These TV Shows Would Never Survive a Reboot

As much as the public warns Hollywood not to touch certain media properties for reboots, many producers lend a deaf ear and go ahead anyway. Misguided creative pursuance is often driven more and more by money and production teams somehow convincing themselves their vision of a reboot will work.

Creating reboots for test audiences should become a standardized way to go about things like this so there isn’t so much creative energy and money spent before sudden failure.

If we can argue a few TV reboots have worked (think One Day at a Time or Hawaii Five-O), most others are disasters. We’re at a point now where we’ve devised our own Top Four list of shows to leave out of the reboot zone.

Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Dr. Ross Geller
Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Dr. Ross Geller | Danny Feld/NBCU Photo Bank

1. ‘Friends’

We’re all still talking about a legitimate Friends revival/reunion happening eventually if the males in the cast would finally agree. The women have, yet the guys continue to balk at the idea of having their iconic characters seen as middle-age.

If this never happens, then don’t be surprised to see a reboot happen someday, maybe while the original cast are still alive. Before such a thing really does happen, we want to shut it down before it starts to germinate in someone’s thought cloud.

When you place Friends in full perspective, it’s also a product of its own time frame. The 1990s were really a golden age for such a series to happen where we believed a small group of friends could live mostly in harmony within a NYC apartment.

Today, such a series would be more based in reality, if not even a reality show. Maybe we’ll be lucky to see one reunion movie with the original cast (on WarnerMedia’s HBO MAX), but leave the original series alone.

2. ‘Happy Days’

Sure, those who grew up with Happy Days in the 1970s and ’80s would love to see the sitcom revive. Most who saw it originally wouldn’t mind a reunion, which is very different from a reboot. Seeing the characters 35 years older could make for an interesting and limited Netflix series.

We’re more than sure such a thing will never happen (particularly since the 2016 death of creator Garry Marshall), even if we all wish we could see what happened to The Fonz and the Cunninghams.

A reboot has already been talked about at times, though many media analysts note the nostalgia for the 1950s and ’60s isn’t the same now as it was in the ’70s when Happy Days began. One reason is because the ’70s spin on the ’50s was more than a little revisionist. They didn’t take into consideration the realities of racism and lack of opportunities for women.

Should it reboot anyway, we may have to see a version set in the gilded 1990s, the 2010s version of the 1950s.

3. ‘The Office’

After all the recent talk about reviving the series with some of the show regulars, everyone finally came to their senses and realized it was a big mistake. Doing a reboot, however, would be almost as bad.

Perhaps some will argue the setting and situations for The Office will always be universal and applicable 50 years from now if it’s rebooted with a new cast. You could also say it’s a true product of its time.

Considering we’re seeing a trend toward people working remotely from other locations or at home, The Office may look like a relic in another decade. Nevertheless, the comedic chemistry from the original cast will always hold up and make it a classic. It should stay in its own time setting.

4. ‘All in the Family’ (except for the one-shot reboots)

Those of you who saw the recent two-hour special recreating a 1973 episode of Norman Lear’s All in the Family (including an episode of The Jeffersons) were likely pleasantly surprised at how well it worked with new actors.

In our minds, this is how any reboot of a classic series should be done: Just make it a one-time, special event. Outside of All in the Family predicting virtually every current issue we’re going through 45 years early, it’s still a time capsule belonging in the 1970s/early ’80s.

Wisely, the “reboot” special, with Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei as Archie and Edith Bunker, kept the reboot in the same time period as a reminder it’s more compelling to look to the past to see where we are now.