4 Weird Movie And TV Reboots (Slipped Past All Our Radars)
Coming up with original ideas that will resonate with audiences for generations is a lot tougher than, say, simply cutting a check to buy up some IP, then rebuilding a set that was trashed by Teamsters back in 1995 – which is probably the world of movies and TV is absolutely crammed full of reboots and remakes right now. This year alone, we got another Jurassic World sequel, a Top Gun revival, and a new Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie in which Leatherface is canceled by social media influencers (we’re not joking). But for all the ones we’re aware of, there are still some odd franchise reboots that completely escaped our collective attention, such as how …
Clue Was Briefly A Teen Adventure Show (With No Murder)
We all love Clue, the 1985 comedy based on the classic board game – which, unless it turns out that Lawrence of Arabia was secretly bankrolled by a Sandbox magnate, is arguably the best movie ever to be based on a popular toy. Because America’s desire to murder each other with household objects has seemingly only increased in the past several years, there’s been a lot of talk about making a new Clue movie, this time with Ryan Reynolds (and presumably less wall-to-wall horniness and references to the Red Scare of the 1950s).
But surprisingly, the Clue brand has actually been revived multiple times since the ‘80s; for starters, there was the Cluedo game show on British TV in the early ‘90s, in which contestants had to interrogate the six ludicrously-named suspects in order to win cash prizes – which, judging from the results is probably not how most murder investigations should be conducted.
But more to the point, we got a narrative cable TV adaptation in 2011 (later re-edited into a movie) which was all about … teenagers? This version of Clue follows a scrappy gang of youths who witness a murder – if that sounds pretty intense for a kid’s show, it’s later revealed that the victim is actually alive, kind of undermining the entire central premise of Clue.
At least the faux-murder is committed using a candlestick – of course, it eventually turns out that the candlestick is actually an electromagnetic key that can be used to unlock an unlimited power source created by Nikola Tesla – probably because the producers figured that kids in the 21st century wouldn’t exactly be dazzled by a show set entirely inside of a dusty old corpse-filled house.
To satisfy the color-coded name component of the Clue mythology, the kids each have hobbies that relate to an original character; this “Mrs. Peacock,” for example, is obsessed with the “Peacock” gossip blog (not the streaming service) and one kid achieves the rank of Col. in a “M.U.S.T.A.R.D.” video game – you know, those things young people like.
While you might not expect that this forgotten mystery series would be a launching pad to greatness, you might recognize “Ms. White” as Sarah Desjardins from Riverdale and Yellowjackets, and “Col. Mustard” was played by Stephan James, who would go on to star in Homecoming and If Beale Street Could Talk. So aspiring actors might want to check to see if they’re making an adaptation of Hungry Hungry Hippos all about bitcoin or something.
Spaceballs Returned As An Animated Series, For Some Reason
Spaceballs is mostly remembered for its self-referential gags about gratuitous, George Lucas-esque marketing tie-ins – and, sure, you can actually buy Spaceballs: The Toilet Paper for real, but we never got the sequel we were jokingly promised. There have been rumors of a potential sequel over the years, for which there’s clearly a lot of fan interest, as evidenced by the time posters for Spaceballs II: The Search For More Money mysteriously showed up in the New York City subway (AKA, the least-horrible thing to randomly show up in a New York City subway).
While the chances of getting a sequel seem pretty slim at this point, there was a legit follow-up to Spaceballs, created by Mel Brooks himself – but it was a cartoon on a TV channel virtually no one had. Yup, Spaceballs: The Animated Series aired on G4 in 2008, and it was … not good. Like, not even a little bit.
Despite Brooks co-writing the first episode and several of the original actors returning to voice their characters, the whole thing was pretty much a giant Winnebago wreck. Weirdly, instead of just riffing on Star Wars, the show bluntly parodied a wide variety of pop-culture properties; from Harry Potter to Jurassic Park to Pirates of the Caribbean – and then there was the particularly dire episode “Druidian Idol.” If you think that one character doesn’t call another “Kelly Barf-son,” well then boy do you have the wrong show.
Spaceballs: The Animated Series lasted for just one season before it was canceled and seemingly obliterated from the memories of every single person clamoring for more Spaceballs-based content.
The Much-Memed Beyond Belief Was Revived (But Only In Germany)
Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is that ‘90s sci-fi anthology series hosted by Commander Riker (AKA Jonathan Frakes) from inside of a mid-budget escape room. The premise of the show was that each episode presented several stories, some of which were fictional, some of which were allegedly based on true (but still totally fake, let’s be honest) stories, and you had to guess which was which. These days the show is best known for the popular memes it has inspired, including that supercut of Frakes asking increasingly crazy questions as if he’s the world’s least-relatable nightclub comedian.
You’d think that, with its newfound semi-ironic online application, that if Beyond Belief came back to TV, you’d hear about it, right? Well … no. The show did return for a special episode, Frakes and all, just last year – but it only aired in Germany, where the show, known there as X-Factor, is apparently as popular as a David Hasselhoff-shaped sausage.
The rebooted X-Factor is entirely in German, including Frakes’ intro (which is dubbed). So we can’t say for sure what the stories are actually about – although one seems to concern a guy who gets impaled by some farming equipment after being spooked by a haunted doll?
We’re going to say it’s fact … that we don’t understand what the hell’s going on there.
So Many ‘90s TV Shows Came Back As Comic Books
It seems as though the ‘90s has been a particularly fertile time period for TV reboots; there’s the new Saved by the Bell, Fuller House, and of course, Bel-Air, the dramatic re-telling of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (hopefully an entire season will be dedicated to the needless physical and emotional trauma inflicted on Jazz). But several beloved ‘90s TV shows eventually came back, not as streaming series but as comic books.
For instance, we’ve mentioned before that Buffy the Vampire Slayer continued as a comic featuring aliens, centaurs, and superpowered, mountain-destroying sex scenes. Similarly, years after Xena: Warrior Princess was canceled, the character got her own starring role in a comic series, eventually crossing over with Ash from Evil Dead, thrilling fans of Sam Raimi’s bank account.
The same publisher also released a continuation of the show Charmed years before its 2018 TV reboot. And in 2006, Gargoyles, the cult Disney animated show about magical creatures (and occasionally, unspoken mass-murder), was continued in a comic series written by the show’s creator – which is probably worth reading, if not just for the scene in which some of the Gargoyles dress up as characters from The Wizard of Oz on Halloween instead of, you know, just gargoyles.
And before it made its way back to TV in recent years, The X-Files carried on as a comic series that boldly brought several major characters back from the dead and recycled storylines that were rejected by the network, including ones involving school shootings and abortion clinic bombings.
Thankfully, the Home Improvement-verse seems to have stayed dead.
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Thumbnail: Universal Television/MGM