Reboots, remakes, revivals, oh my! The TV we all want back
There's nothing quite like the experience of getting into a new TV show.
The giddy feeling you get whenever there’s a new episode, the excitement of following the plot twists and turns, and the hours spent laughing (and sometimes crying) along with your favourite characters.
You devote a lot of time and energy when you commit to watching a programme, series upon series until the very last episode, and after devoting all that time you want to feel like it was worth it.
You want the show to end satisfactorily, with all questions answered and all loose ends tied up neatly with a bow.
Sometimes this is the case, other times viewers aren’t so lucky. Either the show gets cancelled or the writers get changed and one way or another things quickly go down hill.
When this happens, often fans cry out for more, for a resolution, for anything other than what they’ve been given.
Alternatively the show can round off nicely, but it still won’t be enough for some. People become obsessed with finding out what happens next, where will the characters be in 10 years, 20 years, and so on.
Because of this desperate need to revisit fictional towns and lives, TV networks are opting more and more to reboot and revive shows that were once incredibly successful.
In the past few months an abundance of shows from the 80s and 90s have made their way back onto our screens in one way or another - from Full House and Dynasty to Gilmore Girls, The X Files, Star Trek and Twin Peaks.
Some of these, such as Gilmore Girls, simply picked up a few years after they left off, others like Dynasty were recast and remade entirely.
An abundance of other popular shows from decades gone have recently been announced to have new versions in the works - last week it was revealed that The CW had ordered a pilot for 90s/00s supernatural hit Charmed, which starred Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, Shannen Doherty and Rose McGowan.
The show, which followed a group of sisters that discover they are witches, ran for eight seasons, with fans enduring cast changes, network issues and at times the fear of cancellation.
However they stuck with it through the good and the bad until the final episode, which despite coming earlier than they may have liked, did provide a sense of closure, bringing back old cast members for a reunion and flashing forward to reveal the future for the central characters and their families.
In this sense, with such a satisfactory ending, the show was perfect - so why remake it?
It’s a question many loyal fans are asking. Look on any social media platform and you’ll soon spot the frustration and disappointment from Charmed viewers who are worried their favourite programme is about to be destroyed.
Jessica Amanda said: “If it’s not the original cast don’t bother or they will ruin it!”
Becki Huggins added: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it - do a spin off or a continuation, why remake something that was awesome the first time round? Would prefer it to be about their kids so original cast can appear.”
Others were intrigued by the prospect of a new version of the show.
Galen Roberts commented: “I’m giving it a chance because hopefully it will give a new generation the same joy it gave me.”
Charmed actress Holly Marie Combs has also joined the debate surrounding the remake, saying: “Unless you ask us to rewrite it don’t even think of capitalizing on our hard work. Charmed belongs to the four of us, our vast amount of writers, crews and predominantly the fans. FYI you will not fool them by owning a title/stamp.
“And another thing. Reboots or remakes as we used to call them, usually have storylines so similar to the original that they are legally required to use the same title and buy the rights to that title. If it’s not similar then it’s just another show. A new show with a new title.”
Her former co-star, Shannon Doherty, also shared her thoughts on Twitter.
She wrote: “Everything is a remake or a reboot. Every show, every movie in some way. Charmed was a wonderful empowering show for women.
“I’m proud I started a show that has stood the test of time with such loyal fans. It’s a testament to the original that a new one is even being considered.”
While the conversation surroung the Charmed reboot continues, other shows are being picked up for reboots all the time.
Also potentially upcoming are new versions of Magnum PI, Cagney and Lacey, Lost In Space and Roswell.
• How would you feel if your favourite show was remade? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
10 shows we want back
While the debate for whether we should, or shouldn’t, remake shows continues, we asked readers to tell us about the programmes they would give anything to watch more of. Here’s what they said...
• The Good Wife
There is so much on television at the moment, I suffer from box set anxiety.
I’ve just watched The Good Wife on Netflix, staying up late into the night to ensure that I got through the entire seven seasons before Netflix takes it down on Feb 1. This is not a healthy way to live.
That said, there are shows I would like to see return and The Good Wife is one of them. SPOILER ALERT: The ending is so disappointing you want to know what happens next.
I think TV companies have a duty to finish stories off in a satisfying manner. We invest our time, and threaten our marriages, for this stuff. The least they can do is tie up all the loose ends.
My favourite ever show, Six Feet Under, does this beautifully. There is not a single character whose story is not given a satisfying conclusion at the end.
I think the shows that should be brought back are the shows that never finished properly - see also Mad Men (who did Don end up with? why didn’t we get to see Betty die?) rather than reboots of Dynasty - things that have long since had their day.
I started watching the new Dynasty and quickly realised there was no point. It was exactly the same as the old version, except that Krystle was now Hispanic and Sammy Jo was a man, and gay. Why watch a story when you already know the ending?
Having said that, the reboot of Poldark has definitely been an exception (although this may be because I was too young to see it the first time around).
But then Aidan Turner could probably convince TV audiences to welcome a revival of Eldorado so asa general rule, let’s just have new things, rather than regurgitating the old.
Liz Nice, Bury St Edmunds
Bring back Friends! I’ve been rewatching every series with my kids and I’d forgotten how much I loved it. Watching the gang again was like pulling on a familiar sweater, and made me feel like I was back in my teens/early 20s again. I want...no I need, to know what happens next for Rachel and co!
Charlotte Smith-Jarvis, Ipswich
• The Mill
The Mill was awesome! I thought it ended abruptly. I also loved The Big Allotment Challenge – I think it was called, with Fern Britten. It didn’t get renewed after two series.
Donna-Louise Bishop, Cawston
• Kung Fu
Kung Fu. David Carradine’s best role and a great, epic, anti-Western format which those who got hooked on Westworld might appreciate – as would anyone keen on the hundreds of martial arts film blockbusters it spawned. The three series were made over an intense period in the early 1970s, after which Carradine (who never fulfilled his potential afterwards) threw in the towel, taking the whole successful franchise down with him. The filming schedule, to be fair, was unforgiving. But what emerged in that short space was an East-meets-West classic, with an ethos and a heart which no other series has ever quite matched – despite all the punch-kick antics thrown in to keep up the ratings. It was the series that nearly never got made – whoever heard of a Chinese, Buddhist sophism-quoting cowboy who won’t wield a gun or ride a horse, and who rejects all violence except where his life – or soul – is in peril? But Carradine’s character, Kwai Chang Caine, half-American, half Chinese, is in many ways a classic Western hero.
The narrative takes us in flashback to his youth, and his training as a Shaolin (Buddhist sect) monk. We then return to his present, where, in 1870s America, he is being pursued by the Chinese emperor’s assassins, who, like he, are experts in the art of Kung Fu. At the same time, he embarks on a quest to find the American family he has never known.
Kung Fu is as much about anti-materialism, endurance, and moral and spiritual growth, as it is about violence and physical prowess. Fighting is always the last resort (although, by audience demand, it was a regular feature). It’s a series which spun a thousand spoofs, but this was really down to its huge popularity. One of my favourite scenes is when the young priests (with brother, Keith Carradine, playing the teenaged Caine in the first series) are schooled on how to confront danger. ‘Run away’, says the Shaolin monk. How’s that for anti-macho?
It did hit a dip in the second series, but Caine returns in his full glory and a much over-due headshave in the third. How inspiring it would be if they could remake this series for a new generation as an antidote to the hollowness and inanity of Trumpism. There was much controversy at the time when Carradine was chosen over Chinese candidates for the plum part. While Carradine was in many ways ideal for it, wouldn’t it be wonderful to right that wrong with a re-make that really does justice to the original and goes one step further with a Chinese actor in the starring role?
Sarah Chambers, Ipswich
• Desperate Housewives
This great series, created by Marc Cherry, always left you wanting more. The intricate story lines full of humour, drama, dark twists and hilarious turns were on the watch list right from season one to eight for me.
Lauren Hockney, Ipswich
• The Returned
I’ve just finished watching The Returned on Netflix (think it was originally on an American TV channel) – it wasn’t the most original of ideas, people from the same town returning from the dead, but it was pretty addictive and it never had a season finale, just finished on the most annoying cliff hanger! Definitely wish they’d bring that back for another series.
And I’d always watch another series of Gilmore Girls!
Georgia Watson, Ipswich
• Gossip Girl
I absolutely loved this show and religiously watched every single episode. I loved it so much, I’d really like to know what the characters are up to now - what have they all been doing since the show ended? Is there a new Gossip Girl? So many questions!
Mariah Feria, Norwich
• Witches of East End
Last year I got really into Witches of East End after discovering it on Netflix. The programme had everything I love - powerful female characters, drama, and a fun supernatural twist, not to mention the cast were fantastic. I devoured the first season and waited patiently for the second to be added. When it came I was overjoyed, until I reached the last episode and discovered there was to be no more. WHAT? Season two ends on a major cliff-hanger, life-changing things are about to kick off for the characters and now I’ll never know whether they resolve anything. The exact same thing happened with FlashForward when it was cancelled in 2010 and the CW show The Secret Circle when it ended abruptly in 2012. It’s so frustrating. Obviously not knowing what happens next in these shows won’t ruin my life, I’m well aware it’s not the end of the world - it would just be nice to know what the writers had planned.
Courtney Pochin, Norwich
• The Bill
I always enjoyed watching The Bill and still like to catch the odd re-run of the show on a Saturday morning when it’s on Drama Channel. It’s nice, easy watching, so I’d definitely like to see more of that on the TV.
Emily Hewett, Oulton Broad
• The Hour
Years on from time running out for Abi Morgan’s midcentury newsroom thriller The Hour, I still hold out hope that there will be a TV commissioning miracle.
Set against a backdrop of the Suez Crisis and the nuclear arms race, the show starred Romola Garai as trailblazing TV producer Bel Rowley, Ben Whishaw as fearless reporter Freddie Lyon and Dominic West (post his critically acclaimed turn in The Wire, pre his critically acclaimed turn in The Affair and not quite so critically acclaimed turn in a pasta sauce ad), with a supporting cast of Anna Chancellor (playing the fabulously named foreign desk editor Lix Storm), Peter Capaldi, Oona Chaplin and Julian Rhind-Tutt. Clever, sexy, stylish and brilliant, it was exactly what you want 60 minutes of TV to be.
Emma Lee, Norwich