Classic TV Rewind: A Review of TV Show Reboots (1/4/2021)

Happy New Year! We have finally arrived in 2021, and the anticipation of what the year will bring is ever-present. With the turn of the year, many things will be created or begin anew. Keeping this in mind, Hollywood and various media and content creators will be vying for audiences’ attention in multiple ways this year.

It’s probably safe to say that the Pandemic has changed how we consume new releases and experience blockbusters and theater for many years to come. With all the adjustments that have defined our new normal, the quality and quantity of content provided have shifted accordingly. Over the past few years, we have witnessed Hollywood reaching back into our adolescence’s history by rebooting oldie but goodie classic shows. In a world of “reality” television, I’ll be one of the firsts to say that I don’t mind revisiting shows from the past and reviving them for even a short stint.

Television series’ like Full House, Sex in the City, and Who’s the Boss have either been rebooted or given the green light. Notably, many of the classic black sitcoms have yet to even move beyond the conversation of possible consideration. Before the Pandemic, we heard mutterings from shows like Living Single to Sister, Sister discussing with executives about the logistics and possibility of reviving the magic their shows brought to American audiences in the 90s today.

But the trend that seemed to follow the conservation was either not having the backing either with writers or production simply not pulling through. I highly doubt that there is a lack of resources. And no one can express that there isn’t interest. For one, as a Millennial near my mid-thirties, I would enjoy seeing this nostalgia and the artistry of it all at a stage in my life where I can appreciate the actors, actresses, and messages that come along with these classic sitcoms.

Let’s face it, when shows like Martin, Living Single, Moesha, Steve Harvey Show, Sister, Sister, and a host of others used to air, I was either early childhood or early teen. And before you mention that I can experience it through reruns (which I have participated in and purchased several sitcom series on DVD), it’s not the same. Back then, I enjoyed seeing portrayals of characters that looked like me on screen and imagining the possibilities of working in the industry someday. However, after reviewing and re-watching many of the shows thanks to Netflix last year, I think it’s time to quit stalling and bring back some of these shows for both a newer and old/new aged generation.

Last year, the idea of rekindling TV relationships and gathering cast members was fulfilled by the likes of Zoom Reunions and actual television reunions from the cast of Girlfriends to Fresh Prince. Even A Different World had a nod to the past with a virtual table reading. Why am I on board with the idea of reboots? Especially when some cringe at the thought of it, meaning Hollywood has reached a lull in creativity? Aside from the possibility of experiencing remixed themes songs, it’s simple.

These shows represented minority life and experiences across various ethnic groups across America and the world. These shows often tackled uncomfortable topics and events that, not surprisingly, are still issues that we face today through the lens of comedy. These shows were often intentionally and unintentionally the voice of our communities. And just as they were considered groundbreaking 20 and 30 years ago, they can still operate in that lane.

Several shows could pick up today’s topics and meld the original cast and newcomers’ experience if the show writers wanted to add a slight twist to the programming. Besides, the message and hope that the showrunners and contributors could bring to a new generation would welcome change. I plan to show my daughter all of the programming that I grew up viewing, but I would like her to have a similar experience rather than just knowing a world filled with staged reality. Now, I feel that the reality television market can continue, and of course, the audience will always remain. But, I think it is time to diversify our line ups and stop using the excuse of different times.

Just as these classic programs drew in millions of viewers each week, the same experience is possible today. It’s only in the form of streams and other digital platforms. And let’s be real, how much longer should series fans have to beg networks and petition companies to bring back the type of programming they want to see? It’s time to give the audiences what they want and provide veterans and newcomers with opportunities to inspire, educate, and uplift people again. So as we reset, revamp, and rebuild our lives from the ups, downs, and violent shifts of 2020, it’s time to consider resetting the image of television and media as well.