First of all, let me say, that because the TV Gods have heard my prayers four of my favorite shows have already been rebooted. This list would most certainly include Roseanne, Dallas, Twin Peaks and The X-Files had they not already returned, or slated to return. Also, while the reboot of Dallas was disappointing on many levels, the fact that Larry Hagman died during its run, and therefore J.R. Ewing was killed off on the show, allowed for a very comforting, albeit super sad farewell for him. Seriously, that funeral, I wept.
In no particular order, I present: The Top Five Shows I Want Rebooted.
I can’t say that I was really a fan of Frasier during its initial run on NBC. Honestly, it felt like a blight on an otherwise flawless Thursday night NBC line up at the time, but it slowly became one of my favorite programs of all time. Dr. Frasier Crane was easily the least interesting character on Cheers, so the show never should have worked in the first place, but throw in David Hyde Pierce, move Frasier to Seattle with his father, give him a zany radio show, a knack for hijinx at dinner parties and an infinite number of insecurities and you’ve got comedy gold. I think a reboot of Frasier would work best as a 12 part limited series wherein the audience gets a glimpse into the Crane family dynamic 16 years after we left them. I would want there to be no real explanation as to where they have been or what they have done, but rather a feeling that nothing has really changed, and that each episode can stand alone, like a classic sitcom, without a deeper overarching storyline. I just want to see the characters interact again in their formal glory and react to stuff like iPhone ubiquity, unicorn food trends, and Yelp. This reboot only works if the entire original cast signs on, as well as the writers. Also, Eddie is inexplicably still alive.
The Twilight Zone
So this has been done before, but I believe that now is the time that it can be revived right. Television has never been as good as it is now. While cinema seems to be struggling, renowned film directors and actors are making some amazing television. Streaming services and premium cable channels provide an outlet where creativity does not have to be stunted by time constraints or advertising. If The Twilight Zone could be given the right treatment, it could be incredible. Imagine if Quentin Tarantino or Tim Burton directed episodes. I think seasons with eight to 12 episodes would work best. Each episode could be made independent of the others, in different styles and from different genres. If great enough talent was in the writer’s room and the director’s chair, I think amazing actors would covet guest starring roles in this series. With the popularity of Stranger Things and the return of Twin Peaks, I think it is obvious that a well-done science fiction thriller, with chops will be well received.
Hear me out here. My sister and I watched Dragnet reruns on Nick at Nite religiously in the early 90’s. I was young, and there was something comforting about watching Joe Friday meticulously solve cases, by the book, with “just the facts” night after night. Dozens, nay, hundreds of police procedurals have no doubt spawned from the success of Dragnet, but none ever came close (in my opinion) to recapturing what was so wonderful about it. I think this show could be recast and remade to be much more nuanced than any of the Law & Order type crime shows that flood the airwaves today. So many of those shows pander to lurid curiosity and rely on ripped from the headlines events that involve way to much torture, rape and serial killing. I’d like to see Jon Hamm play Sgt. Joe Friday (I can dream, right?) and maybe J.K. Simmons in the role of Officer Smith/Gannon. I want the focus to be on collecting evidence to solve the crime, instead of focusing on gratuitous violence, or the personal lives of the detectives. I need the dialogue to be the sort of spit-fire, fast paced, olden timey Hollywood style of His Girl Friday mixed with constant police jargon that made the original so fun to watch. Most importantly though, this can’t be treated like it is a zany meta-Dragnet. I don’t want it to be aware of itself like the 80’s movie remake, or like the treatment Get Smart got with Steve Carell. I don’t want it to be kooky; I want a 2017 big budget, smartly written, crime noir. . . Is that too much to ask for?
Strangers with Candy
One problem with so many shows that seem like they’d be fun to reboot, is figuring out the logistics. For example, lets say Friends returns. The group is no longer in their 20’s, or living in city apartments across from each other, so it basically becomes an entirely different show that requires a great deal of premise setting. Shows that starred children have similar problems. But a show like Strangers with Candy requires absolutely no explanation, because the original premise was ridiculous to begin with. So what? Jerri Blank is now 65 and back in high school and Chuck Noblet and Geoffrey Jellineck still teach there, even though the school exploded. Give me 12 episodes of Jerri navigating high school in an era when sexting, bath salts and transgender bathrooms are topics at PTA meetings across the nation. Okay, maybe bath salts aren’t a thing anymore, but I would like to see Jerri try them.
So, I don’t know how this works, or exactly what it looks like, but that part isn’t up to me. I merely want to put it out there, that maybe Daria Morgendorffer should return to the airwaves/streamwaves (?). Her persona is very “of its time,” but somehow I think her late 90’s feminist brand of sarcastic cynicism might work perfectly in this era. Maybe she’s in her 30’s and working a pretty mundane job that provides for the same melancholy existence she had in high school, only this time around she’s forced to participate in the unpleasantness of society more often because, well, because she’s an adult and she has too. I think maybe I would feel better about being 33 and pulling weeds on a Saturday afternoon if I knew what Daria had to say about it. Obviously, she still hangs out with Jane, and Kevin, Brittany and many other characters still live in Lawndale where she is forced to encounter and tolerate them any time she is compelled to enter a public place. The show is also required to have an awesome soundtrack and at least one episode where Daria berates a group of people eating unicorn food.