In recent years we’ve had the occasion to see countless remakes, reboots, and reimaginings of classic TV series.
Some of them were better, others, not so much.
Countless staples of popular culture have been updated to our modern times, replacing beloved characters with often lesser counterparts (after all, the reason we used to love these series was never the plot, right?). And screenwriters seem to have no intention to stop.
As we speak, we have a bunch of remade, rebooted, and reimagined series ahead of us that we can either look forward to with optimism… or fear the day their pilot airs.
Walker, Texas Ranger (The CW)
Jared Padalecki has literally grown up playing the role of Sam Winchester on the popular horror series Supernatural – he was 22 when he was cast, he’s 38 today. Now, in turn, he’s ready to put down the machete and take on a less supernatural role: he’ll take over from Chuck Norris to play the iconic Walker, Texas Ranger in an upcoming CW series.
The series called simply Walker is set to hit the airwaves on January 21, and will feature The 100 alum Lindsey Morgan, Pretty Little Liars regular Keegan Allen, veteran Mitch Pileggi, and Genevieve Padalecki (who will have a recurring role as Cordell Walker’s late wife) will join him on the screen.
While the original was called everything from “corny” to “unwatchable”, it was pretty popular. It ran for eight seasons, ended in a TV movie, and even received novelizations in the 1990s.
Battlestar Galactica (Peacock)
When you hear Battlestar Galactica you likely think of the 2003 reimagining of the story, followed by a four-seasons-long interplanetary game of cat-and-mouse between the remnants of the 12 Colonies and their Cylon opponents. The miniseries and the series that followed won a huge pile of awards, ranging from Saturns to Emmys, and all the love viewers could send its way.
Ronald D. Moore’s take on the story has become a pop culture phenom, spawning two prequel spinoffs (one of them was short-lived, the other, a web miniseries), several official and fan-made video games, a board game, and a video slot machine anyone can try at the JackpotCity online casino. The slot machine features not only the likenesses of the series’ beloved (or universally hated) characters but also the series’ amazing score by Bear McCreary and Richard Gibbs.
If we are to believe Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, the upcoming Battlestar Galactica series (set to be released through the NBCUniversal streaming service Peacock) will not be the remake of Ron Moore’s story. Instead, it will be a “new story within the mythology”. There is little to know about the upcoming version… but it’s definitely promising that Moore himself has given his blessing to Esmail’s take on the 12 Colonies.
Darkwing Duck (Disney+)
Darkwing Duck was Disney’s take on the detective genre, an homage paid to DC Comics set in the DuckTales universe. The series ran from 1991 to 1992 and tells the story of Drake Mallard, an ordinary suburban duck that has a secret: at night, he is the mysterious and superheroic Darkwing Duck.
Rumors about a potential reboot have been circulating since 2015 but it has been dismissed several times. But the success of the 2017 reboot of the popular DuckTales series apparently convinced Disney that it’s a good idea to bring the heroic duck back into action. There’s not much to be known about the new series aside from the involvement of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
Conan the Barbarian (Netflix)
Most people only know the Conan played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1980s. Truth to be told, the adaptations made since then were a bit thin. The 1997 series featuring Ralf Möller in the title role was fun to watch, and it did have some crumbs of Howard’s stories… but it could only keep viewers occupied for one season. The 2011 big-screen reboot, with Jason Momoa (minus his iconic beard) in the title role, was mediocre at best – by no means a worthy adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s works.
But all hope is not lost. This fall, Netflix struck a deal with Conan Properties International and Pathfinder Media, known for series like Mad Men, The 100, and Westwood, to produce a new series featuring the legendary brute.
The new adaptation is in its very early stages — the news speaks of Netflix currently looking for writers and showrunners. Hopefully, it will be much more faithful to Howard’s Conan novels and short stories. And even more hopefully, it will open the door for more adaptations from his literary universe, and characters like Solomon Kane, Cormac Fitzgeoffrey, Bran Mak Morn, Red Sonya of Rogatino, and king Kull of Atlantis.
Unless, of course, they screw it up… again.