Right now the most popular trend in television and film is the remake/revival. Kicking off this trend was Netflix 2016 reboot of Full House, appropriately titled Fuller House. But this was really just the beginning. At the very least, Fuller House is a continuation of the old series. We have a majority of the former show’s core cast, but we aren’t retelling what we already knew. Fuller House is a kind of ‘Where Are They Now?’ that really works because it’s a family program which fans of the original can now share with their kids. The form follows function.
But it unknowingly launched a whole new era of old favorites. Disney Channel revived That’s So Raven with their new show Raven’s Home, FOX remade the famous horror film The Exorcist in a TV show that has done surprisingly well, and of course the long awaited revival of Will & Grace premiered on Thursday night to rave reviews. Then you’ve got Gilmore Girls, Girl Meets World, MacGyver, The Magic School Bus, Prison Break, Psych… and a thousand more I’m probably forgetting. The point is, no matter how much you may whine and say “What?! They’re remaking that?! Why? It was so good! They’re going to mess it up!”, you always come back. Even just out of curiosity for how they will remake something beloved, viewers will come. Sometimes, though, we’re genuinely excited to hear that our childhood favorites are getting another chance (I read that they are doing an Invader Zim revival movie and I’m HYPED).
Of course, there have been lots of reboots that didn’t work out so well. 24: Legacy lasted only 1 season at FOX, the new Twin Peaks couldn’t keep it’s cult following, and the all-female Ghostbusters faced a lot of criticism and controversy. So why then do networks/production companies keep remaking things? Money.
On the one hand, it’s frustrating for aspiring screenwriters like myself who want to make really breakthrough, original content. This trend is counterproductive by nature. I want to see more creativity and new ideas, but new is risky. In the world of TV/Film, mistakes are really going to cost you. With reboots, the story and characters have already been sold, and they were successful. The upside is that it’s really fun to see familiar faces make a return to the screen, especially ones that we’ve been with for a long time. It’s like seeing a good friend after many years apart. For screenwriters, the fun in reboots is that you already know the characters. It’s essentially writing fanfiction.
Who knows, maybe it would be a good idea to save that Ghost Whisperer spec script I wrote three years ago…