When it comes to TV’s increasingly obstinate reboots, revivals and remakes trend, the public is officially recoiling.
CBS’ unexpected Murphy Brown revival, coming as it did about a month after news broke that The Office and Mad About You are also on track for comebacks, raised some eyebrows but also drew some warm welcomes.
But then… things got ugly, starting with news that a new Charmed had apparated back on The CW’s drawing board, followed immediately by ABC’s ordering of a Greatest American Hero redo (now suiting up an Indian-American woman). The straw that broke proverbial backs and sent many of you into full rage mode was Friday night’s one-two punch of Magnum P.I. and Cagney and Lacey, both of which are getting “updates” via CBS pilot orders.
The chorus largely sang a song of, “Why no new ideas?”
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How “new” is this trend of turning the familiar into something slightly new-ish? Not very, though this year’s pilot season sure has picked up the pace and suggested no immediate end in sight.
After all, airing during this broadcast TV season alone, you have four reboots (from Hawaii Five-0 to Dynasty)… three revivals (including Roseanne)… 10 spinoffs (from grand-daddy NCIS to Young Sheldon) … and another dozen shows that are based on preexisting properties/characters (including Gotham, Riverdale and Lethal Weapon). That’s 29 broadcast-TV programs, out of about 100 scripted shows from this fall and midseason, that are varying degrees of “not entirely original,” based on/spun off of something. And going back five years, there have been a total of 105 on air.
Meaning, while the recent reboot rampage may seem smothering and unusual, it is in a way something we have been tolerating — and viewership sometimes validating — for a while.