtaugh jump out of a building with a bomb to ensure the explosion doesn't kill any civilians.
One of the biggest challenges a movie-to-TV adaptation faces is getting good reviews from critics, as they often find it heavily pales in comparison to the original source material. Some have found great success, shows including Bates Motel and Ash vs. Evil Dead earning critical acclaim with scores of 80% or higher on Rotten Tomatoes, while some have fallen flat, such as the recent CBS adaptations, Rush Hour and Training Day, both earning scores below 25% on the review aggregate site. While the Fox adaptation isn't receiving critical acclaim, it's still seeing much better results than many others in its genre have.
As of February 2017, the buddy-cop comedy holds a 62% "Fresh" rating from 34 critics on the website and a 91% "Fresh" rating from 174 audience members. Though audiences will typically give more praise to shows than critics, when the large majority of audiences can shower praise upon an adaptation of what's considered a classic franchise, that's when the network knows it's found success in the show.
Ratings are the results that networks truly look at when deciding whether to renew or cancel a show. Lethal Weapon has proven to be very successful with its ratings. The series earned over 11 million viewers for its premiere and the decline in ratings has been minimal, each following episode still earning an average of over nine million viewers.
In looking at Fox's other series, these numbers put this show in the upper rankings for the network, with popular series Gotham drawing in a little over five million viewers a week in its third season while comedy mainstay The Simpsons earned approximately four million viewers overall in its previous season. With almost double-digit ratings per week in its premiere season, which is already through 15 of its 18 episode order, it's safe to say Fox has a viewers hit on its hands.
Do you think Fox should renew Lethal Weapon? What are your thoughts on the show? Do you have a favorite movie-to-TV adaptation? Let us know in the comments below!