This weekend it was announced that for some inexplicable reason, NBC is resurrecting their show Heroes for a 13 episode miniseries in 2015.
This is a terrible idea, but one that is totally in keeping with the current decision making over at the peacock. While the network struggles to remain relevant, their main strategy seems to be recycling things from the past. The supposed savior this year was Michael J. Fox, until the network realized that nostalgia for an actor can only take you so far when they are in a crappy TV show. The lesson that NBC took away from the failure of The Michael J. Fox Show (and, to a lesser degree Sean Saves the World) was not that recycling sitcom stars from the past was a bad idea, but that they simply didn’t go back far enough. NBC is now working with Bill Cosby in developing a new family comedy. I guess their reasoning is if it worked in 1984, it will work now.
The irony is, this logic doesn’t apply to Heroes, a show that clearly didn’t work all that well even when it was originally on. I was fully on board for the first season of the show and thought that they had an original and interesting show on their hands, until they completely choked in the execution of the finale. The entire first season was building to an epic showdown and what we got was an anticlimactic mess and a clear understanding that there were no real stakes in the series because they seemed unwilling to kill characters off. While the special effects for the rest of the season had been adequate, the big fight scene looked like it was being done on a sound stage built to resemble New York City. I don’t remember much of the details of the finale – other than the world and the rules that they carefully constructed all season suddenly didn’t matter – but I vividly remember turning to my friends when it ended and all of us looking very disappointed. I only lasted a few additional episodes into season 2 before I bailed; I no longer cared about saving the cheerleader or the fate of Hiro. The show had just lost its way and I heard it didn’t get better until it slumped toward cancellation. I actually don’t remember anyone that I knew who was still actively engaged in the show in its final episodes; people may have been watching, but more out of habit than any real interest.
And this is the show that NBC has decided to revive.
Now, to be fair, I think that Heroes pulled in some decent ratings for the duration of its run; they dipped from what they had been, but for NBC it was still pulling in some respectable numbers. But the fact that the network continues to retread old ideas in an attempt to find a ratings hit does not inspire a lot of confidence. To me, these are desparate moves by a desperate network; I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that NBC has secretly been begging the Friends cast to reunite and backing up the Brink’s truck to offer the cast ungodly amounts of money.
If NBC is really committed to this idea of dusting off old shows for a reboot, I have some ideas for other projects to consider. I would much rather see a new version of these shows than more episodes of Heroes.
Silver Spoons (1982-86)
Admittedly, I haven’t re-watched this show since I was a kid, but it has always held a soft spot in my heart because Ricky Schroder was my first crush. Plus who wouldn’t dream of living in that house with all the arcade video games and that train that ran throughout the house. They may have to update the technology a bit – kids today might not be too impressed with Pac Man and Donkey Kong – but I’d be curious enough about this that I’d tune in for a few episodes. I have no idea what the premise would be – Ricky Stratton now has kids of his own? – but I’m guessing that Alfonso Ribeiro is available.
I always enjoyed NewsRadio, though the show never really recovered from the untimely death of Phil Hartman. He wasn’t necessarily the star of the show, but he was its anchor and the show lost its way a bit after he died. This wasn’t a particularly popular show on NBC, but I think that would give them more leeway in a reboot (though the show did have some hardcore fans that would need to be placated). This was always one of the better workplace comedies because it had interesting characters and a good ensemble cast. Keep the dynamics and move the location to a TV station if you want to make it more current, but I still think it would work.
Golden Girls (1985-92)
It is amazing the amount of goodwill that women my age have about a show that featured women over 50, especially since when the show originally aired, we were barely teenagers. On paper, that makes absolutely no sense, but poll any group of women in their thirties and I guarantee that they loved this show and watch re-runs. I watched the show every Saturday night, though in retrospect probably half the jokes went over my head. It was only upon revisiting the show as an adult that I realized all the innuendo in Golden Girls. This show also has a cult following in the gay community; the LOGO network used to air old episodes every Friday night. So there is a built in fan base for this show. Throw in Betty White as the Sophia character and this is a home run. I would totally watch the hell out of that show.
My Two Dads (1987-90)
OK – this was a terrible show; even as a kid I knew that this wasn’t good television. I mean, the central premise of the show is that the mother got pregnant and didn’t know who the father was, which does not exactly scream family sitcom (in retrospect, that was kind of risqué for the 80s). The only good that really came out of My Two Dads was the introduction of the world to a young Giovanni Ribisi. I doubt anyone really remembers this show anyway, so I say that NBC recycles the name and the vague recognition that it would have with some people and make this a show about a family headed up by two gay men (as long as one of them isn’t Sean Hayes – unless the other dad is Eric McCormack, to double down on the recycling). It would be old and new at the same time.
What old shows would you like NBC to consider rebooting? Are you more excited about the resurrection of Heroes than I am? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.