The scene is set: A vaguely popular show which has amassed more viewership by being added to streaming platforms and finding a younger or older unassuming audience bored out of their mind during the pandemic.
It started off slow and subtle, a chance to give the shows who met an untimely end another chance, a Kickstarter funded Veronica Mars Movie followed by a series, a Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, and yet we did not learn from these returns and their open-ended endings which left us even more unfulfilled than the original ending.
Now that everyone and their uncle’s cousins’ nephew has their own streaming platform and the market has become increasingly competitive, the platforms have resorted to the laziest retort possible: reboots.
I, an avid TV viewer can appreciate the draw of nostalgia, a much-needed sequel, the need to have loose ends tied up, and the occasional adaptation (just not you Riverdale), but we have not even let these rebooted shows even simmer in the pop culture sphere long enough to even miss them. Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and How I Met Your Mother all ended in the early to late two-thousand and tens, and yet each one of them is being given a new life and cast far too soon.
It is easy to be cynical, but I do sometimes try not to be. When news outlets revealed the new dazzling castmates of the Gossip Girl reboot and we saw diverse main characters, I was excited, genuinely. When we look back on things, the early two-thousands were wild, Reality shows were taking off, it was very Pre #METOO and in a world less “woke”. The shows of today have chosen to highlight social issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement, accurately cast non-white characters with actual non-white actors and steer clear of anything deemed non-PC. I am an advocate for TV shows handling touchy subjects with grace and being educational while entertaining but these shows seriously miss the mark. They have a diverse cast just for the sake of it and can often end up preachy as opposed to effective.
Case & Point: Gossip Girl (2021)
Our leads are not as white as paste, but their personalities and lack of character development certainly ARE. It is actually distracting how bad the acting and writing are contrasted by the beautiful cinematography and coveted collegiate fashion. The show takes itself too seriously and breaks the anonymity of the titular “gossip girl” in episode one. The original, while incredibly problematic, was compelling and actually FUNNY. We are now stuck in this gen-z dark sepia-toned universe that takes itself too seriously and the only funny thing is that the teachers think bullying their students into becoming left-wing politicians who want to “tax the rich”.
My gleefully optimistic heart still gave the How I Met Your Father (anyone remember the one that was supposed to star Greta Gerwig? Just me? ok.) reboot starring a universal fave Hillary Duff a chance and I was disappointed, not quite the Gossip Girl level but disappointed enough.
Creativity in western media seems dead. New stories are not being greenlit, and audiences are continually being drawn to low and behold “subtitled shows” such as the phenomenon squid game and the much-loved money heist. While it is encouraging to see foreign media be given the recognition they rightfully deserve, we are just going to end up with American remakes of the same THINGS. P.S The Good Doctor is actually based on a popular Korean Drama of the same name.
In conclusion, I am tired and TV is so boring right now that I find myself being rewatching the very shows that are currently just being rebooted. It is very counter-intuitive. Please for the love of god can Hollywood bring start a new era even, at this point I will even take back the cringe-inducing YA dystopian era. Leave the IP alone, just let it die, and reboot it when I am forty years old for a new generation, like what actually succeeded with Beverley Hills: 90210 and 90210 (2008). The greatest kicker is that I will still inevitably watch all these reboots, even just to hate-watch and contribute to the meteoric views that ultimately result in MORE REBOOTS.