Movie and television studios always seem to be running a bit short of ideas, so they look to what’s worked in the past for their future successes. Television reboots are becoming increasingly ubiquitous these days. Fans of ’90s television hit Twin Peaks have new episodes of that long-dormant series to look forward to, for example. If the networks are going to start reviving and hopefully improving upon their great classics, let’s set out a list of television shows that deserve the reboot treatment.
1. The Wire
One of the greatest achievements in television of all-time is about nothing more than the entire system of an American city. Though the show was ostensibly focused upon Dominic West’s boozy Detective McNulty, each season broadened the show’s scope to incorporate a wider cast of tragic characters from different walks of life within crime-ridden Baltimore, whether they were cops, kids, dockworkers, gangsters, or politicians. McNulty all but disappeared from the series in the stellar fourth season, proving once and for all that no specific character is needed to anchor a show like The Wire. David Simon convincingly explored so much of this city with the original five seasons, but there are always more avenues to go down with a series like this — the faces may change, but the system stays the same.
2. The Twilight Zone
What’s easier to reboot than an anthology series? The original ’50s Twilight Zone episodes are still some of the greatest television ever, based simply on creepy speculative stories that use heady science fiction concepts to satirize the disturbing implications of modern life. The series has already been rebooted twice, once in the ’80s and again in 2002, but given the recent influx of successful anthology series (True Detective, American Horror Story, Black Mirror, etc.), this could be the perfect market for such a revival, if a studio cedes control to the sort of show runner who understands the creepy beauty of the original series.
3. Malcolm in the Middle
Former child star Frankie Muniz, who starred in this beloved Fox series as whiny, brainy middle-child Malcolm, hinted recently that an update of Malcolm in the Middle may be in the cards. I can’t help but get my hopes up. The original series was an unashamedly dark and often realistic depiction of lower-income American family life with a wounded heart beating beneath all the hijinx, one that would be right at home alongside other offbeat comedies like Louie and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on Fox’s cable network FX.
Pick up with the original characters 10 years on, with Malcolm struggling due to his own obsessive tendencies and trying to tolerate his family upon returning home without a cent to his name. Keeping the characters the same but experimenting with the dynamics using the nifty trick of age could make for more great episodes.
4. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
OK, so Buck Rogers in the 25th Century — the 1979 Star Wars cash-in series about a modern astronaut who becomes a hero in future space — is laughable by today’s standards. All the more reason to reboot. Without the lofty expectations that come with a more beloved source material, a gifted writing team could make this into a gritty sci-fi antihero series or even an Archer-esque comedy set in space. Whether it’s turned into a genre-centric comedy series or given the Battlestar Galactica treatment, an aged series with a worthy premise like Buck Rogers is definitely ripe for a modern-minded revival.
Here’s a long shot — since creating the beloved one-season British comedy Spaced, director Edgar Wright has gone onto considerable success in film, casting series stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in several of his most acclaimed projects (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End). In those films and in his cult hit Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, Wright further developed the manic pop-culture obsessed but still character-based comedy that made Spaced such a treasure.
Though both Wright and series star Pegg have plenty of work, it’d be nice to see them revisit this material, seeing the characters aged but still struggling to deal with the mundane details of modern life through the lens of nerdy cultural touchstones. We certainly live in a world more welcoming to such nerdy pop-cultural references.
6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy creator Joss Whedon recently found big-screen success in a big way with the first two MCU Avengers films. Now that his work with Marvel is reportedly at an end, it would be interesting to see what he would do with a revival of his first television series, this much-loved Fox series about a teenager juggling typical adolescent concerns and a double-life of monster battling. Whedon created and defined an entire monstrous world of demonic creatures and the Slayers who fight them, so it would be easy to pick up with another Slayer to find a fresh point of entry for the well-established universe. A lawyer battling vampires in and outside of the courtroom? Why not! An aged Slayer wondering about the purpose of their lonely life as literal and figurative demons haunt him/her in retirement? Worth a try! The possibilities go on and on.
Follow Jeff Rindskopf on Twitter @jrindskopf
More from Entertainment Cheat Sheet:
- 6 Classic Shows Making a TV Comeback
- 10 TV Shows That Continued After Losing a Lead
- The 10 Greatest Adult Animated Series of All Time
Want more great content like this? Sign up here to receive the best of Cheat Sheet delivered daily. No spam; just tailored content straight to your inbox