Theres relief over One Day at a Time and excitement over Twin Peaks, but televisual history suggests that comebacks arent always a good thing
Yes, look, youre excited by this years Twin Peaks revival, but maybe wind it in a little bit. Sure, you loved the first season of Twin Peaks. And, sure, the nostalgia fetishist inside you has successfully managed to block out memories of the disappointing second season. But theres a good chance an overwhelmingly good chance that the revival will be rubbish. Because almost all TV revivals are.
Witness the reaction to Netflixs revival of One Day at a Time. People arent happy that they enjoyed it. Theyre stunned that they enjoyed it, given that its based on a sitcom from 42 years ago. Thats how rarely these revivals work. Look, let me put it another way: people once got excited about these shows, and look how they turned out.
A 2017 Knight Rider remake would be pointless because itd just be the adventures of an Amazon Echo that someone had glued to the inside of a Tesla. But back in 2008, NBC dared to dream. It dared to dream that an anonymously wet-mouthed idiot could take the place of David Hasselhoff. It dared to dream that Val Kilmer would make a good KITT. It dared to dream that KITT asking the protagonist Are you a homosexual? was the pinnacle of good-time fun-city lolsies. Then it realized its mistake, reduced the shows season order and cancelled it as quickly as it could.
People were excited about last years X-Files revival, even though the last three seasons and subsequent two feature films were about as much fun as pebble-dashing your own genitals. And, lo and behold, the revival ended up just as stupid. Let us do our best to wipe the memory of its dismal finale My Struggle II a nightmare piece of X-Files Tumblr fanfiction worryingly made flesh and pray that this really is the end now.
Its a miracle that the revived Dallas even made it to three seasons, given what an ungodly mishmash it was. Half of it was a creaking continuation of the original series, with Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray all returning as wobbly voiced am-dram shadows of their former selves. The other half was stuffed with shiny, preening Disney Channel moppets in unbuttoned shirts blurting out scenes one phonetically memorized syllable at a time. Awful.
By rights, the 1987 Tom Hanks/Dan Aykroyd parody should have killed Dragnet forever. It was so silly and mean that it deserved to be the final nail in the coffin of what had become an unbearably staid police procedural. And then, in 2003, Dick Wolf made LA Dragnet. It starred Ed ONeill from Modern Family and Eva Longoria from Desperate Housewives. It was hauled off air two episodes early, and nobody noticed, and thats for the best.
People stopped watching Heroes after the first season because its central mystery had been solved and the show was starting to suffocate under the weight of its own woolly mythology. Incredibly, the series lumbered on for three more seasons before the last viewer chose to politely excuse themselves. Then, five years later, creator Tim Kring cleared his throat. Its OK! he yelled. I figured out where I went wrong! Give me a mini-series and Ill fix all my mistakes! So NBC gave him a mini-series, and it was just as bad, and nobody cared, and half the audience had run away by the time it ended.
The Brady Bunch Hour
Im going to level with you here. I watch this video at least once a month. Whenever things are going wrong in my life, I press play and let this non-stop barrage of excruciating disco bilge remind me that other people have it worse. Other people made The Brady Bunch Hour. Two years after The Brady Bunch ended, the cast members were reluctantly persuaded to reunite for an hour-long variety show that required them to utilize skills that none of them actually had. The whole thing was a mess of botched jokes, palpable stage fright and backstage infighting that stands as a towering example of everything that can go wrong with TV revivals. Full episodes of The Brady Bunch Hour are available on YouTube. If youre brave enough, I dare you to watch.
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