This is a bad idea

by Paul William Tenny

You can either be serious about a remake, embracing what was once good, re-discovering what made it magical and wonderful and then give it some a new that extra little thing that takes it to the next level and then let it loose on the world so that we can enjoy it all over again like The Bearded One did with Battlestar Galactica, ...

..or you can do what NBC does by filling a blender with the audience's fond memories and hopes for future enlightenment, turning it on, and then jamming your own hand in there grinding it down to the elbow.
When pondering the over-hyped and fantastically boring fate of the Bionic Woman reincarnate, you first must realize that technically speaking, bigger boobs doesn't really make up for reusing old, uninspired stories from an uninspired series that played itself out after the pilot. A show that had nothing to say to begin with isn't going to have something new to say just because you're bored and can't be bothered to grow some balls and go out and find something good to buy and put on the air.

Firing and/or pissing off the showrunner so badly that they quit before the pilot even airs is also a pretty good sign that as a well educated and highly paid executive, you are nothing short of a complete and total failure and probably have no business working in a creative industry. If the world economy hadn't just gone in the crapper, I'd say something trite like "maybe advertising, I hear they are hiring."

Of all the shows to resurrect, the one that was based on interesting, non-existent technology that actually exists today was never going to work. It didn't work with Viper which, much to my rage and utter fury, was a redeemable show that just needed more work between seasons, for the same reason it wasn't going to work today.

We've already got cars that can read maps and tell you verbally where to go and how to get there. We've got DVD players built into the seats and GPS and cellphones, there's not a lot more you can fantasize about with a car that you can't already get if you've got the money for it. That trick was played out ten years ago, but today?

There are experimental systems in cars overseas that can already drive themselves.

What do you have left but story? Well, story can go a very long way, but only if you're smart enough to let the people who make story do their jobs. Forget about the special effects and the cool gizmos, forget about sexy chicks and manly studs. You want explosions? Hire Michael Bay. You want big boobs? Already tried that, and it didn't work. (If your show needs bigger yams than Michelle Ryan's, it's time to go back to go back to film school.)

Without having seen the series, my general advice for any struggling remake then would be to get as far from the original premise as possible and whatever you do, don't fire any of the talent. If people still wanted to see the old show, it would have never gone off the air, and if you start mucking about with the talent on either side of the camera, all you're going to do is start peeling off the viewers you've actually got and alienating them by changing the few redeemable qualities the show currently has.

So what did NBC do? They jammed their hand into the blender:

"Knight Rider" is going into the shop for some serious work, shedding three of its cast members and moving closer to the template of the show's 1980s predecessor.

Three regulars -- Bruce Davison, Sydney Tamiia Poitier and Yancey Arias -- will depart the show after its initial 13-episode run (the show earned a full-season, 22-episode pickup last month). The show will also shift the focus of its stories; rather than Michael (Justin Bruening) and KITT protecting national security, they'll help ordinary people who are in a jam.

Nobody avoids a TV show because they don't like members of the cast that are already that expendable. People watch because they like something, and chances are that by wiping out three cast members, you're going to piss off the people who were watching and genuinely liked those characters. You lose regardless, it's literally a no-win move. Nobody is going to declare their new-found love now that those guys have finally been axed.

But shifting the entire basis of the show -- national security? Come on guys could you be any more creatively brain dead? -- is pure desperation. You want to get away from what made the show cool to begin with because that's precisely what makes it campy and unappealing today.

What I don't understand is why NBC feels the need to rob graves to fill air time rather than giving more attention to shows that aren't struggling creatively but haven't been able to find traction nonetheless. Heroes, for one, is having trouble retaining viewers and apparently just fired two executive producers that have been with the show since day one.

That's inexcusable, if these people have been hurting the show in the third season, why didn't you fire them in the first season, and why was the first season such a runaway success?

Some shows just aren't meant to last very long, some shows were meant to exist, die, and never return.

I do know one thing for sure: mark my words, this is only going to make things worse. I've never heard of a network tinkering like this and actually finding success.

in Television


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