Do we need a sequel to “Saved by the Bell”? A reboot of “Battlestar Galactica”? A reimagining of “Hogan’s Heroes” — a 1960s sitcom set in a Nazi prison-of-war camp? No, no and no.
And yet the first two are a go, and the third is reportedly under consideration. Because, apparently, the hottest idea in TV is old ideas.
Also on the upcoming remakes/reboots/revivals list are “Amazing Stories” (Apple Plus), “Animaniacs” (Hulu), “The Boondocks” (HBO Max), “Conan the Barbarian” (Amazon), “The Fugitive” (Quibi), “Lizzie McGuire" (Disney+), “Mad About You” (Spectrum cable), “Nash Bridges” (USA), “Gossip Girl” (HBO Max), “Party of Five” (Freeform), “Punky Brewster” (Peacock) and “Rugrats” (Nickelodeon).
By the way, Quibi and Peacock are new streaming services set to launch in April 2020. Peacock is the recently announced name of NBCUniversal/Comcast’s streamer; it will also be home to the totally unnecessary “Galactica” reboot.
C’mon, Syfy’s 2003-09 reboot made sense. The original 1978-79 “BG” was a failed hot mess, and the reboot was great. But that reboot doesn’t need rebooting.
I suppose you could argue that there’s some merit in trying to make something good out of “Saved by the Bell,” but it’s hard to imagine how given the description: “When California Governor Zack Morris gets into hot water for closing too many low-income high schools, he proposes they send the affected students to the highest performing schools in the state — including Bayside High. The influx of new students gives the over privileged Bayside kids a much needed and hilarious dose of reality.”
My favorite tweet of the week came from Jeff Yang: “ ‘The hilarious new school integration comedy from the network that almost brought you Shane Gillis’ is not a particularly convincing tagline.” (“Saturday Night Live” hired and then quickly fired Gillis when it discovered his act and podcast were filled with racism and homophobia.)
Still, I’ve learned to reserve judgment until I actually see a show. Sometimes terrible-sounding ideas turn out to be great TV — like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
But it’s hard not to prejudge the “Hogan’s Heroes” reboot, which Deadline reported will be set in the present day and focus “on the descendants of the original heroes, now scattered around the world, who team up for a global treasure hunt.” Seriously?
Remakes/reboots/revivals are not automatically bad things. Does anyone complain about remounting 400-year-old Shakespeare plays? And returning to old favorites or reworking an old idea sometimes works.
I’ve seen the first episode of the made-in-Utah “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” — which will start streaming in November on Disney+ — and I liked it.
But here’s the bottom line. In a world where all the broadcast and cable channels are being joined by streaming services — with Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max and Peacock joining Amazon, CBS All Access, Hulu and Netflix — there really aren’t enough good ideas to go around. And streaming services have a voracious appetite for programming to get you to sign on and pay up.
So we’re going to add to the list of remakes/reboots/revivals that currently includes “American Idol,” “Charmed,” “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” “The Conners,” “Dynasty,” “Fuller House,” “Jersey Shore,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “Last Man Standing,” “MacGyver,” “Magnum P.I.,” “One Day at a Time,” “Queer Eye,” “Raven’s Home,” “Roswell, New Mexico,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” “S.W.A.T.,” “Trading Spaces,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Veronica Mars” and “Will & Grace.” They’ll soon be joined by “Kids Say the Darndest Things, “Nancy Drew” and “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”
And among the shows in development — or, at least, under consideration — are “Alf,” “Bewitched,” “Designing Women,” “Frasier,” “The Jetsons,” “Night Gallery,” “Northern Exposure,” “The Office,” “Queer as Folk” and “Sister, Sister.”
I’ll admit I was kind of excited to hear that The CW has ordered a pilot script for a “Dark Shadows” reboot. “Hogan’s Heroes,” not so much.