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TV remakes are a tricky business: For every Hawaii Five-O, you’ve got a swiftly canceled Charlie’s Angels, and though 90210 was successfully revived a few seasons ago, next-door neighbor Melrose Place drowned in its own communal pool. Still, as indicated by the recent decision to revive In Living Color, remakes aren’t going away anytime soon — and if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! Here at Vulture, we’ve trained ourselves to think like TV executives (it’s scary, and our lawyers recommend that you not try this at home), and in doing so, we’ve identified nine other recent shows that we expect will become prime remake material over the next decade. Get your cries of anguish out now, well in advance!
Off the Air Since: 2002 Why It Would Be Remade: Because, while Lost frequently creeped us out and blew our minds, there’s been very little on TV since X went away that played to viewers’ love of having the shit scared out of them on a regular basis. (Okay, there are the GOP presidential debates, but that’s a limited-run series.) After 9/11 and the rise of the tea party, paranoia and conspiracy theories are all the rage, and X would fit right into that Zeitgeist. Plus, while die-hard fans were most obsessed with the overarching Mulder and Scully alien-abduction saga, for many viewers the show was simply a great monster-of-the-week thrill ride, and decent numbers for last week’s opening episode of NBC’s Grimm shows there’s still potential in the idea of a scary procedural. Fox has the biggest brand name in that game, and it would be foolish not to try to make another go at it. Potential Story Line Involving Original Cast Member: Remember the Cigarette Smoking Man? Turns out he’s still pulling the puppet strings in D.C., this time running the campaign of an insurgent presidential campaign. Oh, wait … Projected Date of Reboot: 2013
Off the Air Since: 1994 (though Saved by the Bell: The New Class aired until 2000). Why It Would Be Remade: Gen X- and Yers still carry a torch for the gang from Bayside High (for evidence, look no further than Jimmy Fallon’s impassioned campaign to reunite the cast in 2009, or the Robot Chicken spoof a year earlier), and TeenNick has had massive success recycling its kidvid shows from the nineties. Clearly there’s a newfound nostalgia for really bad programming from the past, and a reboot of Saved could capitalize on that: Parents with tweens of their own would essentially serve as free marketing help by pitching their offspring on the virtues of the show. While TeenNick or Disney would seem logical homes for the new take on the high-school format (Disney actually aired the Saved predecessor Good Morning, Miss Bliss), we could actually see ABC bringing the show back as part of long-rumored plans to revive its TGIFriday block. Potential Story Line Involving Original Cast Member: Duh: Obviously, several of the Baysiders would now be teachers at their alma mater. But since Mark-Paul Gosselaar actually has a TV career these days and wouldn’t be interested in a regular role on the updated show, we’d like to suggest a sweeps episode in which Zack turns out to have gone to grad school at Yale and is now a Steve Jobs–like computer mogul. Having divorced Kelly, he returns to Bayside for the dedication of a new library he funded, and while there, he ends up having a brief romance with … Principal Turtle. Projected Date of Reboot: 2013
Off the Air Since: 2010 Why It Would Be Remade: When Heroes first premiered, producers flirted with the idea of replacing the cast each season as the show continues to track new “heroes” from around the world. Of course, that’s not the way it went: Instead, the series stuck with the same regulars until it had no idea what to do with them anymore (a point it reached as soon as the second season began). Still, it’s proof that the power of the show lies with its concept, and it’s a strong enough one for NBC or one of its cable channels to resurrect in a few years, once the dust has settled from the first show. Potential Story Line Involving Original Cast Member: The original Heroes liked to pull the “secretly related characters” card a little too often, so why not have Milo Ventimiglia’s Peter Petrelli show up every so often to claim paternity on our new genetic mutants? Projected Date of Reboot: 2016
Off the Air Since: 1992 Why It Would Be Remade: The Golden Girls brand has surged in recent years as a younger generation found the show (or caught up with it again) through cable reruns — it’s part of the reason that Betty White suddenly became a cultural sensation. Plus, the realization that the show counted among its writers Arrested Development’s Mitch Hurwitz and Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry has only upped its comedy cred, and it won’t take long before the idea of a reboot has real heat. If Sex and the City is getting a CW remake, why can’t a network resurrect the original bawdy lady quartet? Potential Story Line Involving Original Cast Member: Let’s just say they’d have to act fast, and leave it at that. Projected Date of Reboot: 2014
Off the Air Since: 2007 Why It Would Be Remade: 90210 and Melrose Place both got rebooted, so it seems inevitable that another SoCal nighttime soap will eventually follow suit. While The OC wasn’t as long-lived as either of those shows, it burned brightly while it was on, and it’d be an easier teen drama to resurrect than something as specific as, say, Dawson’s Creek (though we wouldn’t put that past anybody, either!). The new 90210 came eight years after the original closed up shop. Will it take Fox as long to bring back The OC? Potential Story Line Involving Original Cast Member: We don’t care exactly how the producers entice Ben McKenzie back for a November sweeps stunt — all we care about is that Chris Carmack is there to hug it out with him and offer a surprisingly warm “Welcome back to the OC, bitch!” Projected Date of Reboot: 2015
Off the Air Since: 1993 Why It Would Be Remade: It’s sci-fi, and it’s a procedural. If Syfy doesn’t resurrect Quantum Leap in the next few years (with an updated, gender-flipped twist), then it’s not even trying. Potential Story Line Involving Original Cast Member: Our new leaper finds herself in the middle of signing an autograph, then realizes whose head shot it is that she’s holding: Scott Bakula’s. “Loved you on Quantum Leap, sir — the original,” says an insistent fan. Our leaper looks into a conveniently nearby mirror to confirm the meta twist. Aaagh! Projected Date of Reboot: 2016
Off the Air Since: 1995 Why It Would Be Remade: If ABC does resurrect its TGIF block, what better show to bring back than its onetime Friday-night linchpin? When it comes to family sitcoms, the Full House brand is still a potent one (and if you don’t believe us, take a look at People magazine, which covers Jodie Sweetin like she’s Jennifer Aniston). Parents raised on the show could share it with their kids, while a nation primed on Toddlers and Tiaras and Dance Moms would be eager for a new set of Olsen twins to prod into early onset tabloid infamy. Potential Story Line Involving Original Cast Member: Let’s be honest: If they’re just going to recast the original characters, you could probably slip the eerily ageless John Stamos back into his old role and no one would even bat an eye. Projected Date of Reboot: 2014
Off the Air Since: 1994 (save for a TV movie that aired in 2002) Why It Would Be Remade: Legal franchises and soaps are two staples of prime time, but the networks haven’t had much luck with either the past few years. David E. Kelley is trying to do his legal thing with Harry’s Law, but the show is struggling, particularly with anyone under 50. He’d be much better off reteaming with old pal Steven Bochco and blessing a reboot of NBC’s classic eighties dramedy about lawyers in lust. For one thing, much has evolved in twenty years: We’re even more obsessed with celebrity than during the Reagan era, and a new L.A. Law would have countless Hollywood headlines to mine for plotlines. Potential Story Line Involving Original Cast Member: Victor Sifuentes (Jimmy Smits), having spent eight successful years serving as mayor of Los Angeles, seeks the assistance of Brackman, Van Owen & Stulwitz in his messy divorce from wife Abby Perkins (Michele Green), who left him to finally pursue a romance with longtime crush C.J. Lamb. Projected Date of Reboot: 2012
Off the Air Since: May 2010 Why It Would Be Remade: Because 24 could easily serve as Fox’s version of the James Bond franchise. Yes, Kiefer Sutherland was the heart of the show, and replacing him would be controversial. But why can’t there be a new “Jack,” a suave, kick-ass spy with an iron bladder? There are still plenty of bad guys out there who need capturing, and the conceit of following one incident over 24 hours remains as unique as ever. Fox might even consider variations on the format; perhaps the new “Jack” could be a doctor fighting a potential pandemic. Potential Story Line Involving Original Cast Member: Sherry Palmer, saved from her apparent gunshot death in season three by a Chinese special agent who’d been shadowing her, is now a Chinese national bent on revenge against her former homeland. Projected Date of Reboot: Six months after the 24 movie, assuming the movie ever happens.