Do We Have To Revive Old Television Shows?
In my mind, nothing can compare to the television programs that dominated the airwaves in the '90s and '00s. These were the shows that raised me, that made me who I am, and that I quote on an almost hourly basis. I tell you this to convey my deep love and appreciation for '90s and '00s pop culture in the hope that you'll hear me out after I tell you what I'm about to tell you.
I think we should stop bringing old beloved television shows back to life.
I know, I know. How can a self-respecting product of the '90s not want to bring back the shows of her youth? What about all of those story lines and future plot lines that fans have been pining after for years? What about the new ability to binge watch new content from our favorite characters and content creators whenever we want?
Yes, there is something to be said for letting characters live out a little bit more of their on-screen lives. How did Cory and Topanga do as a newly married couple in New York City, when they had hardly ever had jobs, left their parents sides, or been forced to meet new people for seven seasons? What will then next generation of Tanners be like, and will they all still be living in the same San Francisco townhouse? Did Rory go on to be the mega journalist that Stars Hollow thought she would be, and how did the town manage without their two sassy mascots?
You can't deny that these classic shows left behind many unanswered questions and opportunities for future plot lines, but just because the opportunity is there doesn't mean that we have to take the bait. Let's take Girl Meets World for example, the highly anticipated revamp of the sitcom Boy Meets World, my favorite show of all time which ran from 1993 to 2000 on ABC.
Before they announced that Girl Meets World was being picked up, I had often said that it would be a dream come true if they brought Boy Meets World back, and for the most part I still think this. However, Girl Meets World was targeted towards a much younger demographic, set to air on Disney Channel, and while it featured a lot of the key characters from the original, like Cory, Topanga, and Shawn, it focused mostly on Cory and Topanga's children and their lives.
I say all of this having only watch the first episode, mostly to see Mr. Feeny on screen again. The ideal revival for fans would have been a more adult show, featuring all if not most of the original characters, continuing their plot lines as adults. Advertising Girl Meets World as a revival was false, because it was only loosely based around Boy Meets World. After it was announced that Disney was dropping Girl Meets World, Rider Strong (better known as Shawn Hunter on the show), hit the nail on the head as to why this show never took off with new or old fans when being interviewed on Kevin Pollak's Chat Show.
"I think [creator Michael Jacobs], to his credit, really wrote well for [Girl Meets World], and he still does. We've had some very dramatic episodes [of Girl Meets World]. I don't think as dramatic as Boy, mostly because we're on Disney Channel and they won't allow us to. I think had Michael had his way, Girl Meets World would have swung just as extreme," Strong said in a quote obtained by E! News.
He is absolutely right. What made Boy Meets World such an iconic sitcom for it's demographic was that it was more than your typical teen show about kids being kids and stuff gets wacky and dramatic but ultimately finds a happy resolution at the end of the episode. The show would get really deep into dramatic plot lines, like Shawn joining a cult for an episode or Cory and Shawn drinking under age in another episode, to try and teach lessons and develop character growth. These were the things that made the show different and real, and the way that the show combined the dramatic moments with contrasting comedy was brilliant, something that was lost when the show was picked up and remodeled for a younger crowd on another channel.
I'm still holding out for the Boy Meets World revival of my dreams, but just because this one didn't quite hit the mark doesn't mean others aren't. Netflix has seen huge successes with the revivals of Gilmore Girls and Full House (now Fuller House), despite some unflattering reviews by critics.
There is even a revamp of That's So Raven in the works, which seems like a bit of a stretch to me, since it was only on the air for 4 seasons and wasn't really groundbreaking as far as comedies go. Bringing back That's So Raven seems to suggest that producers are realizing that revivals can be big cash opportunities, which could mean that a lot of old shows could be coming back to life. And just like never ending sequels to popular movies (ahem, Pirates of the Caribbean, Toy Story, The Hangover), bringing them back without proper execution runs the risk of tarnishing the originals. If we really love the original shows of our youth, can't we just leave them alone and binge watch them at our will instead of bringing them back?
I may be alone in my thoughts on this, but one thing is for sure. No matter what happens, I will still choose binge watching Boy Meets World episodes over almost anything else playing on television right now.
Photo Courtesy of Gilmore News