Tue Mar 15 11:03:00 EDT 2016
In case you haven’t noticed, what we watch and how we watch it is changing. Filmmakers are headed toward TV en masse; movie franchises like Marvel, “Transformers,” and “Star Wars” are adopting long-form serial formats and even television-style writers’ rooms; and as storytellers, directors, producers, writers and innovators begin to work in both mediums, taking the best ideas of both worlds with them, their defining boundaries are starting to blur.
In recent years, many have claimed that TV is where the best creative work is happening. Shows like “Breaking Bad,” “Game Of Thrones,” “The Walking Dead” and “Empire” have captured the public imagination in ways that few movies can rival, and we’ve all found that, with more and more outlets producing scripted shows, there’s more and more great television being made. But this creative renaissance could be under threat, and it’s thanks to networks taking a page from movie studios and developing more and more reboots of pre-existing properties.
Reviving an old TV favorite is nothing new. Beloved cop show “Dragnet” was brought back in 1967, eight years after its original run ended (further reboots aired in 1989 and 2003). “Mission: Impossible,” “Perry Mason” and “The Odd Couple” all returned to television in the 1970s and 1980s, to name but a few. But it might have been “Battlestar Galactica” that started to put the small-screen reboot on trend. Just as “Batman Begins” and “Casino Royale” provided models for the cinematic redo, this widely acclaimed remake of a low-rent 1970s sci-fi series proved that an old brand name could be successfully dragged into the 21st century, capitalize on the nostalgic appeal of the original, and yet still win over new fans.
The decade or so since has seen the arrival of numerous revivals or small-screen versions of movies, to a varying degree of success. New versions of “Hawaii Five-0,” “Beauty And The Beast,” “90210,” “Parenthood,” and others made it to multiple seasons, while Netflix helped to make their original content name by reviving cult comedy “Arrested Development,” and more recently, “Fuller House.” But rebooted takes on “The Bionic Woman,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Ironside,” “Kojak,” “Knight Rider” and more all flopped.
Bruce Campbell in “Ash vs. Evil Dead”
And the mixed bag of success hasn’t slowed development. The last 12 months or so have seen networks or streaming services going hard with redos as “The Muppets,” “Heroes Reborn,” “Minority Report,” “Ash Vs. Evil Dead,” “Scream,” “Wet Hot American Summer,” “Rush Hour,” “The Mortal Instruments,” “School Of Rock” and “Omen” rejig “Damien” all debuted. In some cases, they come after failed attempts to reboot or sequelize the properties as a movie. Some have done better than others, but even if they’d all tanked, we’d probably be looking at plenty more to come down the pipeline because of the success of Fox‘s “The X-Files” earlier this year.
Though ratings dropped significantly by the end, the return of the ’90s paranormal mystery in January debuted to blockbuster ratings, and fared very well over its run. Just as “Jurassic World” and “Star Wars” did at the movies last year, it’s likely helped convince networks both at Fox and rival networks that looking back is better than looking forward. The result is a ton of new reboot shows in development.
READ MORE: Disruptors: How Netflix & Amazon Are Creating Greater Tumult In The Independent Film Industry
We’re in the era of “Peak TV,” lots of programming is needed, and on the plus side, it provides room for diverse new voices and allows space for filmmakers to pursue the adult drama that has largely evaporated from mainstream cinemas. And that’s resulted in some of the best work, both in comedy and drama, that the medium’s ever produced. But on the downside, it means that there are a huge number of hours of programming that need to be filled across not just the four networks, but across cable and streaming services too, with more and more players getting in the game. An enormous 325 scripted series aired on U.S. TV in 2015, and that number is likely to continue going up before it goes down. And it’s not difficult to see why reboots are appealing to executives right now. A familiar brand name is sometimes a good route to filling up your development slate as the starving beast devours more and more content.
It’s also a time when TV ratings, particularly on the traditional broadcast networks, are nosediving. Shows can now survive on demographic ratings of a kind that would have seen them swiftly cancelled just two or three years ago, and even the hits have been halving their ratings year on year (a long-running stalwart like “Grey’s Anatomy” attracts roughly a third of the audience it had at its peak). With a business model that still relies on selling advertising for live viewers, this hemorrhaging of audience is leading to the same kind of dilemma that movie studios have been facing, and the TV networks are starting to respond in the same way: namely, by placing an emphasis on brand names. The logic is that in an ever-more-crowded marketplace, people are drawn more to a title that they recognize.
TV is already something based on familiarity, given that you’re meant to return to a show week after week for new episodes (or at least stay where you are while Netflix continues to pump new episodes into your brain). And that’s supported by the success of long-running franchise series like “Law & Order,” “NCIS” and “Chicago [Insert Public Service]” among others, although they perform overwhelmingly with older audiences outside the most valuable demographic to advertisers. And both “The Walking Dead” and “Game Of Thrones,” cable’s biggest hits, are based on pre-existing material (and the former has already launched a spinoff series, “Fear The Walking Dead“).
That said, the list of the top-rated TV shows right now is, unlike that of the cinematic box office, surprisingly free of franchises and reboots right now. Of the top 50 shows among the crucial 18-49 demographic in 2015, over half were original shows created specifically for television (and that’s even with NFL, reality and singing shows, and adaptations like “Game Of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead” excluded). The lone reboot among the top 50 is “The Odd Couple,” a show that’s hardly setting the culture alight.
Jake McDorman in “Limitless.”
Many of those top-charting shows are original, and several follow a procedural formula of some kind. And it’s possible that one of the upcoming reboots catches on and becomes the next “Empire” or “Walking Dead.” But with every “X-Files” or “Hawaii Five-O” being followed by a flop like “Minority Report,” “Heroes Reborn” or “The Muppets” (which started well, but has now lost two-thirds of its viewers and looks sure to be cancelled), it doesn’t seem that there’s much hard evidence that trying to recapture the magic of an old hit necessarily does any better than rolling the dice on some talented creatives. Just because audiences tuned in once, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily will again.
Nevertheless, for now, the networks are greenlighting reboots left, right and center. So head over to the next page for a guide for the ones that are in development right now.
This article is related to:
Features, Features, Feature, TV Remakes, Television, Television, Television, Twin Peaks, Lethal Weapon, The X-Files, Muppets, The Muppets, Battlestar Galactica, Fargo, Gilmore Girls, Prison Break, 24: Legacy, Frequency, Deadwood, Training Day, The Exorcist, Taken, Star Trek
15 March 2016 | 8:22 am
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
Need some anonymity to download anything check out Seedbox you can never go wrong with tons of storage with a Seedbox, cheap prices!!. Check out Seedbox.io Now
Tweets by @SportsGeeks
2008-2017 BACKSTAGE RADIO LOUNGE By RWFRACING INC.