TV Surf Report: Creative Remakes And Nostalgic Reboots Continue To Trend In Hopes of Breaking Through The Clutter


Santa Monica, CA — Nostalgia. Escapism. Feel Good TV.

What’s Old Is New Again. And Again.

Hollywood wants to soothe The Viewer with Old Chestnuts, with new takes on familiar titles and with tales of the Future in which Mankind survives this century’s political turmoil and threat of nuclear war as well as Climate Change.

In the Age of Reality Stars As World Leaders, Hollywood thinks The Viewer needs to Escape (Lost in Space, anyone?) or to laugh (The Munsters, The Jetsons).

Broadcast, Cable and Streaming also have a marketing problem. Remakes and Reboots are one answer to the problem of breaking through the Glut of Programming and reaching The Viewer:

Consume This!

You Liked It Before Even Though You May Be Too Young To Remember It!

See Twin Peaks: The Return on Showtime.

Also, in the Age of Vertical Integration, Networks that are sister companies to Studios with vast Libraries of Content are financially bound to raid the pantry, as it were: Fargo, Hawaii Five-0, and Battlestar Galactica are good examples.

One problem I foresee is that Baby Boomers are the Programmers and are the only people who remember these titles, and yet, they are programming for Millennials, who do not know most of these series or films, returning yet again:


  • Galaxy Quest at Amazon. Paul Scheer scripts this “continuation” of the feature. No original cast members set yet. Am surprised Paramount let this go to Amazon vs. its own emerging cable network.
  • Deadwood on HBO. Ian MacShane and Timothy Olyphant are set to return in HBO’s Western famous for its salty language.
  • The Twilight Zone at CBS All Access. Jordan Peele is set to revive the classic anthology series. This feels like a winning combination of Right Time for Right Show with the Right Writer. Looking forward.
  • Blue Crush at NBC. Hawaii. Surfing. Blue Skies.  Now, this is a remake I can fully support.  The 2002 John Stockwell film starring Kate Bosworth gets made over for TV.
  • Magnum, P.I. at CBS. Really? No one under the age of 50 knows this series, so why re-boot? Jeez, CBS! Pretty lame. Blue Skies. Hawaii. Replacement for the aging Hawaii Five-O re-boot, most likely.
  • Roswell at The CW.  Aliens Among Us in New Mexico: Now With Immigrants! Thanks, Amblin TV. Ugh. Possibly compatible with the Riverdale, I suppose. Ugh.
  • Amazing Stories at Apple TV.  Bryan Fuller (American Gods) and Amblin reboot Spielberg’s anthology series for a new player in Streaming.
  • Stargate: Origins at MGM Digital. Prequel series featuring 10-minute episodes. It’s a brand new world of programming out there!
  • Black Widows at ABC.  Leonardo DiCaprio EPs this US remake of a Finnish drama about three women in a mountain town, all of whom lose their husbands in a boating accident.  Drama and intrigue ensue.
  • First Wives Club at Paramount Network. The hit film gets re-made as a half-hour show about female friendship and revenge. Tracy Oliver, the screenwriter of Girls Trip, scripts. Let’s re-make every Bette Midler film, shall we?
  • Hocus Pocus at Disney Channel. Sorry, but the original stars (Midler, Najimy, Parker) and the director (Ortega) are not involved in this re-boot/re-make. This title has more steam as a Feature, I would think, but hey, it’s a new world out there.
  • Kung Fu at Fox. Gender flip lead character gets a pilot commitment with uber-producer Greg Berlanti showrunning. Not optimistic.
  • Get Christie Love at ABC. Vin Diesel godfathers this revival of a one-season detective show from the ’70s.
  • Underworld at TBD.  Len Wiseman’s successful film franchise about Vampires versus Werewolves moves to television after wearing out its welcome in The Movies.  20th Century Fox and Sony TV are targeting premium cable/digital to broadcast/stream.
  • Das Boot at Sky. The Wolfgang Peterson film gets re-imagined for television with the update starring Lizzy Caplan, Vincent Kartheiser, and James D’Arcy. No USA broadcast partner yet.
  • True Lies at Fox. Corporate Synergy is alive and well as the network remakes a popular title from the film studio library.  James Cameron is on board to EP.  I have a good feeling about this one. Right Film. Right Network. Right Timing.
  • L.A. Confidential at CBS. Curtis Hanson’s Oscar-winning period noir detective yarn gets a TV remake. Moody and female-centric. I have a good feeling about this one. Not the first try at adapting this book/film for TV.
  • Greatest American Hero at ABC. Gender flip. Pilot commitment.
  • Perry Mason at HBO. Robert Downey Jr. stars in this reboot of the classic legal drama which starred Raymond Burr. Rolin Jones (Weeds) and Ron Fitzgerald (Friday Night Lights) script. Am hoping Downey does away with his trademark snark.
  • Starsky & Hutch at Amazon. James Gunn (GOTG) can do pretty much whatever he wants in TV, so Sony is going with the flow and re-booting this buddy cop series from the ’70s and hopefully not the Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson feature.
  • Jumper at TBD. Actor Jamie Bell and writer Julian Simpson (Doctor Who) are looking to adapt this 2008 feature which co-starred Bell (and Hayden Christiansen) as teens who teleport and who are being pursued by malevolent folk intent on their  destruction. I liked the movie.  Good idea that’s perfect for The CW or Starz.  Lionsgate produces, so I’d bet on Starz. Film is an adaptation of a series of novels by Steven Gould. The third novel, Impulse, is in development at YouTube Red with Doug Liman attached to produce/direct.
  • Your Honor at TBD. This Israeli drama, about a judge involved in a hit and run, gets a US remake. Peter Moffat (The Night Of) and Robert & Michelle King (The Good Wife) exec produce. Expect premium cable or CBS All Access to be the buyer.
  • The Jetsons at ABC.  This seems like a Hail Mary! attempt as the network will ride the Nostalgia Wave by giving Robert Zemeckis a Pilot commitment to transform the well-loved animated classic into a live-action multi-camera sitcom.  Oy vey!
  • The Birds at BBC. I am looking forward to seeing what the Brits do with this Alfred Hitchcock horror classic film.


  • The Munsters at NBC. Oh, I don’t think this was the best of Ideas, Bob Greenblatt. No one under the age of 50 knows this title.  It is the definition of an old chestnut.
  • The Karate Kid at You Tube Red.  Ralph Macchio returns in this sequel series to the successful film franchise he and Pat Morita launched several decades ago!
  • Miami Vice at NBC.  Vin Diesel scores a big title with his overall deal with Universal, so expect NBC or USA to be the first stops for this re-boot.
  • The L Word at Showtime. Original cast members eyeing a return to a Sequel rather than a re-boot of the popular and groundbreaking Lesbian drama series.
  • Teen Wolf at MTV.  All new cast. All new wolves.
  • Tales of the City at Netflix.  Hey, this series re-boot also qualifies as an adaptation thanks to author Armisted Maupin’s newspaper columns and books, but more likely, it’s a re-boot of the successful miniseries that ran on PBS and later on Showtime.  Lead actors Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis are back for more drama at 28 Barbary Lane. Update is contemporary, so I am guessing it’s Mrs. Madrigal’s swan song.
  • Tremors at SyFy. So much for re-branding. Kevin Bacon reprises his role from the 1990 cult favorite featuring giant Graboid worms out for blood! UCP and Blumhouse produce. Hope they make it fun and not take themselves seriously. Vincenzo Natali to direct. Molto Bene!
  • Herbie The Love Bug at Disney XD.  Okay, this could be fun.  Miss you, Dean Jones.  Michele Lee, are you in on it?
  • The Good Doctor  at ABC.  A re-make of a South Korean show brought to ABC Studios by Daniel Dae Kim (Hawaii Five-0).  Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel) stars as a brilliant young doctor with a handicap. Here’s the Preview Trailer
  • S.W.A. T.  at CBS. Shemar Moore stars in the TV version of the 2003 Neil Moritz film, which was a feature version of a ’70s TV series.  Justin Lin, Shawn Ryan EP with a hundred other guys, it seems. Just what audiences need:  Another cop show. Yawn.


  • Snowpiercer at TNT.  Daveed Diggs (Black-ish, Hamilton) to star. Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange) directs the TV version of Boon Joon Ho’s futuristic film about a train filled with humanity’s survivors circling the globe. Josh Friedman (Sarah Conner Chronicles) is the showrunner. Pilot order. Sign me up!
  • Charmed at TBD. The CW developed a re-boot. Netflix may have it now. So far, this way-too-soon re-boot continues to be up in the air.  Oy! Thumbs down.  The creative auspices for The CW version are from Jane the Virgin, so we shall see if this moves forward off-cycle there or at Netflix.
  • What About Bob? at NBC. Gender flip. Sounds terrible. Yet it’s the familiar title that the network (and its studio, Universal) covet. Script order.
  • Dynasty at The CW. Grant Show (Melrose Place) is the new Blake Carrington. Krystle is Latina. Fallon is ….Fallon. Series order.
  • Lost in Space at Netflix.  Series order.  Danger, Will Robinson! Am hoping for a complete re-imagining of this beloved campy classic.
  • Will & Grace at NBC.  Now, NBC has a winner of an Event Series on its hands (or Peacock feathers, if you will) here.  I predict the 10+ episodes will premiere big and ratings will diminish considerably after that…just like the original series! Remarkably, NBC has ordered a S2.  The political humor will be quite timely. The gay jokes will be tiresome. More Grace, Less Will. Here’s the Teaser for the Re-Boot
  • The X-Files at Fox.  Mulder and Scully are coming back for 10 more episodes.  You’ll have to wait until 2018, though.  Meanwhile, check out Gillian Anderson in her fantastic turn as Media on Starz’ terrific American Gods which has been picked up for S2.  Great news for fans of the book.
  • Roseanne at ABC.  I have a very bad feeling about this one.  The entire cast is on board for a revival, though, even both Beckys.
  • She’s Gotta Have It at Netflix.  Spike Lee directs all 10 episodes of the contemporary update of his feature.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess at NBC. Now, this is truly a head-scratcher. The network has killed the script written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach and put aside rebooting this beloved action series.  One would think the Peacock would take advantage of the recent success of Wonder Woman and hop on the female action train while it’s in motion. They remain open to a new take, but this should be on the fast track.


N E X T   U P:
My 53,000-mile Tune Up: An Unaffordable Care Act.



About Surfing Hollywood

Steve La Rue is an internationally recognized leader in Film & Television with 20+ years experience as a Development Executive championing such series as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Battlestar Galactica, and Farscape. He writes, blogs, and consults on All Things Entertainment from his home at the beach in Santa Monica, CA, where he balances his life by surfing every damn day.
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