As a child of the 80’s and as a teen of the 90’s, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who not only thoroughly enjoyed TV and film, but relished in their originality during those time periods. My siblings and I basked in the awesomeness of some of the TV and movies our parents allowed us to watch (my father took us to see Robocop when I was eight, for chrissakes!). The 80s and 90s were a weird, campy time when creatives took a chance with some very odd content. Alf, anyone?
As I’ve gotten older, it seems as if Hollywood’s ability to create original content is no more. And now that I’m firmly ensconced in my mid-30s, I can’t help but wonder: “Where have all of the original creatives gone?” Not that I’m necessarily complaining. It’s just that it feels a little weird to see the things you grew up with being re-purposed, re-fabricated, and sold to an audience that oftentimes has no clue about the originality of said work. I know, I know. My “get off my lawn!” steez is pretty strong, but it is an interesting topic to discuss. Besides, I have a lot of time on my hands…so there!
As of now, the following properties have, or will be, prequel-ed, rebooted, repackaged, re-fabricated, or sequel-ed (in some cases, I wasn’t alive when the original came out, but you get my point):
Cinderella (live action remake)
Beauty and The Beast (live action remake)
Winnie the Pooh (live action remake)
Spiderman (now being rebooted…again)
The Wiz (future NBC Live Musical)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Star Wars (prequels, sequels, and standalone movies on the way)
The Evil Dead
Highlander (movie turned into a pretty decent 90’s series)
The Flash (CBS series, remade into a CW series)
I’m pretty sure I’ve left out quite a few, but we can’t forget about the endless properties overseas that are then made into shitty American versions (I’m looking at you Gracepoint/Broadchurch!). Not only are we living in an endless cycle of prequels, reboots, and sequels, we are now seeing the rise of what I like to affectionately refer to as the “Resequel” (trademarked…calling it!). A resequel isn’t necessarily a prequel, reboot, sequel, or even a requel. It can be unofficially defined as a slight re-working of a once beloved creative property. The number of years between the original and the new “thing” are too few, and you don’t want to risk the chance of alienating the original audience. Therefore, studios decide to come up with a bit of continuity that retains the vision and quality of the original (Girl Meets World comes to mind). So far we have the following resequels to look forward to: The X-Files, Twin Peaks, Coach, and even Full House. Yes. That Full House, now being referred to as Fuller House. But why the rush to creating things that we’ve seen before? I’ll let the following GIF explain:
That’s right folks: money. The almighty dollar. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? It’s not that Hollywood is unable to create original content anymore. It just won’t. It’s a lot easier to sell someone something familiar, which tends to be the American way. Our need for comfort and stability is only capped by our need for money. Put it together, and you have a goldmine. But nostalgia can also be a misguided tool, and maybe the original didn’t seem all that pristine to begin with. In the trailer for Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, Naomi Watts’ character utters a line describing a pair of 25 year-old hipsters she and her husband, played by Ben Stiller, befriend:
“It’s like their apartment is full of everything we once threw out, but it looks so good the way they have it.”
And maybe that’s it. Maybe Hollywood is saying “we can make that better”. Maybe they are trying, and haven’t just run out of ideas. Maybe Hollywood will, at some point, return to it’s former glory of original content, and avoid mining everything from my beloved childhood. Besides, it’s not like they’re going to make a Play-Doh Movie. Right? Right?! *scrolls through Deadline’s Twitter feed*…Damnit!!!