Resurrecting the 60s and 70s? Hollywood Should Be More Cafeful
Hollywood continues their trend of resurrecting things that were old and successful for a fresh new look. The 80s has proven to be a fairly successful formula on many levels - movies like The A-Team, The Karate Kid and The Incredible Hulk - but now NBC has decided to resurrect The Munsters (pictured) for another TV run. Hollywood may want to tread carefully in reliving the pre-80s era.
A couple of weeks ago I talked about The Fall Guy coming to the big screen in 2012, and the now popular trend of 80s TV shows getting another look. My theory for this goes like this: Film companies are in the business of making money, are seemingly less likely to take a chance on an original idea (which seem to be fleeting - who is to blame for that?), so they are going to ideas that bring us back to a time when the country was prosperous (the 80's), when network TV carried more weight than it does in the wake of cable original programming, and that audience who watched these show are old enough to remember, spend some money and escape from the current state of affairs around them.
The 70s brings back memories of disco, Watergate, lines at the gas pumps -- are these good thoughts? FOX took advantage of all that was the culture of the era and made a great comedy in That 70s Show (Note that: A Comedy!) Many who truly remember and lived the 70s are now somewhere between50-60, which is not the demographic Hollywood normally targets toward. Although great TV shows came out of this era, notice how the movie "big wigs" have backed away from some of the stronger classic TV shows of the era like All In The Family and M*A*S*H*.
Let's look at ABC's attempt to re-boot Charlie's Angels ............. canceled after 3 episodes! Last year NBC had been setting up a remake of the classic Rockford Files starring Durmot Mulrooney and Beau Bridges ....... the show has never seen the light of day! Hawaii Five-O has been the exception to the rule, with the CBS show consistently in the Top-25 in the Nielsen ratings.
On the big screen Will Ferrell spoofed the 70s with Anchorman to great success (The 70s Show formula), but taking a 70s Saturday morning show like Land Of The Lost and making a movie bombed to the tune of a $30 million loss.
Now the idea of The Munsters re-boot could totally show what may be wrong with the Hollywood machine -- they already tried a remake of this show once before! The show was syndicated from 1987-1991 for a decent amount of success (72 episodes), but no major netwrok was airing it. The 60s original was a cult classic that spun 3 TV movies in the 80s and 90s, but the odds of success may not be in their favor.
Remember the brilliant idea of resurrecting the 60s classic TV series Bewitched onto the big screen? The film was considered a disappointment for Will Ferrell, and proff that the 60s time may have come and left. I know The Addams Family movies were well done and successful, and so was The Brady Bunch movies, but that was the 90s!
When too much time has past, and the people who loved the shows are older, it becomes a tougher sell to their group to get on board, plus a new audience may see this as passe. The Munsters fall in this category. They are monsters, and in the early 60s this was groundbreaking, but today we watch violent horror films and don't even bat an eye. Don't you think the novelty of a family of monsters and a normal blond haired relative seems really dated?
The creators of The Munsters (Version 3.0) seem to agree and are going to make an edgier version. MTV is trying this "edgier" idea with Teen Wolf -- the 80s cult classic flick that launched Michael J . Fox onto the big screen. Results have been mediocre at best. NBC cannot afford mediocre as a network without any scripted series of any kind in the Top-20 Nielsen Ratings.
You know it's a sad day when a critically acclaimed show like Community gets put on the shelf for a retake that has been done many times before. Good Luck NBC - I hope it works for you, but I'm betting you'll have as much success as Charlie's Angles had this year.