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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

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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