|Posted by Jason on June 5, 2018 at 8:15 AM|
Why Is Hollywood So Interested in Rebooting Old TV Shows?
Hollywood has a strong interest in rebooting old TV shows. For proof, look no further than the various projects that have either been rebooted or are being rebooted, which encompass examples that range from Thundercats to Magnum, P.I.
To some extent, this is understandable. In short, making a TV show is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor with an uncertain pay-off that won't be revealed until very late in the production process, meaning that Hollywood executives have strong incentive to minimize risks as much as possible. As a result, reboots are seen as a safe option because they are based on proven franchises, meaning that they are supposed to have pre-established viewer bases that a brand new TV show would not have. Furthermore, Hollywood loves capitalizing on nostalgia, which is a powerful force that can convince people to spend lots and lots of money on a wide range of products and services. However, it is important to note that the reality of things is a lot more complicated than this sounds.
Is This a Good Thing or Not?
There are a couple of main problems with reboots. First, TV shows are a product of their times. Second, people change on a constant basis.
The first point is important because TV shows that were well-suited for a particular period of time might not be so suitable for another period of time. Sometimes, this is because what was acceptable to show on the TV screen might no longer be so acceptable to show on the TV screen, as shown by the excellent example of a lot of old Looney Tunes cartoons. Other times, this is because tastes have changed, as shown by how a lot of 90s TV shows were obsessed with alien abductions, UFO cover-ups, and the search for identity in a world with no clear enemies in sight. Whatever the case, this means that reboots that are 100 percent faithful to their predecessors tend to struggle because they are adapted for a TV environment that is years and years out of date at best.
Of course, the people behind reboots can make up for this particular problem to some extent by making changes to make those TV shows more suitable for the current TV environment. For example, a character might be rewritten to make them more suitable for present preferences while still retaining core characteristics, which is perfectly possible but rather challenging to say the least. Unfortunately, when a reboot starts making changes, that tends to upset fans of the franchise who were looking forward to seeing something similar to what they remembered, thus resulting in a trade-off between something marketable for the present and something marketable towards the pre-established viewer base.
Regardless, this makes for a natural transition to the next point, which is that people change on a constant basis. Simply put, the people who loved something in the past aren't the same people who will watch its reboot in the present. Even if the reboot is a perfect match for its predecessor, there is no guarantee that it will receive the same reception, particularly if the franchise is meant for kids rather than adults. For that matter, it should be noted that what people remember might not necessarily be what the original TV show was actually like, which is something that adds another layer of complications to the scenario.
Once again, there are potential solutions, and once again, there are potential problems. Theoretically, a reboot can be changed to appeal to the people that the fans of the franchise have become, but in a lot of cases, this means changing some of the core characteristics that make the franchise what it is. For example, imagine making a cartoon that appeals to kids as much as the adults in their 30s who used to watch its predecessor back when they were kids as well. Certainly, it can be done, but judging by the small number of TV shows that meet said criteria, it isn't exactly something that can be accomplished in a simple and straightforward manner. On top of this, there is the additional hassle of figuring out how people remember the original TV show versus what the original TV show was actually like, which is something that calls for expensive and time-consuming market research.
Summed up, it is clear that even though a reboot can sound attractive, it is a project filled with potential pitfalls. As a result, one can't help but suspect that Hollywood would have an easier time if it was more willing to strike out with new projects instead of falling back on franchises that used to be popular at one point in time. After all, while new projects wouldn't have the ability to count on a pre-established viewer base, they would be able to appeal to the current viewers of current times without stepping on a lot of toes in the process.
With that said, there are also cases when reboots look flat-out odd. For example, there is a Thundercats reboot that will have a huge style change, with the result that it looks less like either Avatar: The Last Airbender or The Legend of Korra and more like a softer, goofier-looking Steven Universe. As a result, it is difficult to speculate what the people behind these reboots are sometimes thinking. With that said, Teen Titans Go has turned out to be a huge success in spite of the constant complaints from a significant portion of the fandom for the last series, so it's not impossible that said individuals do know what they are talking about. Combined with the fact that it has been announced that the new Thundercats will be featuring plenty of action to go along with the comedy, it is not impossible that it will turn out well after all, though interested individuals might want to keep their expectations low in that regard. After all, interested individuals can't have their hopes dashed if they had no hopes in the first place.