Content Shifter: 9 Upcoming TV Reboots
New versions of old TV shows aren’t always a bad idea—have you seen the Kids in the Hall reboot? Perfection. But mostly, it’s just media conglomerates throwing rehashed intellectual properties at the wall to see what sticks. Who asked for CSI: Vegas? Bel-Air? Walker? You, if you’re a CEO reading this on your third yacht—congrats on having some modicum of taste.
Here are nine reboots currently in the works that will either be supreme wastes of time and money or mildly watchable, maybe even—dare to dream—good.
Mike Judge’s Beavis & Butt-Head (Paramount+)
This one has already happened. Following up the Beavis & Butt-Head Do the Universe movie from earlier this year (which didn’t suck—take note, South Park), Paramount+ rolled out the all-new-ish Mike Judge’s Beavis & Butt-Head on August 4. They’re the same moronic teens, but now they have hot takes on current pop culture and music videos. B&B won’t survive “WAP.”
Criminal Minds (Paramount+)
CBS’ Criminal Minds ended after 15 seasons and 324 episodes just two years ago—the dismembered body in the Chick-fil-A dumpster isn’t even cold yet. Most of the cast and creatives are back for the reboot; this time around, they’ll be tracking a serial killer who’s set up a chop-shop network during the pandemic (again, too soon). Yeah, I’ll probably watch it.
Time-traveling sci-fi comedy Quantum Leap was never a ratings winner in the ’90s, but NBCUniversal still owns it, and they’re going wring out every cent left. At least the new Quantum Leap follows the positive reboot trend of making these shows less Caucasian (relax, whitey, you’re not being “replaced”) with a lead actor of Korean descent. But essential? Nah.
Ally McBeal (Hulu)
Ally McBeal, which ran from 1997 to 2002 on Fox, was a “quirky” and “sexy” legal dramedy that would probably be viewed as “problematic” and “hypercringe” today. Still, that’s not going to stop the IP-owning studio from dusting off Calista Flockhart and the rest of the cast for a “limited series” nostalgia wallow. Good luck getting Ally McBeal alum Robert Downey Jr. back.
Star Kelsey Grammer is all over it, but the rest of the cast of 1993–2004 comedy Frasier is completely in the dark about the reboot. Can Frasier be (re)done without Niles (David Hyde Pierce), Roz (Peri Gilpin), and Daphne (Jane Leeves)? Hell to the no. The reason the 2017 Will & Grace reboot worked so well was the O.G. ensemble. Can you name a solo Grammer hit? Nope.
Southern gothic vampire soap opera True Blood produced maybe three decent seasons, even though it ran for seven. HBO announced a reboot almost two years ago but has imparted little new info since. If the True Blood reboot does happen, it should really return as a wacky vampire comedy, a la What We Do in the Shadows. I’d watch the hell out of that, and so would you.
WTF? The original Max Headroom ran for two mid-rated seasons in the late ’80s, but it’s been far off the pop-cultural radar for over 30 years—why a reboot now? Old Max Headroom episodes aren’t exactly blowing up on Tubi, but since we’re now living in a dystopian future populated with artificial intelligence TV personalities—the Kardashians aren’t real—why not?
Everybody from the original 1984–1992 comedy Night Court is dead (except Yakov Smirnoff, as per Satan’s plan). Wait, John Larroquette is still alive and costarring in the reboot? Huh. The new Night Court will also star Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory) as Judge Abby Stone, the daughter (of course) of the late Judge Harry Stone. Might work, might not (see Frasier above).
Party Down (Starz)
Speaking of getting the cast back together, the reboot of the 2010–2011 cult comedy Party Down has miraculously retained stars Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Jane Lynch, Martin Starr, Ryan Hansen and Megan Mullally—but not Lizzy Caplan. The Hollywood cater-waiter satire still has Kids in the Hall comeback potential, even without Caplan … I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Recent Reboots That Worked: The Equalizer, Fantasy Island, The Kids in the Hall, Kung Fu, Perry Mason, Twin Peaks, Veronica Mars, Will & Grace.
Recent Reboots That Sucked: Bel-Air, Charmed, CSI: Vegas, Head of the Class, MacGyver, Magnum P.I., Murphy Brown, Punky Brewster, Saved by the Bell, Walker.