Exploring why the reboots of our favourite shows don’t always live up to our standards…
It’s almost impossible to log onto Netflix, or turn on your TV without seeing, a new version of a show or movie you once loved 15-20 years ago. With the recent announcements, that Gossip Girl may be making a comeback in the form of a reboot on the CW, and Beverly Hills 90210 also making another comeback, I just have to say that I for one, am not here for reboots. It feels like every week we’re getting news of more shows and movies being rebooted or getting sequels. We need to start asking ourselves, are there no original thoughts left to produce? Listen, reboots would be fine if they were done absolutely perfectly, but most of the time we are left with the disappointing hint of what the magic once was. While it feels like a new reboot is announced almost daily, Netflix just made the decision that Fuller House would be ending after the fifth season, putting an end to the painful resurgence of the 90s treasure. Why are we often left feeling so disappointed with what we’re given when it feels like we want it so bad? Are they rushed? Or is it because they can possibly never live up to the hype, and magic of the originals?
The first problem with reboots, is that they’re often reviving shows that had ended neatly and nicely. We’re never going to get a reboot of Friends because we got 10 years of episodes that finished perfectly. Yes, I too would like to see what Ross, Rachel, Chandler, and Monica are up to with their kids (whom are all nearly 20, can you even believe that), but part of me is also glad that the Friends cast probably will never do a reboot because they’re probably still doing alright thanks to syndication, re-run, and Netflix cheques. This may be what the people want, but it is not what the people deserve, and honestly, given the reboot track record, we should all be thanking the cast of Friends.
Give us reboots of shows that were cancelled too soon, and with a cliffhanger ending nonetheless. For example, the early 2000s Ryan Murphy show Popular was cancelled following its second season, and ended with one of the main characters getting hit by a car. I have been thinking about this nearly every day since 2002. Popular was Glee with early 2000s fashion, minus all the singing, and it doesn’t matter if the cast is all in their early 40s, I need to know how this story ends. Shows that were taken too soon deserve reboots, not shows with 10-year runs that were given the decency of a proper, and happy ending.
There simply isn’t a good enough reason to bring back shows that have ended properly. The reason they probably ended in the first place was because the writers decided there was nothing else to do with the characters. IF it’s decided that there absolutely must be a reboot, please do us all a favour and make it either a one-time event (like the Love, Actually reunion for Red Nose Day), or a (very) limited series that just grants us a small glimpse into the life of the characters we loved so much. When you bring back a series indefinitely, it gets kind of disappointing after the first season, after all the hype is gone (I’m looking at you Fuller House). Another thing that tends to happen with reboots, is that they’re written to purely for the fans, and so the storylines aren’t as strong, or nearly as entertaining as they were the first time around. The writers put the characters in situations that are usually too good to be true, genuine, or even believable. We all just accept it because we’re happy to see that specific character back on our screens, instead of realizing what we’re watching isn’t actually that good.
The same can be said for reboots/remakes of popular (Disney) movies from our childhoods. While I realize that bringing back movies whose original audiences are now full blown adults, with a disposable income is a smart business move, like it or not, there is still a sense of disappointment with the finished product. This is probably because nothing can capture the same magic as seeing, or experiencing something for the first time, and the memories you have with a certain movie or show. The new Aladdin will probably be great, but if Aladdin was your favourite movie growing up, chances are there’s going to be something that doesn’t live up to your standards in the live-action remake. I have a friend that refuses to watch the Beauty and the Beast remake for this very reason. Sometimes, it’s best to leave perfection alone.
We are all so obsessed with the culture of nostalgia, but that doesn’t mean we have to try to bring back the things that were great the first time around. Nothing, and I repeat nothing; can be better than our cherished memories. Maybe the key to enjoying a reboot is not comparing it so much to the original. I can’t help but wonder if we’ll ever see an original idea ever again (alright, I’m being a bit dramatic). Do we embrace this resurgence of our nostalgia, or do we continue to critique it until all of the admiration, and magic for the originals have been drained from our cold, empty, millennial hearts? With reboots showing no signs of slowing down, it looks like we might have to keep enduring the painful disappointment of reboots for a while. I’m so sorry.