The Origins of TV Shows and Movies Quiz


Unlike its popular American predecessor, "The Golden Girls," this British sitcom only aired 11 episodes before it went to live at Shady Pines.

"The Brighton Belles" was the U.K. adaptation of America's "The Golden Girls" that aired 11 episodes between 1993 and 1994.

The American TV series "Homeland" is based on a series from which country?

"Homeland" is based on Israel's "Prisoners of War."

What J.R.R. Tolkien work inspired Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On," off the "Led Zeppelin II" album?

Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" inspired "Ramble On." The lyrics mention Mordor ("T'was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair") and Gollum ("But Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her").

What action-thriller starring Bruce Willis is based on Roderick Thorp's book "Nothing Lasts Forever"?

"Die Hard" is a film adaptation of "Nothing Lasts Forever," a sequel to Thorp's book "The Detective," which also had a film adaptation that starred Frank Sinatra. Yippee-ki-yay!

The American '70s sitcom "Sanford and Son" was based on which popular British sitcom?

"Steptoe and Son" ran on BBC from 1962 to 1965 and returned (in color) in 1970 for four more seasons. It inspired the American sitcom "Sanford and Son," which ran from 1972 to 1977. But "Steptoe" itself was inspired by a play, "The Offer." You hear that, Elizabeth?

The original "Iron Chef" was hosted by Chairman Kaga in what country?

The original Kitchen Stadium, with matches hosted by Chairman Kaga, is located in Japan.

Which book is NOT inspired by Homer's epic story of Odysseus, "The Odyssey"?

"The Grapes of Wrath," by John Steinbeck, was not inspired by Homer's poem. As a side note: Bruce Springsteen's song, "The Ghost of Tom Joad" is based on a film adaptation of "The Grapes of Wrath." And U2's song "Breathe" is based on Joyce's "Ulysses."

Which series inspired Norman Lear's "All in the Family"?

The British show named "Till Death Us Do Part" inspired "All in the Family" after Norman Lear read about the show's success.

Which of the following was an "All in the Family" spinoff?

Maude, Edith Bunker's cousin, only appeared in two episodes, but the spinoff debuted in 1972.

The U.S. sitcom "Maude" was known as "Maguy" when it was adapted in which country?

The French adaptation of "Maude," called "Maguy," ran from 1985 to 1994.

Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover star in this movie, based on the Toni Morrison novel of the same name.

Jonathan Demme directed Oprah Winfrey (as Sethe) and Danny Glover (as Paul D.) in a film adaptation of Toni Morrison's "Beloved" in 1998.

Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" debuted in 1987, adapted from what best-selling Marine Corps veteran-written novel?

Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" was based on the novel "The Short-Timers" by Gustav Hasford (the real-life Joker), who served as a correspondent with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam. The screenplay was co-written by Kubrick and Michael Herr.

Which Coen brothers movie gets its name from the 1941 Preston Sturges Hollywood comedy "Sullivan's Travels"?

In "Sullivan's Travels," Hollywood director John L. Sullivan, played by Joel McCrea, decides to make a movie called "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

True or false: Madame Bovary could be read as a female Don Quixote.

Although he lost his mind reading novels of chivalry and she lost hers reading romance novels, Madame Bovary is a female incarnation of Don Quixote.

Is Jean Rhys' "Wide Sargasso Sea" the prequel or sequel to Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre"?

"Wide Sargasso Sea" is the imagined prequel to "Jane Eyre."

What Amy Heckerling comedy is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen's novel "Emma"?

Amy Heckerling adapted Jane Austen's "Emma" into the modern-day movie "Clueless."

Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" is a remake of which Chinese film?

Released in 2006, "The Departed" is Scorsese's remake of the 2002 film "Infernal Affairs."

Bonnie Raitt's 1991 hit "I Can't Make You Love Me" was inspired by a man who shot at his girlfriend's car but was written by which former NFL lineman?

Mike Reid, former NFL lineman and No. 7 draft pick of 1970, is also a pianist and Grammy-winning composer. He also wrote Ronnie Milsap's "Stranger in My House."

Which is NOT a spinoff of "Happy Days"?

"The Facts of Life" was not a spinoff of "Happy Days." It was a spinoff of "Diff'rent Strokes."

"Happy Days" is a spinoff of what American comedy series?

"Happy Days" is a spinoff of an episode called "Love and the Happy Days" from the comedy series "Love, American Style."

Which "Breaking Bad" character got his own spinoff?

Starring Saul Goodman before he was Walter White's attorney, "Better Call Saul" is a spinoff and prequel to "Breaking Bad."

"The Amityville Horror" is based on a book by the same name about a house at what address?

The terrorized newlyweds live at 112 Ocean Avenue.

Which John Updike novel is a prequel to William Shakespeare's "Hamlet"?

The novel "Gertrude and Claudius" is written as a prequel to Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and ends around act one, scene two of the original work.

True or false: Quentin Tarantino's debut film, "Reservoir Dogs," has been accused of ripping off Ringo Lam's "City on Fire."

Professional and armchair critics alike have compared "Reservoir Dogs" to Ringo Lam's 1987 film "City on Fire."

Which version of "The Ring" grossed more in Japanese theaters, the Japanese original directed by Hideo Nakata or the U.S. remake directed by Gore Verbinski?

Gore Verbinski's 2002 version of "The Ring," starring Naomi Watts, grossed more in Japan than Nakata's original from 1998. "Ringu," however, wasn't the story's origin; that was the novel "Ring" by Koji Suzuki. But it doesn't end there — Suzuki draws from "Bancho Sarayashiki," a Japanese folktale.

Alfred Hitchcock bought the film rights to Robert Bloch's horror novel "Psycho" in 1959 for how much money?

Hitchcock purchased the film rights to the novel "Psycho" for $9,500, plus the amount it cost him to buy all the available copies of the book to keep the suspense alive for his movie watchers.

Which song, based on a physical attack of CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather, did R.E.M. release in 1993?

R.E.M.'s "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" gets its name from an attack on journalist Dan Rather by two assailants who repeated "Kenneth, what's the frequency?"

Which John Sturges-directed Western is a remake of Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai"?

Antoine Fuqua's 2016 remake of "The Magnificent Seven" is actually a remake of a remake; Sturges' 1960 film is a remake of Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" — the original original.

True or false: Sergio Leone's "A Fistful of Dollars" is a remake of Akira Kurosawa's "Yojimbo."

This is true (at least unofficially so). Kurosawa's studio sued Leone for infringement.

What horror novel, one of Kurt Cobain's favorite books, is the topic of Nirvana's "Scentless Apprentice"?

Kurt Cobain wrote the song "Scentless Apprentice" because of his appreciation for Patrick Suskind's "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer."

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About This Quiz

The book is always better than the movie. The original is always better than the sequel. British is better than American. Not so fast — not all of those assumptions are correct. But, then, not all our ideas are new ...

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