Here's a quick rundown of some of the reboots we've had or that are in the works over the last few years:
Will & Grace
Total Request Live
King Of The Hill
The Gong Show
Now sure, Twin Peaks seems to be doing well, The X-Files went over not too badly, and somehow Fuller House is up to Season 3 despite being a continuation of Full House, which was the television equivalent of a stranger touching your ankle from under the bathroom stall door. But did you want any of these? Was there any clamoring to have these shows resurrected? Or is it entirely possible that networks are just trying to keep people from falling asleep by giving them what they used to watch when they got home from school back in the day in a desperate bid for relevancy?
The power of nostalgia can be summed up as "Hey, I remember that thing!" and then, as the smile slowly slips from your lips, having contented yourself with the fact that your memory is still more or less functional, you stop giving a shit. Remembering a thing is not the same as liking or wanting a thing, but TV doesn't know that yet, because LALALALALALA IT CAN'T HEAR YOU! So yes, people will tune in to see The Gong Show or DuckTales because those names are familiar. Like your cat rushing to the sound of a crinkly package that might indicate food, your interest is piqued. Then when you show up and it's just some bullshit, you're going to slink away unsatisfied or just flop on the floor because whatever, you're a cat in this metaphor and your life isn't super complex.
For those not afflicted with the nostalgia bug, eh, fuck it, you never saw it the first time, so it's new to you. Like a hand-me-down sweater, don't think of it as garbage someone else didn't want and you're just in the way of the dumpster; think of it as a pre-loved gift.
Is it lazy that Hollywood wants to reboot the entire decade of the '90s, with the '80s and 2000s as garnish? People often say there are no original ideas left when they read the news about reboots, that Hollywood is bankrupt of creativity, and maybe that's it. Or maybe using the same recipe to make dinner two weeks in a row seems like a surefire way to get the same good results. If Roseanne comes back in 2017, you're getting your old favorite with a new kung fu grip and a racing stripe, so it's something you can trust, but with a little new twist to keep you interested. Or it's going to make you want to dropkick your TV right out the goddamn window like after watching that MacGyver reboot. Have you seen that thing? Good god.
There's something to be said about how hearing about a new reboot makes our eyes narrow and a seething kind of hatred bubble up in our souls (even though we don't have to watch it). I grew up in the world of networks and Must See TV, when on any given night during prime-time you had maybe three choices, and in the summer they were probably all reruns because fuck you, why are you watching TV in the summer anyway? To see the reruns resurrected like entertainment zombies, lurching across the television landscape in search of new victims, is just weird. Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Those who don't watch the shit they saved on DVR are doomed to have Netflix reboot it.