ATV Today’s editor Doug Lambert ponders shows that television producers and commissioners should never consider reviving.
There is now a trend in television to look to the past in order to find the next big hit, with broadcasters reviving more and more popular shows and giving them a modern-day makeover. While there are wish lists of shows fans would love to see come back, be it as a remake or a continuation, there are some show’s that should be left in the past and here we name and shame the shows that should forever be resigned to the vaults.
Old shows are seemingly back in fashion with broadcasters lining up to bring back a popular drama, soap or Sci Fi and give it a modern-day makeover, or “re-imaging”. “Re-imaging” something is a buzz word nowadays for producers thanks to the highly successful “reimaging” of Battlestar Galactica but not all “reboots” have been successful. The Bionic Woman for instance flopped and was killed off by the writers’ strike and it looks like Knight Rider could also be axed as ratings continue to decline.
On this side of the pond the revived Doctor Who continues to perform well for the BBC but the reimaged Survivors is losing ratings placing its future in doubt. Meanwhile Sky One announced earlier this year that it would bring back Blakes 7, complete with a modern makeover. Whether the proposed modern Blakes 7 makes it to screens remains to be seen but if it did it would have to win over old fans, something perhaps these reimaged shows struggle with.
There are plenty other shows out there crying for a remake or just to be revived and earlier this week we listed several such Sci Fi’s but in this feature we’re going to name some show’s that just shouldn’t come back. We’re going to name and shame the shows that just shouldn’t have made it onto our screens and now deserve to be confined to those archives.
Doctor Who has bucked the reboot trend and proved a success.
To be honest there isn’t really a way this series could be revived given the direction of the re-imaged Battlestar Galactica. When the original BSG was cancelled in 1979 there was an outcry from fans and eventually ABC, the show’s broadcaster, relented and decided to bring the series back. But Galactica would return in a new slot, a family slot, and would have its budget cut. ABC wanted the show to be produced on a small budget but bring in ratings so it’s little wonder most of BSG’s cast declined to return – they could see how the series would pan out.
Galactica 1980 was a sequel series set thirty years after the events of the original show and most of the characters from that are dead, bar three. The Galactica finds Earth and its, well 1980, and the series starts here. Unfortunately there’s a super-smart brat just crying out to be shot by the Cylons and a bunch of stories that bar the first don’t really entertain. To make matters worse there’s another group of brats introduced early on who then dominate most of the action and it lets the whole thing down. Galactica 1980 just doesn’t life up to the memory of Battlestar Galactica and was axed as ratings fell – rather unsurprisingly.
Thankfully given how the “reimaged” Battlestar Galactica is panning out there’s little chance of this series ever being remade. Given that producers have already got another spin-off series in development, prequel Caprica, there’s little chance of another entry in the BSG franchise – producers won’t want to dilute the franchise too much.
A 1970s series on the BBC by Terrence Dicks and Barry Letts who were also involved with Doctor Who at the time. Maybe this was an attempt at capturing the spirit of Space 1999, which was also set on a moonbase, but this beeb effort lasted only six episodes before being dropped.
There’s little drama in the production and its horribly middle class and obviously produced on a limited budget. While this can lead to creativity on the part of set designers and writers all it lead to here was a production produced on a limited budget. It was plain to see that were wasn’t a lot of money to spend so no lavish sets or big special effects shots.
The opening episode is also painfully slow with little happening to draw audiences in from the word go, there’s no big grab. The series has mostly been forgotten about now and although it was released on DVD a few years back you’d be hard pushed to find anyone who actually owns the DVD or even remembers the series.
A soap that shouldn’t really need any introduction as its synonymous with sensationalist, gritty and, often or not, depressing storylines. Brookside was Channel Four’s Liverpool soap that ran from 1982 to 2003 and was created by Phil Redmond, who had created Grange Hill a few years before. In the 1980s Brookside was a trendsetter with its gritty portrayal of life on the Close and tackling subjects other soaps hadn’t or had only lightly touched on. It won legions of fans and launched the careers of many stars.
As the soap entered the 1990’s it became more sensationalist in order to grab headlines and retain Brookside, Lime Picturesviewers and had a series of high profile, big storylines such as Body under the patio, the lesbian kiss, the cult storyline and even a plague storyline. By the mid 90’s Brookside was relying on big stunts in order to bring in audiences and this reliance was its downfall. Fires, explosions, car crashes and gangsters were now a regular occurrence on Brookside and then there was Lindsey Corkhill. Lindsey was seemingly a sweet chip shop worker with a young daughter but she underwent a transformation and became a bisexual, gun waving gangster and her put upon mother, Jackie, also became bisexual – having a fling with her daughter’s girlfriend.
Brookside was in a decline which lasted for five years and viewers left the soap in droves as it became unbelievable. As the soap celebrated 20 years it underwent revamp in order to save it. The soap was to go back to its roots and back to reality, with another siege and a helicopter crash. Channel Four axed it shortly after. By the end Brookside had lost its way and had become grim, depressing and out of touch with its audience and the final episode proved that as Jimmy Corkhill ranted about society but failed to realise society had moved on and Brookside hadn’t. Viewers didn’t want dull, depressing and grim storylines they wanted a soap with a balance of storylines. Brookside was good in its heyday but bad in its decline.