What TV Show Actually Deserves a Reboot?
Some days, it seems as though Hollywood has turned into a giant recycling factory. While some rebooted properties make you exclaim “Please let dead things die,” we all have shows we love that ended too soon or unsatisfactorily, and deserve another chance.
Revivals, reboots, and remakes are dominating the entertainment zeitgeist. In the last few months alone we’ve seen plans to resurrect and reimagine properties like Charmed, Roswell, Magnum P.I., Murphy Brown, Party of Five, Deadwood, The Office, and The Twilight Zone, to name just a few. This doesn’t even take into account the number of movie titles that are being adapted into series, or movies that are receiving a reboot in cinematic form.
“What was the Trump era like creatively?” People in the future will ask, and we’ll say: “Eh, everyone just shrugged and said, ‘Fuck it, let’s remake something from an easier time.'” I like to try and imagine how these pitch meetings progress, and I’m pretty sure they go like this: “What if we remade X, only grittier, and with at least a passing nod this time to diversity?”
I’m a nostalgic person who still feels attached to shows I loved when I was 12, and I’m not against the reboot/remake/revival craze—even if it makes me worry sometimes that we’ll be left with no new ideas and nothing worth rebooting from our age in the future. But I can’t say I understand a lot of the choices for what gets another go-round (Party of Five?), especially when there are truly glorious shows that were thoughtlessly killed before their time that deserve a chance to live again.
If I could snap my fingers and order an instant revival, stat, I think that my first choice would be Farscape. In 2002, The Sci Fi channel abruptly canceled the best science fiction show on television, citing its expense and relative obscurity beyond an obsessively devoted fanbase (of which I was a member).
Farscape was a bit too much of an acquired taste for its time and limited distribution, which preceded the social media Internet. I whole-heartedly believe that if it was revived today (the miniseries doesn’t count), the show’s mix of space operatic melodrama, winking weirdness, and clever humor would garner the attention it deserved, and streaming services would ensure that it was accessible to many.
Farscape is the story of wise-cracking astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder), shot through a wormhole into the strangest outer space environs you can imagine. The living spaceship that he ends up on is populated by a colorful cast of renegade off-the-wall characters, two of whom were full-on Jim Henson puppets.
The will-they-won’t-they relationship between Crichton and Claudia Black’s tough, implacable Aeryn Sun was so hot and so full of delicious angst that it felt like #lifegoals when I was in high school. The villains who end up pursuing Crichton were some of the finest on TV, and at one point bad guy Scorpius is the reason why we get a mostly animated episode composed in Looney Toons style.
Farscape defies description. It was unique, it was smart, it was too good for this world. Bring it back. We need good these days. We deserve good.
Unlike remakes, which seem to just grab a name and a basic premise from the original, Farscape should get a full-on revival. Reunite the original cast. Pick up after the events of the Peacekeeper Wars miniseries, or retcon that entirely. It’s easy to do that when you’re set in an improbable pocket of space where anything can happen. Just get everyone back on Moya where they belong. Since 2014, there’s been buzz that Farscape would live again in movie form—it’s unclear if that will ever happen. But this was a show whose strength came from the slow build of both friendships and antipathies week after week. Farscape thrives in serial form.
Everyone I’ve heard complaining that Star Trek: Discovery has lost the warmth and humor of some of the Trek series should join me in petitioning to get Farscape back. It had grit and darkness aplenty, but also boundless hilarity and heart. Fifteen years later, I still miss it.
Which show that you adored seems to get no love in our world of recycling? What reboot would you make happen tomorrow if you could snap your fingers?
(images: The Jim Henson Company/The Sci-Fi Channel)
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