TV Show Reboots: A Thin Line Between Success and Failure


Sofia Cedeño, Features Editor, Senior

Nostalgia is a powerful feeling, a feeling that TV networks and streaming services have taken advantage of — especially in the past few years. Reboots of older shows are being announced nearly every month, whether it be a show from the 80’s or the 2010’s. Will & Grace, Full House, and Murphy Brown are just a few shows that have found their way back, and the return of other popular old shows like Frasier have been announced. With all these reboots of old shows, there are bound to be some that actually work well and some that should’ve never come back to our screens in the first place. What makes or breaks the reboot of a TV show can come down to a few different factors, and when comparing some failures to a few successes, it’s easy to see where things can go wrong. 

When rebooting a show, the TV network is looking for fast success. Building upon an already popular brand isn’t something new. Nowadays, practically everything is a spinoff or remake of something that has already been established. That’s not to say a reboot, spinoff or remake can’t be done well, but more often than not, revamping an old show can lead to quick failure. A more recent reboot that has been done is NBC’s Saved by the Bell. The show is no stranger to being revamped, having two other spin offs back in the 90’s. The Saved by the Bell reboot was released back in November on a fairly new streaming service called Peacock, and is a prime example of a reboot gone wrong. The show has limited viewers due to it only being available on Peacock, a streaming service that not many have decided to spend money on. The show is also a tired sitcom from the 90’s, and producers have failed to modernize the show’s style. The reboot tries to get with the times by implementing societal issues like racism and white privilege, but approaches it in a way that almost feels more mockery. It claims to be “woke” but comes across as corny, and it promotes itself as a show for both older and younger generations but fails to deliver for both demographics. Reboots such as Roseanne, Beverly Hills 90210 and Powerpuff Girls have fallen to a similar fate. Reboots like these are destructive to the original work, continuing stories that have already ended and ruining characters that have already gone through their typical on screen issues. 

On the other hand, reboots can and have worked. When the source material may have met a premature end or has remained relevant enough that other generations have taken an interest in it, a reboot may be exactly what is needed. Most times, a successful reboot rebuilds and reimagines the original show. Other times it sticks to the main idea of the original but adds something new to keep things interesting. Dynasty and Veronica Mars are two good examples of successful reboots. Dynasty is a spinoff from the original 1981 series of the same name. Although the source material isn’t something most people remember, The CW redesigned the soap to be loved by a whole new generation. It takes elements of what the old show was and reinvents itself to be loved by a new fanbase. It doesn’t demolish the original, but has become something new and fun for the network. Veronica Mars is also a perfect example of a good reboot. Veronica Mars ran for 3 seasons and was cancelled due to network issues. However, in 2014, fans of the show came together to donate thousands of dollars in order for there to be a movie, proving that there is still a fanbase waiting to see how the story plays out. Hulu picked up the show for a one season special with the creator onboard, expanding on Veronica’s life after the movie and creating a whole new mystery to solve. The show was able to stick to its roots while also providing a new and fresh idea. 

With other reboots coming soon such as Lizzie McGuire, iCarly and Gossip Girl, we can only hope that they receive a fair shot at being great. Although nostalgia is a good feeling that can bring us back to things we used to love, networks banking on it has become inevitable. TV reboots are a hit or miss situation, but with the right accessibility, audience and storyline, a reboot can, and sometimes will, work. As much as we would love for some stories to go on forever, all good things must come to an end.