TV Surf Report: Blame The Re-Boot Craze On Success … And Fear


{Updated, Sept. 24, 2019}

Santa Monica, CA — Amazon’s hit original series, Fleabag, was the big winner at this year’s Emmy Awards, and fans really really responded to Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s dark comedy about a sex addict and her S2 infatuation with a Hot Priest (played by Andrew Scott, best known as Sherlock’s nemesis, Moriarty).

I fully expect the broadcast networks to add a Hot Religious Person to every new series and pilot this season as they look to copy Fleabag‘s attraction to viewers (and to Emmy voters), so expect ABC to re-boot its ’90s series starring Tom Bosley, The Father Dowling Mysteries, with you guessed it a Priest/Trainer at Gold’s Gym who solves crimes.

Meanwhile, I finally got around to watching Netflix’ reboot of Lost in Space, one of my all-time childhood favorite TV series. The pilot felt (and looked) a bit drab introducing me to the The Robinsons, putting them into immediate jeopardy, but hooking the audience that stayed with them to the end with the introduction of Parker Posey as someone posing as Dr. Smith!

Danger Will Robinson!

I was immediately reminded of SyFy’s reboot of Battlestar Galactica, which also looked kinda drab in its pilot, but under Ron Moore’s brilliant guidance, BSG quickly found its footing and mythology which far surpassed the ABC original series from the ’80s.  BSG was so good, creatively-speaking, that it became an entertainment industry Influencer. (Note: BSG is getting another re-boot. This time, it’s for NBC/Universal’s streaming service, Peacock.)

The successful re-boot of BSG influenced a generation of executives who saw for the first time that a re-boot can far surpass its original in both content and creativity and be financially successful for the studio that owns it. BSG, the movie, has been in development for several years now at Universal.


Reboots work*.

  • Hawaii Five-O (CBS) is now in its 10th season, recovering from a public berating over losing Grace Park (BSG) and Daniel Dae-Kim (Lost). The S9 premiere is a re-imagining of the Original 1968 Pilot, “Cocoon”
  • Fuller House (Netflix) Amazingly, this TGIF re-boot is in its 4th season. Picked up for a 5th and final season. This was an unqualified success.
  • Will & Grace (NBC) renewed NBC’s faith in Comedy with its 2-season pickup. S3 will be its last, however. This re-boot has been a tremendous success for the Peacock Network.
  • The X-Files (FOX) Mulder & Scully returned for two more seasons of government conspiracies and alien abductions. The audience returned, too, but ultimately left again by the end. Gillian Anderson says she’s done. Will The X-Files stay closed for good, though? Don’t bet on it.
  • MacGyver (CBS) is now in its 3rd season, but I still have not seen it.
  • Roseanne (ABC) is mutating into The Conners for S2 following the immediate firing of Roseanne Barr after one Tweet. Sara Gilbert, John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf return to Lanford, but the show will be missing its star when it returns. Good ratings have continued, and ABC has ordered a S3.
  • Twin Peaks: The Return (Showtime) After 18 episodes, David Lynch appears to be finished with Agent Cooper & Co. No more pie for You. Some Emmy love might change that, though!
  • Dynasty (The CW) somehow eked out a S2. There’s a new Cristal, too. Not for me. Nicolette Sheridan exits after one season as Alexis. The role is to be re-cast.
  • Lost in Space (Netflix) The Jupiter 2 has been renewed for S2. Lots of twists and turns to resolve…Deadline’s Review Says This ReBoot Never Takes Off


  • Charmed (The CW) Premiered to decent ratings last Fall on Sunday nights. Original star Holly Marie Combs has been pretty vocal with her non-support. The CW has ordered a second season.
  • Beverly Hills 90210 (FOX) Most of the original cast returns for a limited 6-episode series order where they play heightened versions of themselves (not their characters) pitching a re-boot of the show.  Ratings have slid dramatically after a big opening episode. Here’s a Preview…
  • The Twilight Zone (CBS All Access) Oscar-winner Jordan Peele (Get Out) EPs and hosts the newest incarnation of this anthology classic. Adam Scott and Ginnifer Goodwin are among the actors guest-starring in episodes, which bodes well. If memory serves, a writer by the name of George R. R. Martin once wrote for CBS’ reboot many years ago. Whatever happened to him? Here are the 13 Best Episodes of Twilight Zone, via Syfy Wire.
  • Veronica Mars (Hulu) This low-rated but beloved detective series starring Kristen Bell has never lost its fan base or appeal, apparently. Eight eps. aired to good reviews. Bell says she’ll continue in the role until everyone in the fictional town of Neptune is dead.
  • Deadwood (HBO) Ian MacShane to topline a movie or limited series return to the foul-mouthed Western which is creator David Milch’s swan song due to illness.
  • Tales of the City  (Netflix) Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis reprise their roles. Not sure I want to return, though. Premiered June 7th. Ellen Page joins the cast.  Cast and storylines appear to be much more diverse than the original which is good.
  • Murphy Brown (CBS) Candace Bergen and Diane English’s update did not make it past its first re-booted season. Am not sure how well Murphy and the gang have aged and what they have to say about the current political climate. Tyne Daly joins the cast replacing Phil the Bartender. CBS passed on a S2.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch (Netflix) Originally designed as a spinoff of The CW’s Riverdale, a darker more adult series was sold to Netflix as the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Series has definitely found an audience as Netflix recently ordered 16 more episodes to comprise S3 & S4. Am doubtful Melissa Joan Hart will be making a cameo in this latest incarnation of the Archie comic. Premieres October 26th And Stars Kiernan Shipka from Mad Men
  • Roswell (The CW) The YA soap about aliens living amongst us gets a Latinx twist in this new incarnation. Just premiered to good reviews.
  • Magnum P.I. (CBS) No Tom Selleck.  He’s still on Blue Bloods.  Picked up for a second season. Viva Hawaii! Variety Says New Version Has Plenty of Action But Fails to Soar.

murphy-brown-reboot with tyne daly

Meanwhile, studios are raiding their libraries for Titles like crazy (looking at you Sony Pictures Television), and desperate Networks are buying these re-boots because they are terrified of original ideas and the challenge of marketing them to an audience that is now impossible to reach due to the glut of content.

Here are the latest Titles to be plucked from Studio Libraries in hopes of garnering a Sale at a broadcast network or streaming service:

  • Walker, Texas Ranger (TBD) CBS Studios has signed Jared Padalecki (Supernatural) to topline this reboot of the Chuck Norris series. Expect the project to land at The CW. Anna Fricke (Valor) scripts and EPs. CBS is on a roll with successful reboots of Hawaii Five-O, Magnum PI, and MacGyver, so I expect this series to work, as well. Padalecki is a Texas native and a TV star, which bodes well.
  • Battlestar Galactica (Peacock) Looks the like 13 colonies will be on the run again in a reboot of Ron Moore’s fantastic reimagining of Glen Larson’s original rip-off of Star Wars. Moore is not attached and none of his characters will be involved, so get ready for a space saga with lots of Cylons. Am guessing this ends Universal’s long gestating feature version.
  • Dark Shadows: Reincarnation (The CW) Dan Curtis’ supernatural soap opera gets updated for today’s younger viewers. Upside: More vampires, witches and werewolves from Collingswood. Mark Perry (Revenge) EPs. I was a fan of the original and watched the okay re-make on NBC but skipped the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp feature version.
  • Ultraman (Netflix) My brothers and I loved this series as kids: the terrible monsters, effects, and dubbing from Japanese to English.  So fun. So cheesy. Premieres April 1st. Here’s a Nifty Primer, per Syfywire.
  • Orphan Black (AMC) The network is going back to the Clone Conspiracy well one more time. No writer or story yet, but they’re still going!
  • Unsolved Mysteries (Netflix) Shawn Levy EPs alongside original creators Cosgrove & Meurer on this true crime documentary series.
  • Queer As Folk (Peacock) More revival than reboot, new series will focus on new characters in a new setting than the UK original and the Showtime re-make. Series was set to premiere on Bravo, however, NBC has since moved it over to its upcoming streaming service which is TBA.
  • Night Gallery (SyFy) The Rod Serling Anthology series about dark morality tales gets revived by the EPs of Teen Wolf and Midnight, Texas. Universal TV produces.
  • New York Undercover (ABC) The Fox cop drama returns with Dick Wolf as EP but presumably, new undercover cops.
  • Northern Exposure (CBS) Creators Brand and Falsey and series star Rob Morrow are in talks for a revival, so let’s all cheer on this return to quirky Cicely, Alaska.
  • Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (Showtime) Now, this revival is one I fully support as I loved creator John Logan’s beautiful three seasons chronicling Dracula, the Wolfman, and Frankenstein’s period London adventures. So much Love and Loss. The new series is set in 1930s Los Angeles. Natalie Dormer, Nathan Lane and Daniel Zovatto set to star. And, Rory Kinnear (so great as the Monster in Penny Dreadful, is set to return, presumably in a new role).  Nerdist Reminds Us Why We Loved Penny Dreadful.
  • The Real World (Facebook Watch) The groundbreaking MTV reality series about seven strangers picked to live in a house returns.  Smart move, Facebook. However, fans get to choose one of the housemates, which is less smart. Good luck! Fond memories of the first few seasons, one of which was set on Venice Beach.
  • NYPD Blue (ABC) Steven Bochco’s cop drama gets a sequel featuring the son of Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz). Here are the details via Entertainment Weekly.
  • Alias (TBD) Presumably, this will land at ABC which aired the original series that starred Jennifer Garner and was produced by J.J. Abrams. Meanwhile, Garner stars in HBO’s Camping.
  • Kung Fu (Fox). Uber producer Greg Berlanti EPs, and Albert Kim scripts this gender-flipped action procedural, Grasshopper. Variety Has The Details…
  • Party of Five (Freeform) Creators Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman reimagine their series about orphans, herein, the parents of the kids are deported to Mexico. Topical. Pilot order. Rodrigo Garcia directs. Sony Pictures TV scores another reboot!
  • Bewitched (ABC) Black-ish EP Kenya Barris and writer Yamara Taylor will bring an interracial spin to Samantha and Darrin Stevens. But who will play Gladys Kravitz??? I vote for Margo Martindale. Big pilot production commitment given to ABC Studios and to Sony TV (which owns the rights). Project has been rolled over to next year. Deadline Hollywood Has The Details …
  • Designing Women (ABC) Sony TV has been after creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason for years to re-boot Sugarbakers. Series star Dixie Carter (and the voice of Bloodworth-Thomason) passed away several years ago, I am sorry to report. This revival seems tailored for CBS, so we shall see.  Here is Bloodworth-Thomason’s Now Famous OpEd About Les Moonves at CBS.
  • Baywatch (TBD) Yes, it’s hard to keep those Los Angeles County Lifeguards off TV for long.
  • The Facts of Life (TBD) Jessica Biel of all people is EPing the reboot. I suppose she must harbor a love for the original as she is the right age to have been influenced by its 9-year run.  Original Mrs. Garrett, Charlotte Rae, just passed away.
  • Alf (TBD) From the files of No Thank You, We’re Good.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TBD) Fox 21 Studios takes over from 20th Century Fox Television to produce the re-boot. The studio has struck a deal with Joss Whedon to EP, but not to write.  He’s got his HBO series to write. Instead, Whedon will oversee Monica Breen (Midnight, Texas) who wants to kickstart a new generation of Slayers with a new ethnically diverse one. So far, this sounds like a continuation of the Buffy mythology, so I hope they use a different title then. Meanwhile, the studio is looking for the highest bidder. David Boreanaz Teases Angel Reunion, per Deadline. I would not be surprised if it goes to sister company, FX. SMG and David Boreanaz Give Their Blessing To The ReBoot, Per EW
  • Frasier (TBD, but CBS is most likely) Star Kelsey Grammar is shopping the revival so expect a deal somewhere. Paramount owns the show, so sister company CBS is the likely winner. Also, it fits their white, older demo. Update: Grammar has recently stated that the reboot was not happening. More Update: Apparently, it’s back in play!
  • Mad About You  Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser are set to revive their roles from their ’90s NBC sitcom for Spectrum Originals. Hunt is set to direct Ep1. Ho hum.
  • The Hills (MTV). Um, who cares? Not I.  Lauren Conrad is not returning. Not that I care.
  • The L Word (Showtime) The ladies are moving from West Hollywood to Silver Lake. Series order. EW Catches You Up Where The Series Left Off.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess (NBC) Seems frozen after the network passed on Javier Grillo-Marxuach’s script. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is a cultural phenomenon. Wake up, NBC!

(*) Many Re-Boots fail, though: The Bionic Woman, Dark Shadows, The Bradys, Uncle Buck, Ironside, to name a few of recent memory.

Finally, this article is actually a Re-boot, of sorts. I wrote about this depressing Trend almost one year ago. How’s that for cyclical continuity in Television?

If you want to see which Re-boots didn’t go forward from last year, CLICK ON THIS COOL LINK TO SURFING HOLLYWOOD FROM AUGUST 2017

(Hint:  That James Gunn-produced re-boot of Starsky & Hutch never happened. Darn it!)

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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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