"The movie was better" is what you often hear about a film that was later turned into a TV series. But sometimes that's just not so -usually because a continuing TV series gives us more time to spend with characters and get to know them better. The first example you think of is, of course, M*A*S*H, but there are plenty of others. Looking through the list at the A.V. Club, there are a few TV shows that I'd forgotten were actually movies first. Many of these will be completely unfamiliar to those under a certain age, like Peyton Place.
Grace Metalious’ 1956 novel Peyton Place spawned a hit movie, a book sequel, a movie sequel, and controversy across the country from those who found Metalious’ frank description of small-town vice—from child sexual abuse to abortion to rampant adultery—a bit too spicy for the Eisenhower era. By the time Peyton Place became a prime-time soap in 1964, the title alone had entered the pop-culture lexicon as shorthand for “shocking.” And while the TV series was relatively tame—keeping the routine adultery but losing the more extreme perversion—it had an intense, potboiler quality that makes it compelling even now. (It helps that the show features a young Ryan O’Neal and Mia Farrow, as teenage lovers torn apart by parental pressure and a chain of circumstance.) Peyton Place aired multiple times a week and never repeated, so by the time it ended its run in 1969, 514 half-hour episodes had been completed. The show looks like a 1964 TV series—all backlot-y and Main Street idyllic—except that the characters are all sleeping around and trying to kill each other. It’s like the dark side of Mayberry.