5 Bad Hollywood Reboots And What We Should've Gotten Instead
The problem isn't that Hollywood recycles ideas -- it's that it recycles the wrong ideas. If you're going to go digging through the 1990s for the next property to reboot, look for the stuff that was ahead of its time, or which at least isn't going to be hopelessly out of step with the national mood. Here are some recommendations to help producers along ...
Instead Of A Live-Action Power Rangers, They Should Have Rebooted Gargoyles
Letting your kids watch Power Rangers is the closest that you'll ever get to legally feeding them ecstasy. I remember spontaneously doing my first cartwheel while dancing exuberantly to the iconic theme song, all while "teenagers with attitude" did their own cartwheels and kicks onscreen. "Everything will be great forever! The world will never become a swirl of crushing anxiety!"
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was the coolest ... and then it came back as Power Rangers Zeo and Power Rangers In Space and Power Rangers Time Force and Power Rangers Ninja Storm and damn, there are almost 30 of these things. That's probably why I wasn't too excited about the 2017 Power Rangers movie (aside from the fact that it was bland in a way that was almost offensive). The Power Rangers never left. It's the same reason nobody feels nostalgia for the Law & Order franchise.
What We Should've Gotten: Gargoyles
Gargoyles is one of the most underrated cartoons in history, and should be mentioned alongside greats like Batman: The Animated Series way more often than it is. It concerned a group of ass-kicking gargoyles who get turned into stone in medieval Scotland and are awakened in modern-day New York City. While there, they make it eight episodes before one of them accidentally shoots a police officer with her own gun by accident. This show was not fucking around!
It also had two incredible villains: the guy with the coolest name in the history of both fiction and nonfiction, Xanatos (voiced by Jonathan "Commander Riker" Frakes), and the formidable female gargoyle Demona (voiced by Marina Sirtis, aka Counselor Deanna Troi), who is still a fucking role model as far as I'm concerned.
But that was over 20 years ago. One of its co-creators, Greg Weisman, has a history of getting his projects cancelled before their time (Gargoyles, The Spectacular Spider-Man, the recently revived Young Justice), so if you're gonna bring it back as a cartoon, throw him a bone and let the magic happen.
Or you can follow the current trend and do it as live-action, with state-of-the art CGI and an exploration of current events intermingled with the supernatural elements of the show. The original cartoon was full of commentary on the terrible ways that people in power can treat those different from them. It seems like there might possibly be ways to make that relevant.
In fact, there is a rumor that Jordan Peele is pitching a reboot of the show to various outlets, and the prospect of Peele and Gargoyles coming together makes me so excited that I may have done another cartwheel just now. I'll neither confirm nor deny this.
Instead Of Roseanne, We Should Have Gotten A Living Single Reboot
I might be beating a dead horse here, but that Roseanne revival didn't exaaaactly go as planned. It went from a groundbreaking sitcom to a trashy Republican joke that couldn't even get its basic characterization right. In an effort to get something on TV that would appeal to Trump country, ABC brought back a woman who has spent years falling further down the rabbit hole of bizarre right-wing conspiracy theories, then they were somehow shocked when she went off the rails.
They're now going to try bringing back the show without Roseanne (called The Conners), but to be honest, we never needed a Roseanne reboot in 2018, even one done correctly.
What We Should've Gotten: Living Single
In the grand history of television and movies, you'd be surprised by how few POC characters we get who have more personality traits than "is loud" or "isn't white." It's still a special, rare thing to see POC with starring roles who are strong yet vulnerable, well-rounded, intelligent, and most importantly, real human beings. And what do you know, Living Single was famous for giving us just that back in the mid '90s.
It was about four single black women and their two single black male neighbors living their best lives in New York City. A lawyer. A stockbroker. A handyman. A wedding planner. A secretary. A woman who owned and ran her own motherfucking magazine. This show changed the game when it came out. These people weren't "hood," and not one of them was the "funny black friend" to a white protagonist.
Technically, it could be argued that the show's already been rebooted. Not long after Living Single became a certified success, NBC created a nearly identical show with an all-white cast. Maybe you've heard of it?
Roswell Is Super Typical -- Why Not Reboot Animorphs?
The CW is going ahead with rebooting Roswell, a show about an intensely charismatic alien and the teenage woman who loves him. But that series ultimately failed the first time out because when choosing between teen drama and interesting alien subplots, it chose the drama. This was the late '90s, when melodramatic teenage shows starring attractive white people were America's primary export, and Roswell definitely tried to capitalize on that. But it just came off as a second-rate Buffy, and we already have a second-rate Buffy. It's called Supernatural. Don't @ me.
What We Should've Gotten: Animorphs
Now, a story that did mix aliens and teenage drama well was Animorphs, mostly because they focused more on aliens than the Dawson's Creek-esque dialogue. If you aren't familiar, it was based on a book series about an alien soldier crash-landing on Earth and giving a diverse group of teenagers "morphing" powers and recruiting them to fight in a war against an evil mind-controlling alien species called Yeerks. And those books used to be my shiiiiit.
Nickelodeon did an Animorphs TV show in the '90s, and it was a hate crime against adaptations and the people-who-turn-into-animals-and-fight-an-interstellar-war community. The iconic book covers that featured apathetic teens turning into wildlife were goofy, but they didn't deserve two seasons of bad special effects and writing that made you wish you could transform into an animal and leave humanity behind.
This is the kind of reboot they should be doing more of -- giving promising source material another chance. An actually good Animorphs TV series could tackle the serious issues from the books, like PTSD, dehumanization, and war.
For example, in one storyline, new character David is given access to the morphing powers after his parents are taken over by the invaders. This drives him insane and he attempts to kill all the other Animorphs. The team ultimately traps him in the form of a rat and abandons him on a rock in the middle of the ocean with a bunch of other actual rats. He later returns to get revenge on the team, and when he fails, he begs one of them to kill him. And we never find out if she does.
Holy hell. That David saga almost gave Kid Me a damn ulcer. BRING BACK ANIMORPHS.
Recess Is A Better Heathers Remake Than Heathers
The Heathers TV reboot, based on the 1988 black comedy about awful teenage girls, was pulled before it even got out the gate, which I think was a great fuckin' call. The original Heathers movie was fantastic, don't get me wrong. But the TV reboot gets the setup all wrong. Why would you make the evil, dominant "Heathers" clique full of minorities and LGBTQ kids? Why would you make your protagonist be a straight, conventionally attractive white woman who looks like she'd be an original Heather herself? IT DEFIES THE ENTIRE POINT OF THE MOVIE.
What We Should've Gotten: Recess
When it comes to depictions of a schoolyard social hierarchy, nobody can touch Recess, the Disney animated series that ran from 1997 to 2001. It depicts the kids as existing in a "kingdom," a complex society they've formed during their daily recess period (there was even a King of the Playground who demanded conformity).
And in case ya'll forgot, there was even an episode on this show in which we learn something shocking about Spinelli, a tough girl in the main clique of characters: Her first name is actually Ashley. The Ashleys are a clique of gossipy mean girls, and the rules of the playground state that Spinelli now belongs to them, which she spends the rest of the episode fighting against. Sound familiar? Recess did Heathers better than the remake did.
It was a clever look at how people use social norms to exert power, and what it can be like to try to break those unwritten rules. And they programmed this for kids, running it on Saturday mornings! Hey, the sooner they figure out how things work, the better.
We Don't Need A New Death Wish -- We Need A New Coffy
Who asked for a Death Wish remake? Who watched Charles Bronson tear through gangs (that were mostly made up of minorities) with a wide array of weapons in five straight movies and thought "You know what 2018 needs? SOME MORE A' THAT."
In a post-Trayvon-Martin world, why would you want to remake a story about a white man with a gun taking the law into his own hands? Especially while news of minorities being abused by both cops and white civilians are so common that people don't even bat an eye anymore when hearing about how so-and-so nearly died just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, like maybe sitting on their own porch waiting for their mother to come home. Wanting a Death Wish movie nowadays is like wishing that leprosy would make a comeback.
What We Should've Gotten: Coffy
Younger readers might not know about Coffy, and that's a tragedy, as it should be a legal requirement at this point. In it, Pam Grier plays Coffy, the "baddest one-chick hit squad that ever hit town." She's a nurse who became a vigilante when her little sister was coerced into taking some "bad" heroin. On a rampage to hurt everyone willing to let something like that happen, she roams the streets pretending to be a druggie prostitute "just lookin for a fix," and ends up killing whoever's willing to give it to her.
Timing is important here. Female action stars are getting more attention, as are films starring black people, because Hollywood has finally realized that they can make money without the Matt Damons charging ahead of them. Now consider the success of Black Panther, and especially the popularity of the characters Shuri and Okoye. People are aching to spend money on a film starring a badass black woman.
Alright, now imagine Lupita Nyongo in this role. It's OK to drool a little bit.
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For more, check out 5 Ridiculous TV Remakes We Wish Netflix Would Tackle Next and 6 Movies That Actually Deserve A Remake.
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