What’s not to love about a television series getting rebooted? In theory, it takes a popular series and gives it a fresh cast, a modern twist and an chance to present new storylines. While some shows nail it right on the head, other times there’s TV reboots that, well, miss the mark.
Their litany of failings may include shoddy acting, vanilla and boring storylines or a script that is just too helter-skelter. Whatever the case may be, for every good TV reboot there’s at least three that fail to capture the entertainment and joy which the original provided.
In saying that, here’s three TV reboots you shouldn’t feel bad about never seeing. And three you should definitely check out.
Three TV Reboots You Can Skip
Original: 2001-2014, eight seasons
Reboot: 2017, one season
The original 24 was a unique and intense roller-coaster ride of a TV show. Kiefer Sutherland starred as Jack Bauer, a counter-terrorism agent, with each season consisting of one day in chronological order. The show was broken into 24 episodes, with each episode acting as one hour in the day. Bauer, season after season, would continuously thwart efforts to bring down the United States, be it biological attacks, Presidential assassinations or major bombings. A long-running theme of the show, Bauer always tip-toed the line of morality, many times doing something criminal under the guise of “the end justifies the means.” Along with his trademark satchel and ability to cross Los Angeles during rush hour in 45 minutes, every season featured action, plot twists, new characters and returning faces, while never failing the entertain.
24: Legacy, set seven years after the eighth and final season, however, didn’t carry quite the same way. Legacy sports an all-new cast, and features a former Army Ranger. While each episode was again one hour in real-time, the 12-episode season (which features a 12-hour jump between the 11th and 12th episodes) failed to improve upon the flaws which the original 24. Furthermore, it didn’t add anything new and fresh to the series. With mediocre-at-best reviews, including the least viewers for a post-Super Bowl program (when the first episode aired) in almost 15 years, 24: Legacy was cancelled after just one season.
But fear not, as Fox has announced it plans of creating a new spinoff series.
Original: 1985-1992, seven seasons
Reboot: 2016-present, three seasons
The original MacGyver was a rare blend: an action hero AND a man of science. With Richard Dean Anderson playing secret agent Angus MacGyver for the fictional Department of External Services, MacGyver was the ultimate problem solver. His ability to solve complex issues, under immense pressure, became the focal point of the show. But it’s his ingenuity in taking ordinary objects and household items (with his trusty Swiss Army knife), along with his preference to use non-violent solutions that made fans fall in love with the show.
The new MacGyver was renewed for a third season late last year. However, it received unfavourable reviews. Yes, the characters remain the same, along with his Swiss Army knife. Nevertheless, most critics have cited a lack of charisma from the cast (including new lead Lucas Till) and bland story lines for its failing to live up to the original. You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel. If you make it less exciting and devoid of anything new, though, then you’re better off with the old wheel, aren’t you?
Original: 1987-1995, eight seasons
Reboot: 2016-present, four seasons
Full House chronicles the life and times of Danny Tanner. This popular, family-based sitcom acted as a platform to launch such names as Bob Saget, John Stamos and both Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Telling the story of Tanner and his three daughters, whom he gets help raising from his brother-in-law Jesse and his best friend Joey, Full House managed to keep the entire original cast through all eight seasons. As ratings improved in following seasons, the show then gained a cult following.
Unlike the other two TV reboots on this list, Fuller House was watched through streaming giant Netflix and keeps the majority of the original cast. In fact, only the Olsen twins were not involved. The show is centered around an adult D.J. Tanner, who has three sons and lives in her family home along with her sister Stephanie and best friend Kimmy. While they flipped the script and kept so many familiar faces, critics noted that it ran many of the same jokes and offered very little beyond a feeling of nostalgia for original fans.
Three Reboots Worth Checking Out
Original: 1993-2002, nine seasons
Reboot: 2016-2018, two seasons
OK, this isn’t so much a reboot as a continuation of the storyline. Just 14 years later! Still featuring Mulder, Scully, Skinner and Smoking Man, the final two seasons brought Scully and Mulder back together. The duo pursued dual plots of finally foiling the government-conspiracy-alien-takeover plot, while also finding their son William, who was naturally a key to everything. The show retained its signature paranormal, sometimes just weird, cases, dry humour and a new skepticism from Mulder. All told, fans warmly welcomed the final two seasons of The X-Files. They also provided great closure to so many questions the show had left us 15 years prior.
Original: 1983, 1 season
Reboot: 2009-2011, 2 seasons
V is actually a strange case, as the “original” was just a two-part miniseries. It’s not an overly complex story, either. A race of advanced aliens appear on Earth, bringing a message of peace and willing to work with humans for mutual benefits. However, they actually have more insidious intentions in mind.
The reboot, 26 years later, ran 22 episodes over two seasons. It featured Elizabeth Mitchell, Morris Chestnut and one of my personal favourites, Morena Baccarin. V had very good ratings right out of the gate. This was helped by the TV reboots great visual effects and strong blend of action, mystery and questioning societal values. Some reviewers went so far as to call the show an allegory to the then-new presidency of Barack Obama.
Unfortunately for the reboot, the ratings stagnated in the latter half of the first season and the second season. The show’s cancellation took place soon after.
Original: 2001-2002, two seasons
Reboot: 2005-2013, nine seasons
To prove that TV reboots come in all shapes and sizes, The Office is an adaptation of the popular UK series. The U.S. version featured all the goofiness, interviews and the trials/tribulations of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. It also launched careers for Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Ed Helms and Jenna Fischer.
The Ricky Gervais-led UK version was quite popular, and the U.S. version was a smashing success. It received 42 Primetime Emmy Nominations, ranks as one of NBC’s highest-rated shows ever, and has had a lasting cultural impact. Would the United States welcome the show, though? As one of the show’s most famous quotes go, “‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’ – Wayne Gretzky” – Michael Scott.