With all of the hype over the big screen revival of the 1990’s classic Power Rangers appearing in theaters this past Friday, the world is abuzz with nostalgia once again. There is nothing like remembering the good ol’ days when it comes to television and the 90s were ripe with beautiful stories, fluid plot lines, colorful characters, and boundless potential. This is why Hollywood continues to grab as much grunge age content as they can and turn it into profit.
However not every show was gold or would make a good movie. Some shows should just simply stay in that creative graveyard we call show cancellation. We can see from the irredeemable flop that was The X-Files: I Want To Believe, not every show can produce a perfect culmination of nuanced nostalgia and modern adaptation. But what makes that difference between cinema masterpiece and disregarded flop? What are they key factors that allow for these essential goldmines of revenue to produce to take either turn? Well my friends, these questions I do not think can be answered by a simple over arching statement, but I do think we can break them down, show by show, and try to see which shows might be able to succeed and which shows should stay gone forever.
Seeing our familiar Mighty Morphin’ heroes once again makes you wonder what other classic 90s television shows deserve their time on the big screen. Well wonder no more, because here are the shows that definitely DO and DO NOT need their spot in the sun.
15. Friends – NO
The feel-good sitcom era, while staying above water with shows like Modern Family, is slowly drowning. Some could argue that what the genre needs is a nice blast from the past with a brief silver screen visit from its captain. But fans would not appreciate a return from the antics of our favorite mid-90s yuppies. We as a viewing audience are content with the tied knots of the story. I would not put it past whichever screenwriters grab hold of the script to tap into some of that famous Friends drama we know and love. However, the same tired antics would feel tired and exhausted out as they did in the later seasons. Plus not to mention how much of a nightmare it would be to get the entire gang back together for however long it would take to film. They couldn’t even all reunite for one day, how would they be able to do it for months?
14. Seinfeld – YES
It’s all about the nothing, and that is what made (and could once again make) Seinfeld so great. This show was treasured not for the plotlines that were created, but the intense mundanity of the episodes. How they played with the traditional sitcom theory and turned it on its head with a level of cynicism was pure genius and is just what this generation needs. Think about it: A Movie About Nothing. It’s so simple, but so complex at the same time. Now the question is not if it should happen, but when. I’m sure Jerry Seinfeld could quit driving comedians around in those fancy cars to give it a whirl, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus hasn’t aged at all so she should be fine with the adaptation. The real question is how long would it take to blow the Michael Richards scandal over? Maybe another ten years.
13. Full House – NO
I feel like I should not have to explain why this would be a terrible idea. We’ve gone over sitcoms several times in this article, so I’ll spare you those reasons, but try to imagine the most milk-toast show ever to grace daytime television being turned into a movie. You can’t. And you shouldn’t. The thought of one of those linear feel-good episodes being expanded for two hours is exhausting. They have already tried once to reboot the series into another teeth-grinding iteration of what it used to be; any other attempts to do so could be ruled as cruel and unusual punishment and tried in a federal court of law.
12. Gargoyles – YES
This one might come as a surprise to some. Why should Gargoyles, one of the more obscure 90’s cartoons make an appearance in a theatre near you? Well, Skeptical Sally, allow me to tell you. For those of you who don’t know, Gargoyles is a show about ancient mythical gargoyles who are frozen in stone and transported to New York City where they emerge and become night-time crusaders of evil. Think Batman, but with a badass mythical backstory.
The reason Gargoyles graces this list is largely due to its originality. Very seldom are the topics of gargoyles covered in cinema, you just rarely see it. Many walking within the confines of a city have gazed upon the building defenders and wondered what their purpose is. Gargoyles not only gives them a purpose, but also an exciting mythological feel as well. This series is rich with blockbuster potential and could easy corner the magical market.
11. Dinosaurs – NO
There is nothing in this world that could make the cut and dry structure of the classic family sitcom worse. Well, maybe anthropomorphic talking dinosaurs. This four season long train wreck of a television show came in at the height of the modern sitcom and was an attempt to move away from the genre with their specific quirk that ended up making the audience more uncomfortable than warm and cozy. The puppets used in the show, while akin to the friendly Muppets, create an uneasiness in the pit of your stomach that stays with you longer than a bad chicken burrito.
There are nights when I simply cannot fall asleep because every time I close my eyes I see Baby Sinclair’s pale pink face reflected on the back of my eyelids. If anyone finds a mosquito in amber carrying the DNA of these dinosaurs, they should squash it immediately because this show should stay extinct.
10. Are You Afraid Of The Dark? – YES
A pioneer in the horror genre, Are You Afraid of the Dark? should absolutely be brought to the big screen and soon. Nothing like a cult-like society meeting in the dead of night to scare the poop out each other to be the perfect setup for a classic 21st century horror movie. Imagine a series of mini-horror films piloted through a larger plot line that strings it all together, and no not V/H/S. I’m talking about a horror film with real production quality.
The mystical quality of The Midnight Society mixed with the childhood suspension of disbelief lead to the perfect combination of dread that lead to more soiled underwear than a John Mayer concert. And how many modern day horror films are directed at children or younger teenagers? Very few. It’s a niche movie for a large crowd, and the setup is already there. Where is Jordan Peele, let’s get him in on this!
9. The Tick – NO
While superheroes are at the pinnacle of popularity (and really have been for half a decade) there are some lines that need to be drawn (full comic pun intended). And this is one that should be drawn firmly and boldly. Every time any iteration of The Tick has come to surface, it has had a shorter life span than most hamsters.
The satire laden bumbling bug would feel out of place in the current market of the superhero smash hits. Deadpool has already staked its claim as the premiere parody of this generation, anything less then stellar would simply fall short of what is needed to succeed. Who needs a blue suited buffoon when you have the bad-ass merc with the mouth to slash his way into your heart. You can choose to spin it however you want, the likelihood that any Tick would grow on an audience would be much higher in the woods than in the theaters.
8. Freaks and Geeks – YES
You’re telling me that a show that began the careers of comedy icons James Franco, Jason Segel, and Seth Rogen is not worth a reboot? Not only was the storytelling in this angsty teenage classic on point, but with the creative minds of these comedic giants now, there is no telling how it could turn out today. Think of this for the plot: the Freaks and Geeks all grown up. It would be a perfect retelling as you can see how the story progressed with these kids after they left it off and how their kids would be functioning in today’s society.
It would be like that new American Pie movie but instead of a sad rehash of the events from the original, the movie would be an expansion of the plot. And even more interesting than the characters we know and love would be their children and their role in today’s teenage society.
7. Dexter’s Laboratory – NO
Today’s cartoons are weird. I’m not the first to say it and I won’t be the last. With shows like Steven Universe and Adventure Time, the of cartoons of today have progressively been distancing themselves from reality. But when you look back that has always been true. Cartoons of any generation play to the farthest reaches of our mind where the crazy and the wild imagination sits.
So why can’t a zany show about a boy genius who uses his labORatory to craft useful inventions make a big screen comeback? Well, though this show has a treasured place in our hearts, it falls victim to the age old cartoon system: it follows a structure too rigidly. It is trapped within a format that is hard to deviate from. And today’s audiences have seen it and are tired with it. For the movie to do anything other than that traditional Dexter-makes-an-invention-that-solves-or-starts-a-problem structure would be criminal to its television originator. This is the sad fate of many cartoon-to-movie examples and one that is not easily broken.
6. Xena: Warrior Princess – YES
I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for down to business female protagonists. But regardless of my personal bias, Xena: Warrior Princess definitely deserves its place due to the “blockbusterability” of the premise. This show is absolutely blockbuster material. With all the superhero hype that is going on, this show would lead in the audiences with the similar concept, but leave them with a vastly different taste that would set this show apart from the rest.
The challenge to the filmmakers would be which of the show’s many characters and antagonists to feature. The gift of a wide creative universe is both a blessing and a curse for filmmakers as you are given much to play with.
5. Captain Planet – NO
Captain Planet was great for what it did, teach children about compassion and diversity through colorful adventures and do-goodism. But does it have a place in cinema? Absolutely not. Captain Planet feels like something your mom would make up to convince you to take out the recycling. I mean there is a villain called “Hoggish Greedly” who is all about greed. I can see a mother telling her children that they should not be too greedy or they will end up like Hoggish. And don’t even get me started about the powers that this show has. I mean most of the powers are fine but the power of heart? HEART?! That superhero far surpasses The Tick on the lame scale. Needless to say, it would fall far short with the epic super tales of today.
4. The Magic School Bus – YES
Kids just simply do not have it as good these days. Sure they have the internet at their disposal but what does that really do other than distract you from what your day to day really is. Magic School Bus truly did something, well, magical. It made school fun. It made the daily child grind of going to class for six hours a day that much more bearable. After watching the water cycle episode, I actually became interested in science for the first time. That is a power that you can’t find on Twitter or instagram.
Now there is a Netflix reboot for the television show that has been announced, but with today’s CGI technology I believe a live action movie made for children should not be far behind. You have not lived until you see a school bus shrink down to the size of a bacteria and travel inside a human being. Now imagine that on IMAX 3D. Time to strap in your seat belts everyone and go on the ride of your life.
3. Frasier – NO
Frasier has a very niche audience. The dry wit of the show is cognitively above that of the regular sitcom, but still does not easily fall into the laps of the general audience. You just do not see dry comedy showing its cynical face in cinema anymore. All the comedies that come about are very sensationalized, over-dramatic and quick paced. Watching Frasier is like drinking a cup of earl grey tea, it’s nice when you’re old or sick but any other time it just seems out of place. And you definitely do not do it at the movies.
Now because dry humor is not traditionally seen in cinema, there is an opening for a well done dry comedy to take the stage. But it should happen almost by surprise, or as it is referred to in the comedic world, by a classic misdirection.
2. Buffy The Vampire Slayer – YES
I know what you’re thinking. Buffy The Vampire Slayer started as a movie, so why would they make another one? Well the answer is easy; Joss Whedon did not direct the first Buffy movie. That was what made the series great! And now Joss has much more clout with the film industry that he could definitely make it a box office hit! This series far surpasses any vampire related popular culture material that has shown up within the past several decades. And it was more successful too, not because they cast models where they should cast actors (*cough cough* Vampire Diaries *cough cough*) but because they created a wide variety of three-dimensional characters, well thought out plot lines, character arcs for days, and an amazing premise to tie it all together. And, like I said earlier, I’m a sucker for those strong female protagonists.
1. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – NO
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was as close to perfect as a sitcom from the 90’s could get, so why should it not be reincarnated? There would be no Uncle Phil. The tragic passing of James Avery left a patriarchal hole in all of our hearts as we grew up with the stern, yet caring, hand of his television presence. He was the clear foil to Will Smith‘s zany antics and created the right amount of contrast that was organic and so well done, there were times we forgot it was a comedy.
Not to mention we would probably have to see Jaden Smith in the movie and after watching After Earth, I’m not sure my eyes could take that kind of abuse again.
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