Thursday, January 19, 2017

Reboots are made for walking

One downside to having so many networks and so many shows is that audiences can’t keep up with all the product that’s out there. (Not that they’re making that big an effort to do so.) All these titles sound interchangeable and genres are so blurred that you don’t even know what you’re watching while you’re watching it.

To combat this, the networks are leaning towards known franchises. At least they have some recognition. You may not know what HIGH MAINTENANCE is but you have heard of 24.

So this is the year of reboots.

24 is back but with a different lead character. Still, it’s the same format where the star kills many people and never once goes to the bathroom.

A lot of shows are coming back with original casts. WILL & GRACE just officially announced its return. Up first is PRISON BREAK. (I think there may be budget problems because this time they break out of the Disneyland lock-up.) Last year the X-FILES returned and might return again as the FBI is currently investigating the election being hacked by Martians. And TWIN PEAKS will be back. The ghost of Laura Palmer steals the log lady’s log. FULLER HOUSE is a hit on Netflix. And they keep saying ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT is returning for another season, but I think we’ll see that when Mexico builds that wall.

Netflix also has ONE DAY AT A TIME, but with a Latino cast. It’s really a reboot of CRISTELA.

And of course there are the game show reboots. MATCH GAME with Alec Baldwin is kinda fun, PYRAMID is okay, but TO TELL THE TRUTH is sacrilegious.

In the pipeline, LIVING SINGLE is being given CPR. There was a TV version of FATAL ATTRACTION, but I understand that is now dead. (What was the format of that show – she boils a different rabbit every week?) And there may be a new TV movie version of BEACHES with Idina Menzel in the Bette Midler role.  Finally!

Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for that call from a network wanting desperately to reboot BIG WAVE DAVE’S.

With all these re-boots I’m reminded of the great line by Billy Wilder. When asked about remaking one of his classic films he said, “I don’t understand. Why remake movies that work? Remake movies that didn’t work and fix them.”

Oh God, what if someone wants to try AfterMASH again? 

28 comments :

Peter said...

"Remake movies that didn’t work and fix them."

I've always felt Dude Where's My Car? had a lot more potential than what ended up on screen.

I am beyond excited for the return of TWIN PEAKS. For me it's a bigger cultural event than even the return of STAR WARS and the upcoming BLADE RUNNER sequel. The original series ended on an incredible cliffhanger that wasn't resolved because the show got cancelled. Now, 26 years later, we're finally going to see the conclusion!!! David Lynch rules!

Stephen Marks said...

Best title for a post you'll write all year and it's only 1/19

Mike said...

Wot - no review of the People's Choice Awards?

YEKIMI said...

A Friday question: If you had a chance to reboot any of your shows would you reboot with the same cast [providing they wanted to do it and were not tied up with another project] or would you go with a new cast or a mix of new and old cast members?

Gary West said...

Rarely do I watch network TV, but someone had "To Tell The Truth" on the other day. What's with the end-of-show tweet?? The celebrity that scores the least, gets an unflattering tweet sent out by the host of the show. And, viewers are then encouraged to re-tweet the message.
What in the world? This is entertainment? Bud Collyer must be rolling over.

Boomska316 said...

I live in fear that some exec somewhere will get it into their head to try rebooting MASH or Cheers.

Michael said...

Gary West, Bud Collyer AND Garry Moore are doing backflips in the sod.

Michael said...

Friday question: Do you have any recommendations on cast size for new shows being developed? One of the many problems I had with KEVIN CAN WAIT in the two episodes I watched is there were too many characters with little screen time to develop, which I thought was surprising because Kevin James had success with KING OF QUEENS which had much smaller cast.

DARON72 said...

Ken, I completely agree with your thoughts on the game show reboots. Don't even get me started on Family Feud with Steve Harvey. I definitely wouldn't let my entire family watch it. It's just too filthy now.

Mike Doran said...

Re To Tell The Truth:

To the Post-Interment Olympiad, add Tom Poston, Peggy Cass, Kitty Carlisle, Polly Bergen, Joe Garagiola, Gene Rayburn, Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson, Robert Q. Lewis et al....

... not to mention Bob Stewart, Bill Todman, and (oh yes) Mark Goodson ...

Who was the originator of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" - and where is he now when we really need him?

Chris said...

All I can say about "To Tell the Truth" is that watching Anthony Anderson on it turned me off of "Black-ish." Seriously.

Bill Avena said...

I don't understand the reboot thing. Is it like "pre-owned"? When I read 'ONE DAY AT A TIME reboot' I thought, the networks are at the point in the expedition where they're boiling shoe leather for meat and rotting of scurvy.

Andy Rose said...

Anthony Anderson is easily the weakest part of To Tell the Truth. Other than that, I think the new version is okay. It was a little jarring at first that they seem to encourage the panelists to actively razz bad lying during the questioning. In previous versions, even when one of the fakes got obviously tripped up, nobody would comment on it until the panelists' guesses were revealed.

Although they're not as good as the originals, I much prefer these game show revivals to the attempts at brand-new prime-time game shows. For a while, everyone was trying to rip-off Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Now, everybody's trying to be Deal or No Deal, which means not only overdone production values, but also amped-up, unreal contestants and nonstop delays and fakeouts. This new series The Wall sounds vaguely interesting just from a description of the game, but I haven't even bothered to tune in. I can tell from the promos it's from the DoND school and would be torture to watch.

VP81955 said...

Why do TV and movies reboot? Because it's so much easier than actually thinking.

Steve Lanzi (formerly known as qdpsteve) said...

Hi again Ken. At this stage, I'm willing to bet money a reboot of M*A*S*H will definitely come up. (Most likely after Alan Alda has passed from this earth, alas).

So which new actors could play the parts? I've been watching late-night reruns on TV Land of "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and IMHO Clark Gregg would be fantastic as Frank Burns, as he has yuge comedy talent and even looks a bit like the great Larry Linville. Not sure who else would be there though... Jon Hamm as Hawkeye, perhaps? Or would he be too 'neat' for the role? Or maybe Jack Black...

Craig Russell said...

Another Reboot I just saw today thats in the pipeline....

The Gong Show.

Produced by and "starring" Will Arnett.

I'm sorry.

Donald Benson said...

I still hold that AFTERMASH was a very viable idea. The problem was that MASH lasted until Vietnam was essentially over and veterans were effectively swept under the rug ... except for politicians who took momentary interest when they needed somebody to throw at opponents. And for action film stars.

Today it might be set in the 70s, using the post-Nam period to make commentary on current veteran issues a bit safer. Or it could be set in the present.

Donald Benson said...

MR. SMITH could be rebooted right now. As a docudrama.

D. McEwan said...

"Oh God, what if someone wants to try AfterMASH again"

I don't think you need to lie awake nights worrying about that.

I certainly agree that, of the recent game show revivals, most are fun, but To Tell The Truth has been badly botched, a case of "Fixing" what ain't broke. (Hint, if your mother is a non-pro and you think she's funny at Thanksgiving, nonetheless, DO NOT PUT HER ON YOUR SHOW!)

I am eagerly looking forward to the revival of Twin Peaks, and in preparation, am rewatching the entire original series and the one movie. (I have the Blu-Ray set), which also means I've been again enjoying Miquel Ferrar's hilariously caustic performances on it. I hope his role in the revival got shot in time.

Of course, sometimes they work. The revival of Doctor Who, now in its 13th year, is one of the very best shows on TV, and actually an improvement on the original series, and I loved the original.

Now what do we call something like Sherlock, or the show that rips it off not nearly as well, Elementary? There have been many, many TV series about Sherlock Holmes, going all the way back to 1953. Are they reboots? Revivals? Retries? What? Same question applies to all the Superman series.

John W. said...

So "One Day At A Time" is a reboot of Christela because...that's the only other recent sitcom with a Latin American cast?

Not only is that a deeply hacky joke that is beneath you, but it's borderline racist, too. Ken, you're much better than that.

MikeN said...

Andy Rose, I'm convinced those are actors on The Wall.

DJ McEwan don't forget to watch the episode of Psych with the chocolate festival. I'm guessing 80% of the audience was confused.

Ken Levine said...

John W.

AND it has the same basic premise and very similar characters. But today of course, if anyone makes any comment that even remotely hints at diversity in a non super positive way, it's racist. God help comedy.

David Peterson said...

Don't forget about the new series' based on the Rush Hour and Lethal Weapon movies...

Barry Traylor said...

I don't even bother to watch any reboots. If I like the original why bother with a reboot and if it was a show I did not like I doubt I'd enjoy a reboot.

Anon said...

Same basic premise?
They're both family comedies - but other than that, no, they don't have the same premise at all.

David G. said...

Y'know, an "AfterMASH" re-do might be kind of interesting if done as a maybe a 9-episode limited series, with each episode focusing on just one character at some point after the Korean War, and with younger actors playing those characters. Maybe toss in some time jumps that could also connect things in some way ... "Best Years of Our Lives" meets "This Is Us." (Not sure if I avoided having this sound like a parody of a network pitch session...)

MikeN said...

John W, so now racist is defined down to noticing people's race? Is it also racist to call Obama the first black President?

Betty said...

You're too hard on AfterMASH. I enjoyed it, although I did feel guilty that it was mostly funny because of the new characters that were added, not because of the carry-over characters that we loved.