16 Feb TO REBOOT OR NOT TO REBOOT
We are all familiar with the feeling of déjà vu. While this may be a mere psychological phenomenon, the reproduction of old movies and shows is an actual reality. It’s happening, and more than it ever has before. The recognizable storylines, characters, and settings associated with some of the most popular shows and movies of the past are reappearing decades later, updated to fit their now older audience, but still laced with the familiarity of the original version. This ‘nostalgia-trend’ that the entertainment industry is catering to is not a new concept and is definitely not limited to films and movies alone. Music, fashion, beauty, and even food are reverting to the ‘so-called’ simpler times of the 80s, 90s, and early 00s. Every few decades, it seems that the nostalgia craze takes over, usually led by those who were too young to enjoy the trends as they were occurring but supported by those who were a part of them and were sad to see them go. Fan-favourite shows and movies from that era like Gossip Girl, iCarly, Home Alone, and She’s All That, are only a few of the recent productions to announce their return that, like many reboots before them, have been met with mixed opinions.
Unlike the other industries engulfed by the nostalgia-trend, the entertainment industry often has the hardest struggle getting fans on-board. While it might seem strange for this to be true because of the sheer popularity of the originals, it is the feelings and memories associated with those films that cannot be replicated. Reboots can sometimes serve to support one’s love for the original by standing well on their own. In other cases (which we more-often see) reboots can leave a bittersweet taste in our mouth, changing and sometimes even ruining our whole perception of the original production. So, what criteria makes a reboot a hit or a miss? By figuring this out, and why they continue getting picked up, let’s see if we can find a conclusive side on the age-old debate; To Reboot or Not to Reboot?
The best reboots often share similarities and have the same concept as the original but do so with an adapted storyline, new characters and top-tier production quality. While they hold the original fans’ attention, the show or movie is also making a name for itself on its own. The combination of these features allows it to grasp the attention of a new and old audience who are either familiar with the classic or are watching it with completely fresh eyes.
Interestingly enough, one of the biggest movies of 2018 that received eight Academy Award nominations and one win was a remake. A Star is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, two huge faces in Hollywood, were the leads of the 4th adaptation of the movie since the original in 1937. Over its four versions, the movie has featured some of the most esteemed actors and musical talents of that time, making it an even more challenging film to remake and live up to the originals. For this reason, the high production quality is almost a guarantee. The 2018 adaption contained all the qualities of a hit remake, featuring a captivating and original storyline, new characters, and an amazing soundtrack that all stayed true to the original feature’s qualities and intentions.
When a reboot is done right, it is evident that it can garner even more praise and success than the originals, but when it is done wrong, it might be best to look away…
We all know the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, this is exactly the way many people have felt about reboots throughout the years. I’m going to be honest; figuring out reboots that have missed the mark was pretty difficult – which may have been my own doing of forgetting them for the sake of saving my perceptions of the originals. Since there have been so many reboots, it was that much harder to narrow it down. The easiest way to explain the qualities of a bad reboot is by thinking about those that make a hit and picturing the opposite; ones that use the same storyline, the same characters, and show an obvious lack of effort in the production quality. To put it bluntly, reboots look lazy. When audiences feel their support towards the original is made into a cash grab through a lacklustre reboot, the whole franchise can be damaged.
Fuller House serves as a prime example of reboots missing the mark. Based on the original 80’s to 90’s hit sitcom Full House, Fuller House follows a pretty similar plot as the original but with the daughters taking over the parental roles of Danny, Jesse and Joey. Although the show was updated to feel more in tune with the current decade, it failed to bring anything new or exciting to the franchise to make it stand up well against the original. Although newer, and more specifically, younger viewers may enjoy it, the show targeted itself directly to Full House’s original fans, relying primarily on the original nostalgic essence to overcome its subpar production quality. The continuation of PG content in the storyline targeted at a now older audience is confusing and explains why the show was not the most well-received. Even looking at the original, it wasn’t anything extraordinary but was primarily enjoyable for its place amongst the other family shows you watched growing up. These aspects that are irreplicable to the original show are sorely missed in the reboot. Though viewers can still enjoy the reboot, it falls flat in generating the same feelings and watch-ability that made the original so successful.
Here’s the thing; reboots are always going to generate mixed opinions, just like anything else in the world. Movies and tv especially are some of the most subjective creations. And though an end to reboots doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon, being able to spot out the makings of a good reboot will save a lot of time and energy for the viewer. Reboots hold a lot of value for entertainment companies through the already generated concept and fan attention that guarantees a profit. But they just as well have the opportunity to hurt the whole franchise if the production is not up to par. So, while the announcement of new reboots will continue, let’s keep our fingers crossed that the future ones we watch will be a nostalgic success.
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: Miguel E on Dribble