Anyone who’s been paying attention to the entertainment-industry trades over the last two years and change realizes that a large swath of the Hollywood community is currently experiencing something along the lines of creative bankruptcy. After all, how else can one explain unlikely reboots of barely beloved properties like Tomb Raider, Cliffhanger, and the Scream trilogy? Well, up until now, the television industry has been largely exempt from the throes of reboot mania that have stormed their brethren in the filmmaking community. However, much like a case of swine flu, a slew of reboots will be making their way onto the flat panels in your living room this fall. This weekend’s Los Angeles Times took a look at two of them: NBC’s Parenthood and ABC’s The Witches of Eastwick.
In today’s increasingly fractured television landscape, it seems that both ABC and NBC are turning to established brand names as a means to help cut through the clutter. However, each network is banking on the fact that people will recall these titles but, strangely, not any real plot specifics. In fact, NBC’s president of prime-time programming, Angela Bromstad, didn’t even bother to re-watch the film on which her television show is based before giving it the greenlight. “To be honest, I haven’t watched the original Parenthood in some time,” she told the L.A. Times. “It’s sitting at my desk at home … I don’t remember the specifics, but I do remember it being a rare comment on how challenging parenthood was, but also how great.” And over at ABC, their Witches reboot ditches some of the “supernatural vagueness” of the original 1987 film in favor of “a gift specific to [the characters’] midlife hang-up.”
If these shows end up being ratings successes in spite of straying from their original plotlines, we can hardly wait to see how TV networks will respond. Maybe we’ll finally be able to get our reboot of Blue Velvet, in which the Frank Booth character is the benevolent owner of a local pastry shop, off the ground!