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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

just when you thought TV couldn’t get any worse

Please, someone make them stop. From Variety:

Broadcasters continue to raid network and studio vaults in search of old favorites to dust off. For starters, NBC is plotting a modern-day “The Partridge Family,” while CBS is looking at reviving “Hawaii Five-O” and “The Streets of San Francisco.”

More recently, the CW turned to one of Warner Bros.’ top brands — Batman — and came up with “The Graysons,” a look at the Caped Crusader’s sidekick before he became known as Robin. NBC is deep into mythology, with “Crusoe” just launching and “Jason and the Argonauts” on the way. And over at ABC, the net is looking at a new spin on the early-’80s sci-fi miniseries “V.”

It reminds me of that Onion piece from more than a decade ago, when America’s Finest News Source broke this then-troubling news:

WASHINGTON, DC—At a press conference Monday, U.S. Retro Secretary Anson Williams issued a strongly worded warning of an imminent “national retro crisis,” cautioning that “if current levels of U.S. retro consumption are allowed to continue unchecked, we may run entirely out of past by as soon as 2005.”

Obviously, we did not yet recognize all the unmined depths of the past still available to us. Just consider these new retreads the tar sands of the TV world: it’s not that the material isn’t there, it’s that you have to dig deep and utterly destroy the entertainment environment to get at them, and for little eventual return. But at least it looks like you’re doing something to solve the problem.

Back to the Variety piece:

The nostalgia factor also plays into the return of “V.” The original 1983 miniseries probably wouldn’t hold up to 2008 standards in terms of production quality, but that doesn’t matter to the millions of viewers who still remember being glued to the TV screen when the lizards tried to take over the earth.

“Whenever I mention ‘V’ to anybody, they still have a lot of good memories about the original movie and series,” says scribe Scott Peters. “It’s a science fiction icon, and too good to pass up.”

“V” will share the original’s name and basic idea, but the similarities will end there, Peters said.

That’s akin to how Sci-Fi channel resurrected “Battlestar Galactica,” which managed to score many more raves than the 1970s edition ever did, partly because it advanced and enhanced the original’s conceit.

Um, unless it’s a cable net that’s going to revamp V, it’s pretty disingenuous to liken it to BSG. I will eat a hamster, Visitor style, if I’m wrong and the new V turns out as dynamic and as darkly, deeply disturbing as BSG even at its worst.

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  • Ryan

    Although I have to agree, none of those shows sound to promising, I think TV is doing pretty well these days. You have Chuck, Heroes, Lost, Bones, House, SGA, BSG, The Office, Mad Men, Dexter, The Shield, The Tudors, Fringe and several other fairly decent shows running at the moment.

    Also, for all we know V will turn out to be as good a remake as Battlestar Galactica. After all, a LOT of people mocked the new BSG when it came out, and that turned out alright, so you never know. And even if it isn’t that good…there is a lot of room between BSG and Bionic Woman for it to fall between.

    Just sayin’

  • Shaun

    Just the thought of someone -except maybe a Jack Lord clone- saying ‘book em Danno’ on a Five-O remake makes me shudder. And after watching the new knight rider (oh god it was awful) Im not sure how much I can take.

    Are there any upcoming (in production/casting, etc) TV show remakes?. Google turned up a possible Partridge family but that seems to be early days.

  • Honestly, I’m struck by how much TV these days is either inconsistent or just agreeable. It kind of seems churlish to complain, given how crappy the medium has been even in the recent past, and I can’t deny the standards have been raised. But in a weird way I feel like TV becoming more ambitious has hurt it. My two favourite shows right now are Lost and BSG, and both can be utterly brilliant…but that just makes the weak episodes hurt all the more, especially since it’s supposed to be basically one long story. At least in the olden days, if you got a bad episode of a TV show, it was a standalone and didn’t taint the rest of the show.

    I also feel like there’s too much melodrama on TV right now. Actual adult characters are becoming rarer, because it’s more DRAMATIC!!!! for someone to EMOTE!!!! over every little thing that goes wrong.

  • Ryan

    I think the issue with TV is that we now have roughly 200-300 channels worth of programming, most running about 18 hours per day, which means there is a LOT of time to fill. (Watch C-SPAN someday if you need an example)

    On the other hand, most stations can only come up with about 3-4 hours worth of decent shows per season. (And Fox and Sci-Fi for some reason like to kill those shows first)

    The inevitable result is a LOT of terrible reality shows, poor comedies, and derivative junk, designed to fill time and suck in ads for various demographics (EG: Why have only 1 CSI or Law and Order when we could have 4!)

    However, due to the increased volume of shows, there are also more diamonds among the muck. You just need patience and a DVR to find them.

  • Drave

    What really saddens me is that two of the best new shoes ever (Chuck and Pushing Daisies) both sprang up in the year of the writer’s strike. I mean, I agree that the strike needed to happen, but talk about horrible timing. Still, I guess if the strike had happened at, say, the beginning of the reality show boom instead, it wouldn’t have had nearly as much impact. Really, I don’t think television is actually getting worse, at least not in mathematical terms. I think the polarization of quality is increasing, though. There are several shoes I absolutely love, and many that make me burn with a fiery hatred, but very few I am ambivalent about these days.

  • I seriously do not get the logic of The Graysons.

    At least with Smallville, Clark is “super”.

    Unless they totally make up their own mythology, Graysons is going to be about a kid acrobat in the circus with no connection/insert to the whole “superhero” thing. No one cares about that. And the show is doomed to the gloomiest ending you can have.

    I doubt I’m the CW’s target audience anyway, but I can’t help but try (and fail) to get my head around it.

  • NorthernStar

    I came across The Graysons rumour via scans_daily and just assumed it was a joke. I’m shocked (and just the teeniest bit pleased) that it’s not.

  • Hdj

    I bet this will be like The O.C. Only Instead of a trouble teen entering the , I was about to use the word privileged , then it came to me CW has a show named that. But anyways instead of Orange County its going to be Wayne Manor.

    I’m not Cw’s audience ether but I’m a comic fan yet I still see no reason to check this out. Heroes on the other hand applies to everyone. That and Fringe which applies to Lost fans and Xfiles fans its a win win.

  • blake

    They’re giving Robin his own show?

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