Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Could CHEERS be re-booted?

I recently saw a new stage version of YES MINISTER, based on the beloved British sitcom from the ‘80s. The new show was a smash on the West End (duh!) and is getting its American debut in Los Angeles down the street from a Ralph’s market. Like the original, it was quite witty and droll. The two gentlemen who wrote the series – Antony Jay & Jonathan Lynn – wrote this as well.

I read an interview with Lynn where he said their big trepidation was: would the audience accept a version without series stars Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne? Both of those extraordinary actors have unfortunately passed on. Happily, Lynn reported that West End audiences did go along with new actors in the roles. As for me? I was sitting so far back I have no idea who those people were on the stage.

But it brings up the question, would American audiences accept a stage version of CHEERS without Ted Danson and Shelley Long? These actors are so etched into our minds as those characters that it might be hard getting past other actors in the roles. And if you use other actors, would you want their interpretation to be different and unique to them or a more faithful mimic of the characters you know?

There have been numerous movie adaptations of TV series – the latest being the Lone Ranger. I can’t answer that one because the reviews have been so horrendous I’ve been afraid to see it. I hear, however, that they portray the Lone Ranger as kind of an idiot. I’ll hold out till the reboot of WILD BILL HICKCOCK.

Some reboots have been successful. I liked THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE, although that was more of a spoof. And how hard is it to fill the role of Carol Brady? (Ironically, it was Shelley Long who played her.) And some of the Tom Cruise MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movies worked. I liked the cast of the STAR TREK prequel (although some of you did not).

But most reboots are pretty bad. The worst has to be BILKO starring Steve Martin in the Phil Silvers’ part. I have no fucking clue what Steve Martin was playing or even hoped to achieve. Why not just get Oprah Winfrey to play Ernie Bilko?

And then of course there are TV reboots. Don’t get me started on HAWAII FIVE-O. Oprah would be a better Steve McGarret too.

I once had the pleasure of seeing a live version of Neil Simon’s ODD COUPLE play that starred the TV Felix & Oscar -- Tony Randall & Jack Klugman. That was fun although I felt like I was attending the world’s best but longest network runthrough.

I think a new stage version of CHEERS could be done. The first ten minutes might be a little disconcerting, (“Afternoon everybody.” “Norm????”), but if you got terrific young actors and the writing was CHEERS-caliber, I think the audience would go along with you. And just to make sure, sit the audience as far back as I was for YES MINISTER. (“Is that Oprah playing Cliff?”)

I myself am lucky. None of the shows I co-created lasted long enough for the characters to become engrained in anyone’s minds. In fact, if I do a stage version of BIG WAVE DAVE’S there’s a good chance the play will have a longer run than the series.


magical_m said...

I saw the stage version of Yes, Prime Minister in Australia last year and although it played to sold out houses and was very well received (the TV show had a huge following here back in the day), I couldn't help but feel that the writers had just cobbled together material from four half-hour TV episodes to make a two-hour stage show.

So for me, it wasn't the fact that the actors were different (I thought they did a great job), but that the material just wasn't up to the same standard it was in the original series and additionally, didn't have a theatrical feel to it. Most of the time I felt like I was watching back-to-back episodes of the TV show instead of a theatrical adaptation.

Carol said...

When I was in high school a million years ago, the theatre group did the play version of MASH.(This was...gosh, 1981-1982)The director turned a minor character into Klinger because he knew the audience would expect to see Klinger there, even though he didn't exist in that version of the show.

This isn't exactly what you're talking about, but it made me remember that play.

Wasn't there a theatre version of Cheers as written by Diane Chambers in an episode of Fraiser? :)

Murray said...

The only way to do is the way Star Trek did it: add "The Next Generation" on the end. It gives the new show a chance. People aren't comparing whether Mom makes chocolate chip cookies as good as Grandma's cookies. It's whether Mom is overall in Grandma's league as a baker in general.

For Cheers, I'd start with the premise that faulty new management and economic this and that left the bar empty. Up for sale, but no takers. Melville's is using it for storage. One of Carla's many offspring, with many fond childhood memories of mom working at Cheers, comes into enough money to buy and restore the bar. Other Tortelli offspring will be natural regular or guests in the series. Frederick Crane is attending Harvard like his old man. Use "name children" where possible, but bring in new characters as well.

Anyway, time for breakfast.

Chicago Pinot said...

Or maybe Mayor Kelly buys Cheers as a way to maybe cheer herself up after losing a cliffhanger of an election for governor (Woody could never convince her that there were actual potential voters she could talk to everyday at the underground MBTA stops).

McAlvie said...

I can definitely see Cheers rebooted for the stage. The Cheers characters WERE characters. Sam the owner and perennial skirt chaser; Carla the cantankerous career barmaid; Norm!, the regular everyone knows, Cliff the know-it-all ... So long as they fill the roles with good character actors and not just pretty faces, this could work.

Which makes me realize that this is what is missing in so many tv shows today. There are few "roles" being played, just pretty faces reading lines.

Anonymous said...

Bill Simmons has long advocated for this, perhaps with a black cast including Wendell Pierce ("shiiiiitttt") as Norm.

Mike said...

Cheers remakes:
1) Spain, 26 episodes, 2011.
2) Ireland, Gaelic, trawling for scripts from Irish writers last March. This was raised in the Comments here.

jbryant said...

Anonymous: I believe the actor from THE WIRE who is associated with "Shiiiiit" is Isiah Whitlock, Jr., not Wendell Pierce.

Dan Ball said...

I've actually seen a stage version of CHEERS. It was at the Festhaus at King's Island in Ohio around '95, shortly after Paramount bought the place. I was only about 10 at the time, but the set closely resembled the bar on TV. I didn't really like musicals or plays at the time, but this was okay because it was CHEERS.

Also, one of my favorite big-screen reboots of a TV show is MAVERICK. It had the right people with the right sensibilities working on it, plus a lot of fun cameos and other favorite character actors. Dick Donner, Bill Goldman, Mel Gibson in his prime, Jim Garner. Wow!

I sort of agree with Murray about the 'TNG' approach. However, I diverge when it concerns the kids of the regulars. The best idea is to do another bar with new characters who have their own stories and identities. The owner's an out-of-town investor who barely knows what's going on, there's no real manager, and the place is a mess. There's still barflies, but even they're about to leave. One of the long-running arcs could be that this new waitress comes along and tries to revive the bar, often butting heads with the owner. She would pit her instincts and intuition about customer service against the owner's business formulas. I'm thinking one episode could be that the bar runs out of toilet paper (because of increased business, thanks to her managing ideas) and she asks the owner for more money to buy more, but the owner says no. Basically, I think I've come up with PARKS AND RECREATION IN A BAR.

The bar paradigm--especially the CHEERS paradigm--seems a bit old-fashioned. I don't know too many 30-/40-somethings who are barflies these days. On the weekends, they are. But that atmosphere is so superficial. The only people who would be in a bar like Cheers are the same people who were there 20-30 years ago. Not Norm Jr., Norm Sr. The bars young people hit up are snazzier, flashier, dancier. When they go, they go in cliques and I don't think there's the same kind of camaraderie to be found there. Not saying that this setting isn't worth would just be a different paradigm than the old CHEERS. Probably different enough to steer it clear of being a rehash of the old CHEERS, like New WKRP. Definitely a single-cam affair.

Jeffro said...

So would this stage version have Coach or Woody? Maybe there could be both, having Coach pass away as part of the plot.

And would Diane leave halfway through the performance and be replaced by Rebecca?

Ron Clark said...

The reboots/remakes that fail are the ones that tend to ignore the spirit of the original show. Land of the Lost was a prime example of this. The movie contained none of the elements that attracted people to the original show, and if you weren't a fan, why would you bother going to see a remake of it (unless you're one of those intensely curious people who find Will Ferell funny for more than 10 minutes). It sounds like the Lone Ranger suffered from this too, along with the fact that the main target audience for movies like this wasn't even born the last time there was a Lone Ranger on the screen....

Dan Ball said...

Err...*UNLIKE* New WKRP.

Oy, glavin.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

The one idea I liked for a remake was when someone on alt.showbiz.gossip, apprised of the news that they were thinking of making a movie of BEWITCHED, suggested it would only be worth seeing if they switched the actor playing Darren halfway through with no explanation.

Otherwise, we *have* the originals. Doing remakes just seems pointless to me unless you want the money (and probably even then). It's like cover bands...just WHY?

Someone mentioned William Goldman in yesterday's thread on dialogue. Another great line of his was in the process of complaining about the decision to remake SABRINA with Julia Ormond. Something like: "You only decide to remake SABRINA because you made it with Julia Ormond and you discover Audrey Hepburn."

(Pace to Julia Ormond fans; I think she's great, too.)

Zach said...

The In-Laws is the worst reboot ever.

Ray Barrington said...

Let's see - The Fugitive worked as a movie remake because they added the one thing the TV series never did - big action sequences - instead of David Janssen looking serious. So maybe you could have Norm do a 10-story dive.

Ed said...

Ken- Please see The Lone Ranger. Please! For the sake of your blog-audience. Not to set the bar too high, but I have a feeling your review would be an epic piece of writing.

Honestly, the movie is fun. It does have a few flaws and to really enjoy it you have to be somewhat ignorant of American history and geography. You'll know what I mean when you see it and I would anxiously await to read your reaction to that.

On one hand, I'd like to tell you that you have nothing to fear in seeing this movie. But another part of me wants to tell you: "For the sake or your readers here, FACE YOUR FEARS! It is a moment like this when we all need you! And I'm sure you read enough of the trades to know that Disney REALLY needs your $10 right now."

Wayne said...

The Lone Ranger died with his reboots on.

Roy Phillips said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roy Phillips said...

What the hell is "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" then?

Daniel said...

There's already a reboot of Cheers, with a multicultural cast. It's called Sullivan & Son.

Covarr said...

As someone who never saw the original TV show, I actually liked the Sgt. Bilko movie (although I mostly credit it to Phil Hartman). I'd imagine it falls under the umbrella of reboots that totally miss the point, but are tolerable if you pretend they're not based on anything.

What I'd rather see for Cheers than a reboot, however, is another spin-off. Contrive a reason for Cliff to retire, contrive a reason for him to come into a ton of money, and have him move to Florida and join a country club (where he very much doesn't fit).

To be perfectly honest, I think there's potential in any premise you could come up with, and a reboot is no different. What would really make or break it, whether a stage remake, or a movie, or whatever, is going to be the quality of the writing and acting.

Do the new writers understand the characters? Do they understand both the original format (sitcom) and the new format (stage), the differences between the two, particularly in terms of pacing, and how to convert it without losing something important?

Do the actors really get their characters and their motivations? If they're playing it the same as the originals, are they doing it as a heartful homage or a quirky impression, and which does the writing call for (The Brady Bunch had a mix of both styles, depending on the character)? If they're playing it differently, do they have a good reason, and does it fit with the writing?

It's important to note the reason reboots and adaptations fail isn't because they're reboots, but because they're lousy. In many cases (I, Robot) an established license or franchise is plastered on late in development because they KNOW it's lousy, and it's just a quick attempt to hold up something that can't stand on its own. While a Cheers adaptation simply couldn't be done as a last-minute brand change, it could definitely be subject to any of these other problems.

I think what I'm trying to say is, if it's good, it's good. Really, anything can be rebooted, and the quality of the reboot has little to do with whether or not the original is "compatible" with being rebooted, but rather with the ability of the people responsible for the reboot.

P.S. How faithful would it have to be? I'm only 24, and not a professional actor, but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't LOVE to audition for the role of a younger Cliff. If, by some odd combination of miracles, luck, coincidence, and fate a Cheers reboot ever happens to be made, I'm holding you personally responsible for letting me know. :P

Max Clarke said...

Sure, somebody could do a good job with Cheers as a movie or play. It would be fun to see a different Sam and Diane.

Sam and Diane could be played by Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway. Call the movie "Get Beer."

And Ted Danson is old enough now to play Coach!

I'd buy a ticket just to see Ted Danson fumbling about the bar as Ernie Pantusso.

Victor Velasco said...

Yes a thousand times re: Bilko. Seem to remember the press releases that they originally thought Dan Aykroyd would play Bilko, and that Martin decided to give his interpretation...the "I" word works well for Shakespeare or stage in general; hell, it's the reason stage acting stays alive for thousands of years, but for Bilko? LOOK ALIVE, HEY-UH-HUPPP!!!
P.S. Nat Hiken must have turned in his grave twice for the"Car 54 Where Are You" reboot. David Johansen made Joe E. Ross look like Olivier!

Mark said...

I'm rather glad the TV-to-feature fad has faded. We were certainly subjected to some horrors. (Tom Arnold in "McHale's Navy." Cedric the Entertainer as Ralph Kramden.) Thankfully, development hell spared us such horrors as big screen adaptations of "Gilligan's Island" and "I Dream of Jeannie."

I imagine the first thought about a "Cheers" reboot is that execs would look at the series and worry that the cast was all too old in the original and would want to dial their ages back. Place them all in their late 20s/early 30s.

Bradley said...

Chicago Pinot: I laughed out loud at the idea of Kelly owning the bar. Now that's funny.

Aaron Poehler said...

Cheers without that specific cast would work just about as well for me as Seinfeld, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Arrested Development, or The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air would work without their specific casts: not at all.

Michael said...

Friday question:

I know you had problems working with Mary Tyler Moore on "Mary", but how would you rate her actual performance on the show?

VP81955 said...

I'm rather glad the TV-to-feature fad has faded. We were certainly subjected to some horrors. (Tom Arnold in "McHale's Navy." Cedric the Entertainer as Ralph Kramden.) Thankfully, development hell spared us such horrors as big screen adaptations of "Gilligan's Island" and "I Dream of Jeannie."

A "Gilligan" remake would be pure kitsch, but in the right hands a "Jeannie" reboot could work. Since the Jeannie character lives for thousands of years, she could wind up back in the bottle, set free by a new master (some hipster college instructor in Brooklyn, perhaps?) for some 21st century long as the new Jeannie had at least a reasonable amount of comedic flair as the wonderful Barbara Eden. And that's a pretty tall order.

Oh, and speaking of "Gilligan," Bob Denver's definitive role is coming out on DVD in the complete set of "Dobie Gillis" (which includes all sorts of splendid extras). That was the first prime-time series I was a fan of. How about you, Ken?

Anonymous said...

(Ironically, it was Shelley Long who played her.)

Coincidentally, not ironically.

benson said...

As Alanis Morrisette says "huh"?

benson said...

Sullivan and Son is the closest thing to a reboot, but it's too coarse as most network comedy crap is today. Cheers was for thinking adults.

I don't know the answer to this; is there any footage floating around of Julia Duffy and Fred Dryer's screen test for Cheers?

DBenson said...

If memory serves, Diane Chambers wrote the stage version of Cheers and got it onstage in Seattle, after the branding iron incident got her fired from "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman."

In England it seems it used to be common to do stage versions of TV shows; often as holiday entertainments. Dr. Who, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and The Avengers all were stage. There was even a successful two-man show based on Thunderbirds. The "Carry On" movie/TV series was a stage hit as well.

Eons ago in my youth the companies that licensed plays for schools & amateurs had adaptations of sitcoms, movies, and even humor books like "You Were Born on a Rotten Day." Few if any were Broadway bound or ever intended to be.

I also remember the golden age of movie versions, made with the TV casts and often the TV sets. These ranged from pasteups of TV episodes (Davy Crockett, Man From Uncle, and a sitcom version of Tammy), things that looked like pasteups of TV episodes (Munsters Go Home, the two McHale's Navy features, and the pre-series Superman movie), and the occasional flick that spent enough money to look like a movie (Batman). This was when most of the shows were only seen on small b&w sets.

Jake Mabe said...

I'm over the remakes and reboots and retreads.

Somebody made mention of "The Fugitive," which is the best movie version of a TV series to date, but even it lacked the depth of the original series, mainly due to the fact that David Janssen is one of the most underrated actors of the 20th century. His later series, "Harry O," is a classic that got canned too early to make way for "Charlie's Angels."

I'd prefer to see new, creative, scripted series than somebody screw up something I already hold dear. I still have nightmares about Steve Martin's "Pink Panther."

Bruce said...

Eddie Murphy should have been cast in Bilko, not Steve Martin (or Dan Aykroyd).

Dixon Steele said...

Agree about the awful BILKO flick which, ironically, was directed by the same Jonathan Lynn who did the stage play you've written about.

Greg Ehrbar said...

They seem to have done a pretty good job bringing back "Doctor Who" by dialing up the special effects and making the shows more like little movies, but still retaining the tradition of the earlier show. I wish the same could be done with the British "Avengers."

There were other series that took place in bars, from the strange "Duffy's Tavern" on radio to the could-have-been-much-better "The Corner Bar" in the '70s. What made "Cheers" was the characters, actors and writing. The setting was important, but it's more than a show taking place in a bar.

How about a musical?

The Mutt said...

I've been eagerly awaiting a Gilligan's Island movie. C'mon Hollywood!

Seth Green as Gilligan.
Will Sasso as Skipper.
Rob Lowe as The Professor.
Kelsey Grammer as Thurston Howell.
Wendy Malik as Lovey.
Alison Brie as Mary Ann.
Christina Hendricks as Ginger.

YEKIMI said...

I might have missed it if someone had commented on it but I loved the "sequel/reboot" movie "Back To The Beach", which had Frankie & Annette grown up and living in the Midwest and going back to California to visit their daughter. In a way they were having great fun spoofing the characters [loved the fact that every cupboard in their house was filled with Skippy peanut butter.] Parts of it made me laugh very hard and amazed that they had so many 50/60s stars from other shows in it.

An (is my actual name) said...

Honestly? I fell a little out of love with Cheers when Shelley Long left, so I'm thinking a whole new cast wouldn't exactly send me rushing to the theater. There's just too much impossibly wonderful precedent to live up to. Cheers is more than your average or even great show-- it's iconic, and that includes the actors as much as the characters. Curiosity might get the better of me and put me in a seat, but I don't know that I'd be capable of coming out happy.

Mike said...

In a reboot, would they cast Ted Danson as Coach?

Most likely is you would have actors who are playing the show as a spoof, much like the Dukes of Hazzard remakes.

cadavra said...

I also enjoyed YES, PRIME MINISTER, and fortunately had a better seat than you! As fat as recasting goes, I see nothing wrong with it as long as it's the right recasting. My goodness, we've had umpteen Supermen, Batmen, 007s, Tarzans, Doctor Whos, Charlie Chans, et al. Heck, we currently have THREE different Sherlock Holmes all co-existing peaceably. This shouldn't even be an issue.

One more thing: Ignore the reviews. THE LONE RANGER is a helluva lotta fun. Just remember that it's a tale being told in flashback to a little boy by an elderly Indian whose life is almost over and whose people and land have been taken away. So he would naturally alter the story to make himself the hero and the white man the goofball. As long as you keep that in mind, everything makes perfect sense.

Anonymous said...

But if they are going to do a cheers remake, well, I don't wanna tell you how to run your show. But really, it's enough with the bar already. Seriously, have they though about changing the setting? Because people do meet in places besides a bar, huh? What about a rec room? Huh? Or a community center.

benson said...

Okay, please bear with a small rant. The mentions of Steve Martin reminded me of this. Why does Hollywood not understand unless Steve is playing wild and crazy guy, he needs to stay in character. Father of the Bride reboot. The scene with his wallet in the pool: That wasn't in character for the father. That was in character for Steve Martin. And it basically ruins the movie.

Paul Duca said...

The Mutt...Sherwood Schultz was interviewed some time before his passing and said if he did his signature shows today, one GILLIGAN'S ISLAND castaway would be black and another Hispanic (while THE BRADY BUNCH would be a mixed-race marriage and family).

Nat Gerter (sitcom room veteran) said...

In terms of recreating a TV series as another TV series for the same audience (as opposed to, say, US versions of British shows) that Cheers is an unlikely candidate to work. That's because some series are built on concepts, and some are built on settings. My Mother The Car is a concept, and it's all right in the title. ALF is a concept. But Cheers was more of a setting, a place that provided fertile ground for stories, and thus the texture of it came not from the idea mechanics, it came from the individual performances; either you end up with actors copying other actors, or you end up with something that is not Cheers. That Cheers survived the end of the Sam/Diane relationship that was its early engine was due to it being such a rich setting. My Mother The Car would not survive My Mother driving away.

But really, there are few sitcom remakes on TV to go off of. If we rule out things that are really continuations of the original series with the same cast (What's Happenin' Now, Still The Beaver, The New WKRP), what are we really left with? A couple stabs at the Munsters, The New Monkees, and The New Odd Couple are all that come to mind. (One could argue which camp Tabitha fell into.) We don't have enough samples to truly say what works.

Trost said...

Sherwood Schwartz favored Michael Cera as Gilligan in a big screen version of "Gilligan's Island."

jcs said...

YES MINISTER came back to TV in 2004 as THE THICK OF IT. Armando Iannucci (the man behind VEEP) wanted to create an updated version of the classic UK show and I think he succeeded. So sometimes I feel it is better to take an existing concept, adapt it and not affix the old label to it that comes with a lot of expectations.
By the way, SPAMALOT, a musical reincarnation of MP AND THE HOLY GRAIL, received a pretty decent review in the NYT if I remember correctly. Since there were no dominant characters with long backstories in the original film, it was probably a bit easier to meet the audience's expectations.

Daniel said...

The world does not need a Gilligan's Island reboot, but if they make one, anyway, Gilligan obviously needs to be played by Jack McBrayer.

Anonymous said...

Reboot Mary Tyler Moore. She's the WJM-TV station owner. Mary Lou Baxter [not Lou Mary] runs the newsroom. Cameos by all the living principal actors from the original.

Klee said...

I can see a reboot (which I'd probably hate anyway and would watch it only on DVD, but Hollywood has had crazier ideas!!).
with the following cast:

Diane-Reese Witherspoon
Sam - George Clooney
Rebecca- Jennifer Anniston
Carla - Parker Posey
Woody - Woody Harrelson
Norm - Jack Black
Cliff - Any British up and coming actor.
Lilith - Cristina Ricci
Special Appearances by Robert Downey Jr. as Frasier
with Ted Danson as the Coach

Jeff Brawer said...

I published a blog entry a few years back about the subject of role/specific actor admixtures. I'm sure that you have better things to do with your time, but if you're interested, it's located at:

I'm a great fan of your blog.

Jeff B
Brookline, MA

Gary Theroux said...

A reboot of "Cheers" would be possible but difficult – given the fact that recreating that same magical mix of deeply layered interacting character personas and first-rate comic and serial-story writing has never been duplicated anywhere (except on “Frasier”). Like “Frasier,” “Cheers” as one of the best constructed and executed sitcoms in television history – and if one thinks reincarnating a routine-level sitcom would be tough, trying to revive one of TV’s crown jewels of comedy would be – well, the kind of challenge I’d only trust to a team filled with creatives of Ken’s caliber. The fact that “Cheers” was produced so long ago brings up the same problem other producers had in trying to revive “Car 54,” “The Phil Silvers Show,” “McHale’s Navy,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Dobie Gillis,” etc.: they waited too darn long after the original series ended to try to reopen the same franchises with anything close to the magic created by the original casts, crews and writers. (One can sometimes bake an acceptable food item despite substituting some ingredients, but when you make too many changes or the wrong ones, your chocolate ├ęclairs will come out looking like Alpo.) Most of the original “Cheers” cast members who remain active are, look and act far older today than when they were stars – and if they resumed their old roles now they’d look like their parts were being played by their characters’ parents. In acting as in hit music, people tend to prefer the first versions of things they like over any remakes, which make revivals of anything seem not quite right to those who have the every nuance of the originals burned into their brains. In the case of “Cheers,” at least in my view, the way Shelley Long nuanced Diane would be the toughest characterization for another actress to master. The other roles would not be quite as tough for someone else to take over as long as the cast members chosen truly could recapture the essence of their character’s idiosyncrasies. So could “Cheers” be revived? Yes – but between it and its spinoff, I think “Frasier” would be a lot easier to reboot and would have a far better chance to catch on. “Frasier” continued the “Cheers” concept of not just producing a bunch of interchangeable standalone episodes which could be run in any order but instead serializing the plotlines, creating a new kind of sitcom/soap opera built upon continually evolving multiple parallel stories – at it worked both times. As Frasier” ended with the principals each going their own way not that long ago, maybe a revival of the show with the original cast could begin where the old series left off. What happened to Frasier once he moved to Chicago? How did Niles and Daphne’s marriage progress? Those skillfully written and performed scripts – just as the writing and acting on “Cheers” had previously – taught us to not only laugh at the sight gags and witty dialogue but genuinely CARE about the characters – flaws and all.

Dave said...

I got to see a stage production of When Harry Met Sally in London starring Luke Perry and Alyson Hannigan, and for the most part I thought it was a pretty good adaptation (he was a surprisingly good actor...her, not so much). It had a different feel than the movie of course, but it should. As long as the stage play doesn't try to copy/paste the TV show as if it's a live recording, I think it could work.

estiv said...

Off topic, Ken, but because you're a Natalie Wood fan...

Johnny Walker said...
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Johnny Walker said...

I'm amazed that nobody here has mentioned Battlestar Galactica. When the reboot of that show was announced, the hardcore fans went ballistic... Of course, thanks to a mixture of paying respect to the original whilst creating something brilliant, the reboot won everyone over.

That said, there's a wonderful thread that captures this fan reaction from start to end, preserved for all time on the Home Theater Forum.

Link: Battlestar Galactica remake: Time to weep openly

As the title suggests, it's unintentionally hilarious, but gets funnier. The first sentence sums it up perfectly: "THEY CHANGED THE FREAKING HELMETS!" Watching fans get overwrought can be funny anyway, but watching the haters slowly shut-up is even more funny.

The most ironic thing, however, is that several years after the reboot series ended, Bryan Singer announced a NEW reboot of Battlestar Galactica... and the fans started frothing all over again, this time being protective of the reboot, and apparently having learned nothing.

London Escorts 24/7 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tim Norton said...

A reboot might work for audiences too young to remember Cheers but for old line fans like me, doing Cheers again is unthinkable. Shelley Long and Ted Danson had chemistry you can't replicate and they completely defined two unforgettable characters.

I heard of a remake for television being produced in Ireland. Is that true? Is there such a thing as loving a show too much and even feeling protective of its legacy? Guilty as charged.

Tim Norton said...

Here's a completely unhinged idea. If there was a Cheers remake, I wonder how Shelley's daughter, Juliana Tyson, would handle the role. She's the right age and it would be fun to see what she did with it.

Anonymous said...

I just found this blog because I'm a big fan of 80's-2000's TV, and with talk about bringing back Law & Order, the thought of doing the same with Cheers crossed my mind.

My thought is, let Woody come back and own the bar. Norm and Cliff could still be there and Sam could come back (with his white hair, it would be weird!) and visit but you'd have to have some new actors that people could love and transition into. The key would be bringing back the set albeit with some new things on the walls.

For new actors, I wouldn't go famous but but new actors who aren't as known now but would make great subjects for a new cheers cast.

What would be really fun is if it could be launched on TNt and you could have crossovers from the cast of Rizzoli & Isles. :)