Making a Revival
Television is a medium that is continually evolving. The Golden Age, which in my opinion, is the 90s TV shows that preceded Peak TV, has gradually given way to the Age of Reboots, Revivals, and Remakes. It corresponds with the comparable Age of Adaptations, resulting in what can feel like a world devoid of innovation as studios attempt to counteract the vast volume of content available with well-known titles, famous faces, and built-in audiences. However, when done well, revivals and reboots have the potential to offer something to a current program, either by bringing closure where none existed or by updating and exploring alternative stories to discover previously untapped depths.
So, with this in mind, I have compiled the list below of what I believe to be the best TV show reboots and revivals. Here goes nothing…
Twin Peaks – The original Twin Peaks, created by Mark Frost and David Lynch, became a defining, albeit brief, phenomenon of the 1990s. Their resurgence transformed the surrealist small-town mystery into a relentlessly hallucinogenic, shockingly poignant, dimension-hopping vision of a world gone insane.
Cobra Kai – Cobra Kai continues the Karate Kid brand with a mix of deliciously cheesy nostalgia and teen angst, heightened by a well-written ensemble of characters.
Fuller House – In the Netflix relaunch of Full House, viewers got to revisit the Tanners for five seasons of family-friendly bliss. The first season aired from 1987 through 1995, and the revival premiered 21 years later. This time, the sitcom centered on a mature DJ Tanner as she raised her small family with the assistance of her sister, Stephanie, and best friend, Kimmy. In addition, many of the show’s other original stars made cameos, including Bob Saget, John Stamos, and Dave Coulier.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life – If you grew up watching Gilmore Girls on repeat, the four-part Netflix special Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life, starring the show’s original castmates Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, and Kelly Bishop, is required viewing.
One Day at a Time – Norman Lear’s 1970s sitcom about a single mother raising two teenage daughters was revived as the much more topical story of a Cuban-American Army vet with two children, a theatrical mother, and a knack for getting caught up in every hot-button issue of the day. It became the unusual show to survive Netflix cancellation after being a delightful and comforting blend of old and new.
Lost in Space – This has been one of Netflix’s most popular shows. It’s simple to understand why: the reboot pulls a Battlestar Galactica and adds weight to the 1965 original’s shipwrecked in space premise. It’s not flawless, but it’s worth a look.
Doctor Who – Doctor Who is the longest-running science fiction television series in history, premiering on the BBC in 1963 and following the adventures of a Time Lord known as the Doctor, an alien who seems to be human. After 26 seasons, the original show was canceled in 1989, and an attempt to resurrect it in the 1990s was a flop. It wasn’t until Russell T. Davies rebooted the show in 2005 that fans were genuinely reintroduced to the beloved sci-fi classic. Many talented actors, including David Tennant, Matt Smith, and Peter Capaldi, have played the legendary Doctor.
Saved by the Bell – Bayside High School remains the same. This flawlessly teases the first one’s old-school status while remaining unique. Peacock is killing it when it comes to making this program seem special, and it’s easily one of the most excellent reboots on the list.
Gossip Girl – It took a few episodes for HBO Max’s revival to establish itself, but Gossip Girl is now back. And this time, it’s even more gorgeous, romantically fluid, and mysterious than before. This time, these Upper East Siders must peel back two different facades: Manhattan’s most elite’s fake smiles and even less authentic Instagram pages.
Bel-Air – Back in the 1990s, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a must-see teatime show. It turned a teenage Will Smith into an acting sensation at a time when he was best recognized for rapping with DJ Jazzy Jeff. The series aired from 1990 until 1996. Morgan Cooper, a fan of the show, shot and posted a dramatic remake of the sitcom on YouTube in 2019. And, as they say, the rest is history.