I’m not sure what it says when they start recycling TV shows from my childhood. The entertainment industry would like us to think they are “re-envisioning” them. But they’re not. They’re recycling them, complete with the same names (show and sometimes characters), premise, plot, etc.
I didn’t get to watch much TV as a child. Until about the mid-1980s, the only things I was allowed to watch were PBS shows like 3-2-1 Contact and Sesame Street, the Muppet Show, sports (go Detroit!), and sci-fi (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, etc.). As a very young child I’d secretly stay up and lay at the top of the stairs so I could peer downstairs into the TV room and watch Masterpiece Theater when my parents did (yes, I’m a dork). That’s it. Even once my options opened up, I didn’t watch much TV as I had plenty of after school activities going on. Ultimately what this means is that you do NOT want me on your team for games involving pop culture knowledge from the ’70s, ’80s and most of the ’90s as I have practically none.
But even I know the shows they’re recycling. It started with Battlestar Galactica. I was worried. I loved loved loved this show as a child. The robotic dog. The bizarre basketball/rugby-like game pyramid. The viper fights with the Cylons. It rocked. So when I learned the SciFi channel was going to recycle it, I was worried. Really worried. Especially when I found out in the “new” Battlestar Galactica version Starbuck was going to be a girl! But I gave it a chance, and after watching the mini-series I was hooked. I give the SciFi channel props for doing it right. They respected the original, and then took it to a new level. They truly did re-envision it, adding new layers such as Cylons being creepy and evil human looking robots (truly indistinguishable from humans) rather than only silver and black evil centurion robots. Sadly, this upcoming season will be the last.
Then the network channels started getting into the recycling bit. There was Bionic Woman, which was an epic failure. Now there’s Knight Rider. Yes, I stayed up and watched the 2 hour “movie” (why? I still haven’t figured out why I did…curiosity maybe? and yes, I know I need help…moving on). And of course, the Hoff made a guest appearance at the end (you knew it would happen). The show has the exact same premise as the first one, but they’ve tried to tie it to the old version so it appears to be a continuation of the old rather than just a recycling of it. Nice attempt but not so much success with that, sorry. I haven’t decided if they’ve succeeded yet with the show in general as it definitely has the potential to be an epic failure like Bionic Woman. But the car, KITT, is just as awesome as it was in the original. The car and it’s biting sarcasm was the only redeeming quality of the original series (you know it’s true…the car always had the best lines!). So props for nailing the car coolness factor. I reserve judgment on everything else. [Apparently the ratings were high enough to actually make the series…I’m a bit ashamed I contributed to that by watching it.]
We’re seeing this recycling in full-length movies as well. War of the Worlds. Transformers. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. G.I. Joe. Even Smurfs! (Oh God why the Smurfs?!? Not a good idea, just not.) Has the entertainment industry run out of original ideas? Or is this nostalgia?
Anyone want to guess what show they will recycle next?