TV shows inspired by Real life People #AtoZChallengeApril 21, 2016
Movies based on real life incidents make for good and often inspiring tales. They help us relive key moments of history in a short span of time. Making a TV show based on real life characters and events is a different cup of tea. Knowing that the comfort of a tight 2 hour time is replaced by larger, often undetermined period of story telling for a show of many years and seasons, it takes talent and often guts to attempt to recreate real life events. And yet, there are quite a few good shows that have chosen this path with huge success.
Inspired by events, eras and people and their life experiences, these are some of the best TV shows based on real life events.
Orange is the New Black
Based on a real-life memori, Orange is The New Back centers on Piper Chapman, following her years as a convict in a female federal prison for a crime (smuggling drugs) she had committed a long time ago.
Surprise, surprise. The mysteries surrounding our dear Temperance Brennan are based on author (and producer of the show) Kathy Reich's novels based on her own real-life experiences and cases as an archeologist and forensic scientist.
Emily Deschanel & Kathy Reichs
Band of Brothers
Winner of both the Emmy & Golden Globe for best mini-series, this World War II epic was based on Stephen F Ambrose's non fiction book of the same name.
While not a dutiful representation, the show did follow the rule of the notorious King Henry VIII and his various affairs.
Surprisingly, the historical drama that caught everyone's imagination was based off a non-fiction book "To Marry an English Lord" based on the post-Edwardian era.
The BBC drama was based on the real-life BTK (Bind, Torture, Kill) Killer, reliving real-life serial killer Dennis Radar's horrifying escapades even as he hid in plain sight, as a regular married man and father.
Yes. There is a real J.D! Dr Jonathan Doris was a friend of the show's creator, Bill Lawrence and used to regale him with tale of medical life and the lessons he had learned as a young resident. Those memories would go on to touch millions of hearts across the world.
While the Monty Python crew were staying at the Gleneagles hotel during film for their own show, actor John Cleese curiously observed the odd and frantic behavior of the owner, Donald Sinclair. The owner would mock his guests, taunt their eating habits and even threw an actor's briefcase out of the hotel, believing it had a bomb.
John Cleese described him as the rudest man he had ever seen in his life. He then dutifully went on to stay back after shooting for Monty Python was over, just so that he could study the owner's mannerisms.
His portrayal as the harried owner Basil of Fawlty Towers hotel is the stuff of British comedy legend today.
If you see actor Mark Wahlberg having a lot of cameos in this show, it is because the show is based on his life! The show based on daily events in the life of a rising movie star had Wahlberg as an executive producer too.
The iconic show based on the lives of surgeons and medical staff stuck in the Korean War is based on the book by Dr. H. Richard Hornberger, a military surgeon who served in Korea. Not only were the main characters in the show based on real life staff serving in the army hospital, the plotlines for most episodes were based on anecdotes revealed by real MASH surgeons during interviews.
Yes, it is true! Creator Dan Harmon did attend an actual Greendale Community College and get into a study group with people he had nothing in common with, just as in the show! And while he was not a part of the real life study group, there really is a pop culture fanatic character called Abed in real life too, a friend of Dan's!
The political thriller show about a woman regularly called in for her discreet trouble-shooting skills is based on real life crisis management specialist, Judy Smith who was also a press aide during the George W Bush administration. She is also a co-executive producer on this show.
The sports drama was based on real life psychologist Dr. Donna Dannenfelser as she worked with the American football team, the New York Jets.
The crime thriller based on the cocaine industry is unsurprisingly based on the life of the most infamous of drug smugglers, Pablo Escobar.
The political drama centers around the life of Enoch L. Johnson, a real-life Atlantic City politician. It is based on the non-fiction book 'Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City,' written by Nelson Johnson.
Show Me a HeroBased on the 1999 nonfiction book of the same name, the show follows the struggles of real life Mayor Nick Wasicsko as he tries to bring together people of various races and social classes by desegregating housing colonies in Yonkers, New York; a conflict that affected an entire city.
While not quite as magical as The Wonder Years, The Goldbergs has its heart in the right place. The show is made by Adam Goldberg and is based on events from his own childhood growing up. A nice touch is when they show real home videos at the end of each episode, related to the theme of that episode.
Everybody hates Chris
You may have recognized comedian Chris Rock's voice as he narrated in the background during this comedy sitcom of a young African American kid growing up in Brooklyn. Well, guess what? It was his life story being portrayed!
A very surprising fact - even though the show was picked up for a fifth season, Chris ended the show at 4 because the character in the show playing him had reached 17 - the same age Chris was when he dropped out of high school - and for him, that was the end of Chris's journey.
You can't avoid it. Seinfeld is basically Jerry Seinfeld's life. The stand up bits are based on his own stand up comedy bits. And the storylines were based on either his or writer Larry David's real life experiences. I guess even Everybody Loves Raymond comes in this category, then.
You all know Norman Bates, the movie character immortalized by Alfred Hitchcock via 'Psycho'. You know there is a television show too now based on his deeds - Bates Motel. But do you know that the character is based on Robert Bloch's book which is in turn based on real life killer, Edward Gein.
P.S.. In a bizarre case of life imitating art, there really is a goatee sporting Walter White who became a notorious methamphetamine dealer just as in Breaking Bad.
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