As television evolves in front of our very eyes, it’s exciting to see the kind of material that’s being turned into new shows. The internet has helped lead to previously unthinkable concepts such as Youtube, Netflix, and Hulu becoming powerhouses within the entertainment world. And as the services each vie to create bigger and better shows, all kinds of ideas are being thrown around. Books, old shows, movies, even video games are being turned into television series. And while some of them are finding ways to already sound unique and distinct from the modern day (like the upcoming Netflix reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch which will embrace some scarier imagery to become more of a horror series than its predecessor). And others really shouldn’t be on the docket.
Some of them are incredibly ambitious ideas that, due to the source material’s fame and notoriety, remove any tension or excitement from the series. Some shows are being brought back that we have (or at least, should have) moved past on as a society. Some shows are going to try draw out self-contained works to the point that they lose their effectiveness, while others are trying to turn boring and forgettable series into something better – when they probably could have just made a new show out of it. For whatever reason, shows like Fuller House have given people the belief that these reboots are a good idea. But make no mistake, these classic television shows and films should not be getting a television reboot.
Back when CW was just the WB Channel and before they had the sheer confidence to have four interlocking superhero shows, they were more withdrawn with their fantasy shows. They had to have a tangible connection to reality. Think Angel having to help fight street crime in the show that had his name. Charmed was another example of this, a supernatural drama about three sisters uniting to fight off evil wizards and monster in modern day (well, 1998) San Francisco. The show became a quick cult favorite, and helped push actresses like Shannen Doherty, Alyssa Milano, and Rose McGowan into the forefront. Like other shows of the time (like Buffy and Angel), there’s an inherent but embraced cheesiness to the series. The effects are dated and the styles even more so, but there’s a sincerity to the characters and world that generates super fans. In 2017, it was announced that the show was being rebooted. And even with the better effects that advancements in CGI have brought, it’s going to be tricky to match the charm of the original show. It would have been better to focus on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina instead of handing it off to Netflix.
14 The Office
Look, The Office has come and gone, and that’s fine. The series, which helped propel actors like Steve Carell and Rainn Wilson into higher profile careers, was a comedic touchstone for most of America after being adapted by the British series starring Ricky Gervais. The sitcom about the men and women working at a paper company resonated with audiences, and the characters became instant favorites. It also helped push cringe humor and mockumentaries forward as the premiere style of comedy for a time, and luckily we’ve escaped it and moved on. But now an Office sequel spin-off is coming, and people are not happy about it. No one wants to see the sad lives that the main cast have found themselves in now, and instead would prefer that they lead the happy lives the finale implies for everyone. And for people who don’t care for that comedic style, this show coming back threatens the return of that mockumentary style. Please, just let this show be the comedy icon everyone remembers it as, and don’t try to bring it back for diminishing returns.
13 The Jetsons
The Jetsons was the counterpoint to The Flintstones, and an attempt by Hanna-Barbara to milk the “animated sitcom” idea for as much as they could. The Jetsons are an average family living in a technologically advanced world, where spaceships fill the sky and robots are everywhere. At the core of the cartoon is a real sense of optimism and wonder with the futuristic age. It’s a place where life hasn’t changed all too much (with school drama and relationship issues taking up most of the main character’s time) while the future has become something new and exciting. It’s a sweet show more than a deep one – and not the kind of show that’s going to translate well to modern audiences. The age we’re in now, full of dystopia fiction and apocalyptic threats even in our day to day real life, doesn’t meet the fantasy that The Jetsons tried to visualize, and it would feel forced to see them darkened in an attempt to sell the show to new audiences.
12 Miami Vice
Miami Vice should have been a warning of trying to reboot everything that you can think of. The original series was a smash in the 1980s, and centered around two detectives fighting against the criminal element that had filled Miami. Michael Mann tried to resurrect the series as a major movie in 2006, starring Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell. The attempt to modernize the story and setting was a stylish but boring mess, and was almost pathetic in a sense. It was an uninspired crime story that had names from an old show stapled on, and the whole experience was lacking. What made the original Miami Vice work was the charm and time period. There’s no special strength to the franchise or the characters, so trying to expand them is flawed from the get-go, which is exactly what a reboot of this show is going to feel like.
11 King Of The Hill
Created by Mike Judge, the animated series about a Texan family trying to survive in suburbia became a consistent success for Fox as the follow-up show to The Simpsons for thirteen seasons. It was a solid show that was willing to explore some heavy topics. But the thing is that the show is very much a time capsule of its era. It was created at a time when the world was getting progressively more and more different from the world we knew. It’s very much set in a version of America that was at the turn of the century, and the impact that the new version of America had on the old. On a sadder note, one of the principal characters, Luanne Platter, was voiced by Brittany Murphy. Murphy passed away from pneumonia in 2009 (the same year the show ended), and the series would feel her absence. It was a fine show, but it shouldn’t be brought back anytime soon.
10 Clarissa Explains It All
Melissa Joan Hart's big break came with one of the earliest Nickelodeon shows, Clarissa Explains It All. The show was a sitcom about a teen girl, her family, and her best friend. Clarissa was a light and fun show, becoming a major hit for the network and helping lead Melissa Joan Hart to becoming a TV star with Sabrina the Teenage Witch. But recent rumblings have indicated that the show is preparing for a return to screens. But the thing is that this isn’t the first time this has been attempted. A spin-off series following an older Clarissa interning at a newspaper was explored in 1995, but never managed to get past the pilot stage. In 2015, the creator of the show released a novel that served as a spiritual successor to the original show, but that also failed to really grab anyone’s attention. There’s clearly not enough material that works to keep the story going, so it doesn’t make sense to bring it back to the screen now either.
9 My Super Sweet 16
MTV gradually left behind its music roots in the earlier years of the network, before spiralling into almost a completely reality-based lineup of shows. There were more than a few that didn’t exactly look great for humanity as a whole (looking at you, Jersey Shore), but one of the absolute worst was My Super Sweet 16. The show followed the birthday bashes that wealthy families throw for their daughters, and if they can ever match the impossible standards of some of the girls. It was a show that highlighted bratty behavior instead of commenting on it, and generally gave everyone a very depressing glimpse into the next generation. So, seriously, why are they bringing it back? In the YouTube and Instagram age, we already have plenty of spoiled teenagers yelling at a screen. MTV shouldn’t waste time and money trying to compete, especially when it’s something fundamentally mean like this show.
8 Sweet Valley High
There was a span of time in the late 1980s and the early 1990s when television screens were primarily filled with teen-centric sitcoms. Saved by the Bell, the aforementioned Clarissa Explains It All, and a whole host of other shows blended together and disappeared from memory in the long run. And just one of those many, many series was Sweet Valley High. The show, based off a popular book series, centered on twins in a fictitious California town, Elizabeth and Jessica. One was a popular it girl and the other was mischievous, and they got into misadventures. That was basically the whole thing. It was never able to really become a staple in the way that stuff like Full House, and quietly went off the air after four years. But who exactly is asking for a revival? The show is a painfully average show, and there’s nothing about it that screams for a new season.
Alright, so take everything wrong with My Sweet 16, and make it infinitely worse. Bridezilla follows women who are highly stressed while trying to put on a wedding, becoming “bridezillas” as a result. It always felt exploitative, in the same way as My Sweet 16, taking the anxieties of people during a typically enjoyable experience and getting laughs from their internal and personal problems. But the show never finds the happiness or joy coming from the event. No, the series almost exclusively focuses on the stuff that will embarrass the couple the most. Tantrums, mistakes, and old tensions are the only parts of the wedding that the show actually has any interest in. It’s an ugly show, even just in the premise. And it’s depressing to see that it’s making a comeback. We should be better than this.
A dark comedy starring Winona Ryder and a young Christian Slater as the craziest “hot rebel” character in the history of film, Heathers was an underappreciated comic masterpiece. It’s unbelievably dark, centering around the relationship that high schooler Veronica has with both the most popular clique in school (the Heathers) and her new psycho boyfriend, JD. And trust me, there are plenty of people that drop throughout the story. The material itself is really strong, but perfect for the more contained nature of being a movie. None of the other characters have the kind of depth or interesting qualities that are worth expanding and exploring in a television series. And the events of the movie, self-contained as it is, are going to be all that anyone can really wait for. It’s like with Bates Motel, which didn’t really gain steam until the final season when it finally adapted the events of the infinitely more famous movie, Psycho. There’s no reason to waste a perfectly good movie by trying to expand it into something it isn’t.
5 Lord Of The Rings
With Game of Thrones ending in 2019, Amazon is desperate to grab that suddenly fantasy-starved audience. And to that end, the company made a huge investment when they acquired the rights to make a Lord of the Rings television series. It’s still in the early stages of development, but trying to adapt a beloved book trilogy that was turned into one of the biggest movie events in history seems kind of like an uphill battle. Everyone has seen the movies (like, literally, almost every person on the planet has seen those movies, if the box office receipts are to be believed), and knows how they go. To an extent, the show won’t have the excitement of even something like Game of Thrones, whose books were well-known in literature circles but not in popular culture until the HBO series became a cultural phenomenon. There’s no tension if you know how the story ends, so implicitly knowing that characters like Aragorn, Frodo, and Gandalf always make it out of trouble makes the show more boring. Amazon is seeking to alleviate some of those issues by setting a good portion of the show before the events of the main trilogy. But did we not learn anything from the Star Wars prequels. Lord of the Rings was expertly adapted not long ago. Let it lie, Amazon.
4 The West Wing
Created by Aaron Sorkin, The West Wing was a prestige series that managed to engage America in a way that it hadn’t before. The series, which followed the fictional presidency of Josiah Bartlet, showed the ins-and-outs of politics in a way that few shows ever had before or since. And Sorkin’s writing was at his peak, belting out classic and memorable episodes left and right. But West Wing doesn’t feel in tune with the current political atmosphere, to be honest. It’s a romanticized vision of the strong, smart people who lead our nation. And no matter what side of the political divide you find yourself on, current politics are much less dignified and more personable than ever. And the last time Sorkin tried to give us his dream political analysis in that era, we got the regularly insulting and pretentious Newsroom. And no one needs that again.
3 The Departed
The movie that finally got Martin Scorsese his Oscar for best director, The Departed was an incredibly engaging and exciting crime drama about two moles – a cop posing as a gangster and a mob rat working as a cop – all wrapped up around Jack Nicholson as the absolutely bonkers crime kingpin, Frank Costello. It’s a fantastic movie, bolstered by amazing performances from the entire cast of distinct and memorable characters. And for some reason, we’re trying to mess with perfection and draw the show out. Like Heathers, this film works best as a self-contained entity, moving at a deliberate and specific pace. And by drawing the events of the show out, the lack of tension (a lot of people have seen this movie and know how it’s all going to play out in the end) will just slow everything down even more. There’s no reason to try and force this into a show, but that’s the kind of time we live in for television.
2 Lost In Space
Lost in Space was part of the generation that gave us sci-fi classics like Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. The show brought family dynamics to the cosmos, and followed the Robinson family while they explored the universe alongside the duplicitous Dr. Smith and their just (unbelievably corny) robot assistant, known as The Robot. The show is actually interesting to consider as a rebooted franchise, playing more like Orville than Star Trek. And seeing a family dynamic from this day and age exploring the cosmos after being set adrift could be a lot of fun. But at the core of the original show’s charm was the cast. Johnathan Harris, initially intended as a short-lived villain in the show, quickly became a big deal for the series with his over-the-top performance as the cowardly Dr. Smith. It would all be dependent on the cast in the reboot to make it work at all, and even then the sheer number of campy elements in the series would be difficult to translate to modern times, especially the Robot. This is a show that deserves to stay in its original era instead of being brought back out.
1 The Honeymooners
The Honeymooners was, historically speaking, one of the most important shows to hit screens in the early years of television. The family sitcom as a show can be traced back pretty heavily to this series, which centered around two married couples and their relationships. But the thing with the Honeymooners is that, well, it has not aged well. The series is extremely casual with its depiction of terrible relationships between spouses, to the point that the main character threatening to hurt his wife is a catchphrase. The politics of the premise don’t work in the current climate, and that kind of mean-spirited strife is at the core of the entire Honeymooners show. It’s not the kind of series you ever really want to see make a return.
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