The kids of the 1980s and 1990s might be physical adults now, but our old toys and TV shows remain hooked to our hearts. And as I've mentioned before, Hollywood is forever attempting to calculate the optimal moment to yank those hooks so that the maximum amount of money will bleed out.
And to an extent, that's alright. As long as we're prepared to pay for the nostalgia bullshit the entertainment industry keeps churning out regardless of how badly it fucks our memories right in the eye socket, that's precisely what they'll do. However, there are some franchises that should be left alone in the musty corridors of what passes for our memory palace. These old favorites could only return to life as hollow, wailing shells of their former selves, screaming in agony and longing for death. So come and join me in the hope that Hollywood will never attempt to give the Re-Animator treatment to franchises like ...
The classic 1980s series featuring a gloriously bemulleted Canadian scientist-turned-spy called Angus MacGyver is so ingrained in our collective pop culture consciousness that the character's name is basically a verb now. You might not remember the plot of a single episode from the series' seven-season tenure, but there's a fair chance you've never once grabbed a Swiss army knife or a roll of duct tape without at least passingly remembering some weird construction ol' Angus MacGyvered (See?) together to fight whoever the shit it was he used to fight. Decepticons?
Also, The Fonz produced the show for some reason. Don't tell me that doesn't count for something.
Why It Must Never Return:
Sadly, MacGyver would be far from impressive these days. Sure, dude was more or less the first TV character who could construct a tank using nothing but a hairpin and seven feet of gaffer's tape, but now fuckin' everyone is doing it. It might not be highlighted to the extent MacGyver did it, but name a show (or movie, or game, or whatever) that doesn't feature at least one character who is able to ass-pull ridiculous gadgets with minimal resources whenever necessary. Shit, Iron Man 3 featured an entire act where a temporarily armorless Tony Stark played the role of MacGyver-with-a-dickhead-beard -- and made his way to what he thought was the Mandarin's lair in this capacity. It's an effective character archetype, but there is such thing as overuse.
Even bringing Richard Dean Anderson (who's now more associated with his role in Stargate, anyway) back in the game would be unlikely to do the franchise any favors, especially as recent photos indicate that the man has become a card-carrying member of the prestigious Val Kilmer Blobfish Imitation Society, which would not do the active-to-a-fault character any favors.
Yes, your childhood heroes age, and yes, it means so do you.
Why It Probably Will Anyway:
Because Hollywood is fucking desperate to cash in on a beloved character with a built-in fan base. They've already dusted Anderson off to do MacGyver-themed commercials a few times during the last few years. A big-budget MacGyver movie has been in talks for years now, with people like Furious Seven director James Wan in talks to helm to the franchise. Back in 2003, they even attempted to make a Young MacGyver series, but the post-millennium world was unimpressed at the idea of a show starring a snotty kid with Captain Planet hair, and it was never picked up.
Nikolay Titov/iStock/Getty Images
For whatever reason.
That being said, there is one pretty interesting potential way MacGyver could reenter our screens, after a fashion. A crowdsourced project called The Next MacGyver is aiming to create a new TV show starring female protagonists with MacGyver-like engineering skillsets. Now here's the thing: The show doesn't need to have to do anything with MacGyver at all -- they're just looking to capture the spirit of the original. The actual creator of the original MacGyver is even overseeing the competition to make sure this remains the case. So even though I'm arguing that the classic MacGyver character should stay buried, there's a chance we may one day see something similar enough to capture our imaginations, yet modern and different enough to stand out in its own right.
Or, you know, they'll just churn out some sad thing called Anna MacGyver: MacGyver's Daughter and hope that the pile of money this will make them is big enough to shield them from our rotten eggs and tomatoes.
#3. Knight Rider
When I was a kid, Knight Rider was my absolute favorite thing in the world. I followed the show with the kind of fervor some slightly younger kids later reserved for Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z. There were toy KITTs, posters, coloring books, and, of course, a soundtrack cassette that probably included other songs besides the show's theme, but I never listened to anything else, because why would anyone ever?
Go on. Click it. You know your ears want it.
The show featured a cool guy and a talking car. Together they fought crime, and occasionally there was even an evil talking car. Even today, whenever someone says Knight Rider was never their jam, I tend to zone out of the conversation because my brain cannot process what I just heard.
That being said ...
Why It Must Never Return:
This show is the most outdated thing since Michael Jordan's fashion sense. With the possible exceptions of Masters of the Universe, Miami Vice, and Cyndi Lauper, Knight Rider is the most complete 1980s package in existence. Back in the day, a talking car with superpowers was the coolest thing in the universe, to the point where I actually stopped watching several other shows when it became apparent that their otherwise neat vehicles didn't have supercomputer brains actively throwing snark at their drivers.
I'm looking at you, Street Hawk.
Today, it's another story. No matter how iconic, a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am with a few cool features is unlikely to impress anyone in a world where robot drones chop off peoples' noses at TGI Fridays and Siri has completely destroyed our belief that a machine can ever truly understand speech. And since the human half of the KITT/Michael Knight duo has spent the last few decades running around in a red speedo, singing strange anthems for Germany, and wrecking his hamburger-eating credibility for life, it doesn't really matter how many nostalgia points we give Knight Rider -- the show's current Awesome Score dips well into negative figures.
Why It Probably Will Anyway:
Because they've tried and tried and tried and fucking tried to revive the franchise for years. There have been underwhelming TV films. There was the godawful 1997 Team Knight Rider, the Val-Kilmer-as-the-voice-of-the-car 2008 version, and even a loosely-connected 1986 spinoff of the original series called Code of Vengeance, in which a random hobo wandered the countryside and beat people up. None of these later incarnations survived beyond one season, partly because they were horrible but mostly because there was no way they could recapture the peculiar, cheesy chemistry between David Hasselhoff's 1980s Captain Kirk and the original KITT's Spock. Also, they all fucked up the theme song.
Have these failures caused the entertainment industry to learn their lesson? Shit, no. There is always at least one rumor about a new Knight Rider movie making rounds, and with the current success of the Fast franchise, it's probably just a matter of time before some blockbuster director or another is going to Transformers it up for all of us to cringe at. Here's a fairly recent rumor that Chris Pratt and Danny McBride have been offered the role of Michael Knight for the most recent version of Knight Rider: Let's Destroy Childhoods making the rounds. Since Pratt is rumored to be attached to every movie in production between today and 2050, you just know how that one's going to wind up.