We talk a lot about the lack of originality in Hollywood, but every once in a while, the studios will come across an idea for a truly unique movie or TV show -- something with the potential to be adored by both critics and human beings alike. And in a troubling amount of those instances, the studio's reaction will be, "What the hell is this crap? Change everything about it, please."
Fortunately, not all filmmakers bother listening to the opinions of the incredibly powerful people who make their work possible, and that's why we now have movies and shows like ...
8 Stranger Things Was Rejected 20 Different Times Because Networks Wanted To Lose The Kids
Hitting just the right amount of Spielbergian '80s nostalgia with Stephen-King-esque fucked-up-ness, Stranger Things rocketed to the top of everyone's Netflix queues. The supernatural mystery, the throwback vibe, and the adorable yet talented cast of child actors formed a recipe for success -- one that was rejected over and over again by people who do this for a living.
Make It Stranger
What would we do without these memes we keep pretending to understand?
Not understanding how a bunch of adults could be interested in a motley gang of spunky children and their otherworldly problems, studio after studio shot down the mega-hit, believing the mixed-aged cast was too confusing for audiences to get behind. Yes, Hollywood thinks everyone must be exactly as narcissistic as them.
Those who were willing to give the show a shot offered to accept the series on one of two conditions: Either make it a children's show, thereby killing the central mystery of the plot, or cut those crazy kids altogether. The show already had a character adults could relate to, the networks thought. Why not make the whole plot revolve around Sheriff Hopper investigating paranormal crimes from week to week? That would work, right?
The creative team behind the series, the Duffer brothers, held out for a network that would give their show the treatment it deserved, and eventually found a home on Netflix. The series got to keep its plot and cast intact, and we got a great series commercial-free. So, win-win.
7 The Walking Dead Was Almost A Crime-Of-The-Week Procedural
When The Walking Dead burst on the scene with its slow-burn character development and gruesome zombie kills, the show quickly became a head-smashing success. Viewers would eventually become frustrated with its oft-repeating formula, but it could have been way, way worse. Like, NBC worse.
Let's just say this was almost more than a parody.
At the time the series premiered in 2010, zombies were considered a dying fad, like superheroes or Pokemon. So networks agreed to snatch up the promising script as long as there weren't any of those pesky brain-eating corpses running around. Refusing to allow his zombie comic adaptation to continue without, you know, zombies, series creator Robert Kirkman kept shopping around his script, looking for someone with the guts to leave the horror element intact. (All these puns are totally accidental, incidentally.)
Finally, Kirkman found a home ... at NBC. The Peacock was unafraid of the zombie-centric script, but still had a few ideas of their own. Not content with their already procedural-laden lineup, the network suggested Deputy Sheriff Grimes continue his crimefighting ways after the dawn of the zombie apocalypse. Instead of rounding up deadly survivors and supply thieves, Rick and co. would solve a zombie-related crime every week.
Alternate title: Criminal Braaaiiins.
We're betting it wouldn't have taken long before "Huh, this one got eaten by a zombie too -- case closed" got horrifyingly boring. Maybe they could have mixed things up with zombie grand larceny or tax evasion?