If TV Doesn't Part Ways With The Reboot, Hollywood Is Doomed
It’s time for the end of the reboot era.
Reboots are common in our oversaturated media. Instead of adopting original programming, networks borrow old ideas and "reboot" them. You might even argue original shows are falling to the wayside while focus is given to ideas from the '90s — ideas that played out while they were on air the first time. Here's a question: Why do we need a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot when we already watched her battle evil for seven full seasons (and still can on streaming sites)? It’s time for the end of the reboot era.
Hollywood has bastardized the definition of a reboot so that the "reboot" and "remake" are often misconstrued. Now, the term "reboot" is used to describe any old television or film event coming back to life. The CW's Charmed, for example, is a remake. Gone are the Halliwell sisters, with no mention of the original witches at all. Instead, the show focuses on unrelated sisters. On the other hand, NBC's Will & Grace is a reboot because the original cast was brought back to continue the original story. The CW's 90210, which aired from 2008 to 2013, was a reboot of Beverly Hills 90210 as several of the original characters were brought back. I admit, I’ve met a few reboots I liked. 90210 was, and is, one of my favorite shows, and I wouldn’t have experienced the zip code's drama without the reboot. It's understandable why networks introduce new generations to old stories with modern, relatable characters. However, when the majority of TV programming is just a slightly different version of a past or current show, it begs the question: Where is entertainment going?
With no end to the reboot era in sight, it's become disappointing to watch TV. In 2019, we have more media than ever at our fingertips, yet original, interesting concepts are scarce. After all, it's much easier to reboot or remake a show someone else already made and throw a few "original" twists in the mix.
But if more effort, appreciation, and love isn't put into original ideas and writers aren't expected to birth their own original ideas, Hollywood is doomed. Media can't thrive if artists and creators aren't given the opportunity to flesh out their own ideas and create unique, original shows. More often than not, quality and creativity are put on the back burner in favor of a higher quantity of content.
Dwindling ratings are a serious problem for TV networks. They can't adjust to our era of binge-watching, so producers retreat to their sky-high offices and revert to the only strategy they know will save their jobs: rebooting successful franchises with pre-established cult followings. In the real world, riding the success of others is frowned upon. In Hollywood, it's the norm.
Not even young, fun, fresh remakes have been favored. Charmed and Roswell, New Mexico have received poor reviews from viewers, CBS's MacGyver was a wash, FOX's X-Files was lackluster, and ABC's Dynasty was described by many as "trying much too hard."
Hopefully, poor fan response has encouraged networks to seek out original content rather than stuff line-ups with reboots, remakes, and superhero shows.
Netflix’s Fuller House, NBC’s Will & Grace, and ABC’s Roseanne
and The Connors are examples of the few reboots that have actually managed to grab audiences.
Personally, I love watching DJ and Stephanie Tanner again, but something is lost when I step back into their lives and watch them as adults. The magic of television is that a show can only go for so long. You enjoy it while you can and appreciate the stories that are told, but afterward, all you have is your imagination.
If original programming is being passed up in favor of slightly different versions of popular shows, no one is going to take a chance on someone with an unproven original idea. It's exhausting watching the same stories play out over and over again, but our current entertainment landscape is too concerned with ratings to appreciate the need for fresh characters and stories.
Today, we have more television options than ever with broadcast, cable, and streamers at our fingertips, yet original content is hard to find. Broadcast TV is stuffed with several different versions of the same show (does CBS really need three versions of NCIS?), cable doesn’t allow its shows time to grow when cash is on the line, and antsy streaming sites have taken to canceling quality shows prematurely.
Considering the many ways we consume TV, original content should be at an all-time high, but Hollywood still favors the reboot (or remake).
It's time to do away with this sad trend and embrace original ideas — even if they need more time, love, and faith to develop.