Question: As a huge Buffy fan, when it ended I became curious about something. Other than this show and M*A*S*H, are there any other television shows that became so successful that they overpowered the movies they were based on? There seems to be an infinite number of shows-based-on-movies that come and go in the blink of an eye, thankfully in most cases, but Buffy and M*A*S*H are the only two that I can think of that were not only successful but also leave people shocked when they realize that they were actually based on movies. Chris C., Pittsburg, Cal.
Televisionary: Well, "overpowered" is a subjective opinion, Chris. (And I'll ignore the fact that M*A*S*H, like several other of the examples I'm about to list, was a book before it was a movie; heck, I have to draw the line somewhere, so I'll stick to the scripted form.) For example, I agree in the case of Buffy. The movie was a complete failure, but the show was a cultural phenomenon. In the case of M*A*S*H, I'm not sure "overpowered" is quite the right word, at least in terms of success. Altman's film remains a groundbreaking classic. However, say the name Hawkeye and a lot more people picture Alan Alda than Donald Sutherland, I'm sure, and even fewer would come up with Elliott Gould's face for Trapper. So you may have a point there after all.
Be that as it may, similar cases to those two, to one degree or another, include Naked City, Dr. Kildare, The Virginian, Flipper, Daktari (from the movie Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion), The Courtship of Eddie's Father, McCloud (Coogan's Bluff), The Odd Couple (a play before it was a movie or a series), Alice (Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore), What's Happening! (Cooley High), House Calls (Wayne Rogers again!), Fame, Hotel, Mr. Belvedere (Sitting Pretty), In the Heat of the Night, La Femme Nikita, Stargate SG-1 (Stargate) and The Dead Zone.
Now, before people write in to tell me what an idiot I am, I'll admit that not all of those examples were clearly more memorable or successful than their movie ancestors. But your age most likely determines whether or not you realize some of those were on the big screen before hitting the small one.