By John Zakour
Yes, rebooting is all the rage these days. Hell, we’ve discussed it in depth in our article about cartoon reboots that came back as garbage, cartoon characters that can’t stop evolving, and even cartoon character tropes that won’t go away. But now, we’re going to to it to the realm of live action, good old fashion television with people. Like they say, nothing is new under the sun or originality is dead. Murphy Brown, Magnum, Charlie’s Angels, Full House, One Day at a Time have all been rebooted to mixed (and less then stellar) results. (Although I’ll hand it to One Day at a Time for surpassing the source material.)
Currently, there is talk and rumblings of rebooting Fraiser, one of TV’s greatest shows, mostly because Kelsey Grammer seems to be available and willing. It got me thinking about some of my other favorite shows of all time, with hopes that they will never be rebooted and will stay the holy masterpieces that they currently are.
Because remember, kids:
The best way to enjoy the old Voltron is in your memories – Jay Sullivan
Ah, the classic Korean War comedy that ran on CBS from 1972 to 1983. The series lasted longer than the war. This very well may have been the first Dramedy where episodes like “Sometimes you hear the bullet” mixed amazing comedy and one-liners with truly tear-jerky moments. M*A*S*H had a fantastic ensemble cast lead by Alan Alda and crisp on point writing.
During it’s run MASH was nominated for over 100 Emmy awards winning 14. While it was never the number one TV show after its first season (where it ended up 46th) it was constantly in the top 10 with viewership of at 22 million people. It was a runway hit network show that managed to show the horror of war (in a network TV way) and the power of the human spirit. It was made even more powerful by the fact that when it debuted America was still in the Vietnam war.
Why MASH shouldn’t be rebooted:
MASH took a season to find its viewership, something that networks (well besides the CW) don’t allow shows to do any longer. But that’s not why it shouldn’t be rebooted. M*A*S*H was one of those shows where the timing, the cast and the writing just clicked. Being in the thralls of a terrible war, America needed a show like MASH and MASH delivered.
The classic American bar comedy that ran for 11 seasons on NBC from 1982 to 1993. Cheers was another show that took its time gaining its audience going from the 74th ranked show in 1982, to the 34th in 1983, to the 12 in 84. After that it would never leave the top 10. Two of its episodes “Thanks giving orphans” and “Home is the Sailor” made TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of ALL Time” list. Cheers won 24 Emmy awards. Cheers also boasted one of the great casts of all time headed by Ted Danson for all 11 seasons and joined by Shelly Long, Woody Harrelson, Rhea Perlman, George Wendt, John Ratzenberger and Kelsey Grammer who would spin off to his own amazing show.
Why shouldn’t Cheers be rebooted?
Once again you have an amazing cast that just clicked perfectly with each other. The show was also quietly helmed by Ted Danson who may very well be one of the great TV actors of all time. He always seems to find himself on a hit show. Ted Danson is currently on the very amazing The Good Place. A show that in ten or twenty years writers might be putting on their lists for greatest shows of all time. If you haven’t seen The Good Place, go check it out. But that’s not the only reason. The writing and cast just messed perfectly together. I can’t remember a bad episode of Cheers or a badly cast character. The laid back atmosphere worked well with the hyper 80s.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Mary Tyler Moore Show ran on CBS from September 1970 until March 1977. This show was one the first shows to feature and unmarried career minded woman. It won best comedy three times. While MTM did not launch the careers of Edward Asner, Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, Cloris Leachman, Betty White and Georgia Engel it made them all household names. While the show centered on the titular character all the other characters were just as remarkable. Heck Leachman, White, Engel are still going strong today. The former two in their 90s.
Why shouldn’t The Mary Tyler Moore Show be rebooted?
Well for one thing, Mary Tyler Moore is no longer with us and it wouldn’t seem right having somebody else in the title role. Also, today the story of a single woman forging ahead in business and in life would not be at all unique. Plus, once again it would be hard to recapture the newsroom magic of the 70s. Look at Murphy Brown, another show that centered around a woman in the news industry. Of course, Murphy Brown was much more openly political and opinionated than Mary Tyler Moore.
The reboot of Murphy Brown though has been lackluster to at best, which is why it was no surprised when it was recently announced that it’s been cancelled.
Married with Children
This is actually the show that put Fox on the map. The show which ran from 1987 to 1997 centered around the life of poor Al Bundy (Ed O’Neil), a man who peaked in high school and now lives the life of a shoe salesman in suburban Chicago. He has an obnoxious wife, Peggy (the amazing Katey Sagal). A bimbo daughter Kelly (Christina Applegate) and a wise cracking, girl crazed son, Bud (David Garrison). The show really focused on Al and how he really can’t seem to get a break in life. However, the best part about Al was that he was secretly a garbage person who adhered to one of PopLurker’s favorite husband tropes.
The show was never a huge hit but it has been reproduced in 13 different countries. The show produced a couple of spin offs, one staring Matt LeBlanc but the spin offs all died young. The show was crass (by TV standards) and fairly crude at times. But it was also funny as anything. In many ways it paved the road for The Simpsons which would later become the network’s darling.
Here’s why Married With Children should not be rebooted, in spite of clear efforts from the network:
Quite frankly Married was so politically incorrect: Al insulting Peggy, Al lusting after “cartoonist bimbos” with bra sizes larger than their IQs, Peggy being a totally stay at home mom who seemingly did nothing…or even the Bundy family being homeowners with seemingly zero income. The show just wouldn’t fly with today’s #metoo audience. It’s amazing how things change in 20 years.
Babylon 5 was the epic science fiction show that first ran on the Warner Brother’s Prime Time Entertainment Network, the same one which would sort of kind of become the WB. The pilot movie in 1993 lead to 5 seasons each covering a different year 2258 – 2262 (and beyond) of the life of space station that is the “center for inter-species collaboration”. A place where all the known species could hang out and argue and well learn to get along. The show covered such topics as Order vs Chaos, How keeping the piece can be hard than making war, religion and addiction. The show’s creator J. Micheal Straczynski penned 92 of 110 episodes. Babylon 5 was one of the first TV shows to use CGI. The show won two Emmy awards and two Hugo awards amount it’s many honors.
Why Babylon 5 shouldn’t be rebooted:
There is a talk of a feature movie. There is talk of another series. But due to rights issues we may never see another version of Babylon 5. Which would be okay, really. Not that more Babylon 5 wouldn’t be fun, but the first run was so smooth and so well done this might be a case for leaving greatness alone.
- Taxi: It would have to be uber now.
- Either of the first two Bob Newhart shows: let Bob keep doing guest roles.
- Saint Elsewhere: though if they did reboot it they should redo the last episode.
- The Office: it’s just too soon, too soon.
- Parks and Rec: way too soon.
- Family Matters: We need no more Urkel. Ever. Besides, nerds are the cool kids now. Take that, Winslows.
- WKRP in Cincinnati: it would have to be on Sirius now. And no, turkeys still can’t fly.