Hollywood seems more than happy to reconstitute an iconic TV show into a likely awful movie, but rarely does it remount a TV show back on the small screen. With so many awful television shows out there, why haven’t more old school TV shows been brought back?
Sure, there are exceptions. “24” is coming back because crime doesn’t rest and neither does Keifer’s alimony. “Arrested Development” is getting a re-launch on Netflix later this May and the anticipation has many in a foamy animal-like lather. “Family Guy” was brought back after Fox (who will stick with a show longer than most, see “Unhappily Ever After”) saw how well the DVD sales were and decided to give Seth MacFarlane’s brainchild another go. “Futurama,” “Dallas,” “90210,” and “Battlestar Galactica” all returned with a better success rate than many new original shows. The moderate success of these comebacks surely would have TV executives on alert. Hollywood is a copycat league much like the NFL and synchronized swimming.
Bring back some of the classics, dammit. Rather than watching another excruciating vehicle to get Matthew Perry back on the screen, let’s re-tool a few from yesteryear. I’ll nominate 10 shows that need to be brought back for the sake of all the children out there who’ll never get to enjoy a “Silver Spoons” or a “Growing Pains.” Think about that. No “Growing Pains.” That’s a world, frankly, I don’t want to live in.
“Quantum Leap” (1989-1993)
A brilliant time-travelling show along the lines of the BBC’s “Dr. Who.” “Quantum Leap,” like “Dr. Who,” works with a new cast because the premise is the selling point of the show, even though Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell are alive and available. This show could theoretically run forever because we’ll never run out of historic events/people to run into. And think of all the possibilities post-1993. We could go back in time and make sure the Kardashians never happened.
“He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” (1983 – 1985)
A spectacular cartoon that needs to be reimagined along the lines of a live action fantasy show like the “Game of Thrones” series. Or a total rip-off thereof. Frankly, I’ve never read the “Game of Thrones” books and the names and relationships are just too hard to follow for my pea-sized brain. But I sure as hell know who Skeletor, Teela, Cringer, and Orko are. The first love scene would explode a generation’s inner child.
“ALF” (1986 – 1990)
A wise-cracking alien, who crash lands on Earth, stays hidden from view all the while ambling around the house trying to eat the cat. Yikes. I don’t know if this would work considering the show was sort of dated even while it aired, but this one is for my dad. Dammit, if my old man didn’t think “ALF” was the funniest show ever made. I’d like to see it come back just to see my dad get excited about something. I’ve read that the show’s creator is a nut-job so I’m sure that “ALF” is somewhere in perfect working condition and ready for his close-up.
“Golden Girls” (1985 – 1992)
The world needs more shows that cater to geriatrics. Growing up, I was subject to whatever my grandparents wanted to watch when I stayed at their house. That’s a heavy diet of “Golden Girls,” “Murder She Wrote,” and “60 Minutes.” I think I’ve seen every episode of this show, and it was great. Definitely the funniest take on the spinster dating scene. Just think, Betty White is just now hitting her stride, and would be perfect on the same show thirty years later. It’d be worth it, just for the kick-ass theme song.
“Welcome Back Kotter” (1975-1979)
I’m thinking the role of Mr. Kotter is the perfect role for Matthew Perry, and we can once and for all get rid of the sorry sack attempts to keep him employed. The high school comedy is a staple of the TV landscape, and I can’t think of one that jumps out at me currently. I could use this show to teach me what high school is currently like, because I can only assume being a teacher today is the worst job on the planet. Somehow the youth of today has a shorter attention span than I did, dear lord. Another nominee for greatest theme song of all time.
“COP ROCK” (1990)
A terrible idea for a show in which a gritty police drama is mashed-up with musical numbers. But, if there is any time to give this one a re-boot it’s now. There are 40 “CSIs” and “Law and Orders” out there, and the television musical is at its absolute apex. You’re telling me “Glee” set in a precinct wouldn’t work? I wouldn’t bet against it. We open on a hard-drinking cop caught on the wrong side of the tracks who accidently shot a kid because of a case of mistaken identity. And then he sings the second movement of “Bohemian Rhapsody” on the ride back to HQ. Delicious.
“Chappelle’s Show” (2003-2006)
C’mon Dave, we know you want to come back. We want you back. Just come back. Show these punks how it’s done. Pretty Please?
“The Wonder Years” (1988-1993)
This show tugs at every heart string imaginable. Nostalgia for youth, better days, simpler days, family, nerdy neighbors. I’d like to see this show spun forward for the next generation, with Fred Savage doing the voice over. It was a show before it’s time–mixing the comedy and drama and the adolescent starts and stops. Judd Apatow shit. I feel like the best shows on TV today share the pacing of this show–slow and steady. Plus Winnie could come back. She grew up to be quite the looker.
“Greatest American Hero” (1981 – 1983)
A high school teacher is given a cape that gives him superpowers to save the universe. The trials and tribulations of harnessing these powers along with actually helping others out of trouble never get enough play in the superhero genre. It’s just guy gets powers, guy uses powers. The little montages in films devoted to the superhero learning to use his new toys are always a delight. An entire series dedicated to it could be fantastic. Guy getting hit in the groin by various objects while learning to jump and fly sounds like my cup of predictable, nonetheless hysterical tea. Theme song greatness part tres.
“Fraggle Rock” (1983-1987)
As I watched the Jason Segel-written “Muppets” with my daughter, I was reminded of how wonderful Jim Henson creations were and wondered why there aren’t any these days. I’d settle for any of the Muppets but the Fraggles are the number one overall seed. Get Bret and Jemaine from “Flight of the Conchords” involved, and I think you’d have a hit that’s, wait for it . . . fun for the whole family. Ninety percent of family programming is crap, ABC Family teen dramas are too hot, and I long for the days of the Fraggles. And as you know by now, I’m partial to great theme songs.
As you can see my wheelhouse was late ‘80s, early ‘90s comedies, but there are a gazillion shows out there begging to be re-made. A few of my near misses: “Magnum P.I.,” “Who’s the Boss,” running for eight seasons until we finally learn the identity of the boss, “The Critic,” “Perfect Strangers,” “Three’s Company,” and “My Two Dads.” The list is endless. I miss you classic TV.