As the television format continues to become increasingly more cinematic each time a new prestige series comes along, it looks like more and more classic films and franchises are being adapted for the medium. Just this year alone, viewers saw the premiere of Training Day on CBS, an adaptation of the Antoine Fuqua 2001 film of the same name starring Bill Paxton in one of the leads, something fans of the original film might never have expected to see. Few movie-to-TV adaptations have made quite a lasting impact, however, as Lethal Weapon.
Despite being welcomed with mostly negative reviews from both critics and fans of the original, Shane Black-penned franchise, the series has emerged as one of the more successful new series of the season, ratings-wise on FOX. With this latest announcement, the network is clearly ready and willing to keep Murtaugh and Riggs' adventures going for at least a little while longer.
FOX has officially announced today that it will be renewing Lethal Weapon for a second season, set to air in the 2017-18 season, making its premiere later this year. The news comes just ahead of tonight's newest episode of the series, titled "Unnecessary Roughness," which follows Riggs and Murtaugh as they investigate a murder involving a high school phenomenon. David Madden, President of Entertainment at the Fox Broadcasting Company, commented on the renewal with the following:
“LETHAL WEAPON continues to fire on all cylinders. Every week, it delivers a big, fun rollercoaster ride, but also remains touchingly human and genuinely emotional, and that’s due to the chemistry that’s developed not only between Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford, but the entire cast. We want to thank our producing partners, Warner Bros., as well as Matt Miller, McG, Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz, who have done a fantastic job in crafting a series for which a second-season order is well deserved.”
Following the same basic structure and plot of the original 1987 film, Lethal Weapon focuses on the unlikely partnership between Richard Murtaugh (Damon Wayans), a veteran cop looking to keep his health in as good a condition as possible, and Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford), a suicidal cop who makes it his basic mission to be as reckless and dangerous as possible following the death of his wife and child. Since its premiere back in September of last year, the series has gone on to be a ratings hit for FOX, with a total average of 11 million weekly viewers across multiple platforms.
Despite that success, however, it's not been nearly the critical darling that some fans may have hoped, even despite the charismatic performances of both Crawford and Wayans. Criticized for its notably lighter and campier style and humor than the original film, it hasn't made nearly the pop culture, prestige splash as some of its other fellow movie-to-TV adaptations like HBO's Westworld or FX's Fargo. But even with all of that being said, Lethal Weapon's success continues to prove just how powerful recognizable brand names can be in drawing in viewers, and its success just guarantees that the story of Riggs and Murtaugh is far from over.
Lethal Weapon will return on FOX tonight with "Unnecessary Roughness" at 8/7c.