Small Screen Remakes: The Future is … Meh
Hollywood has, in the last couple of years, built an empire out of prequels and remakes.
Some of them were more successful — just think of the Oscar winning A Star Is Born — while others were failures from the very start (Death Wish, Overboard and the Taron Egerton-starring Robin Hood), each offering up just more of the same from to audiences who were hoping for something more.
Adding insult to injury, over at studios like Disney the movies of our childhood are being remade into so-called “live-action” movies – The Jungle Book has already been released, and remakes like The Lion King, Aladdin, and others are also currently in the works. The trend follows suit on the small screen, although the remakes we’ve seen last year were usually sufficiently different enough from their originals as not to feel too much like a rerun.
One of the pleasant surprises of last year’s serialized content releases was Lost in Space, loosely based on the 1965 CBS series of the same title. House of Cards’ Molly Parker brought the tough and sometimes authoritarian Maureen Robinson to life with mastery in this high-tech, 10-episode Netflix series. The only thing amiss about the series was the villain – Parker Posey’s Dr. Smith seemed not to be able to decide whether or not to be evil (spoiler: she IS evil). While it will not win many awards, and there is still a lot to be improved when it comes to plot and character development, Lost in Space is a promising beginning for what will hopefully become a long-running space opera series.
A victory for Netflix? Not so fast. The streamer produced more clangers than winners in the reboot business last year. Take The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, loosely based on a long-running comic book series that was previously adapted to the small screen both in an animated and a live-action format. The latest set of adventures lived through by the half-human 16-year-old Sabrina Spellman is a coming-of-age story with many supernatural elements that each serve to mess up the life of a teenage witch. Visually, the show is great, and it has its moments of tension and suspense but its plot has been messed up, unfortunately. Hopefully, its second season, set to be released this April, will fix all the shortcomings of the first and become the series we deserve.
Last but not least, let us mention another witch-related reboot that hit the screens in 2018. Charmed, the tale of three sisters who discover they are, in fact, powerful witches meant to save the world from… patriarchy? The original released two decades ago was true to its title — charming. However this latest iteration has been bashed by both critics and viewers for a messy script which often feels more like a political statement than an entertaining show about witches and demons. Most fans of the original call it a show nobody asked for, especially since the long-running original is still being aired. While the show does have the potential to become a good one in the future, it’s “meh” at best right now.