At some point, network television decided to stop hiring creative guys with anxiety disorders to write funny shows and stick their money into much cheaper “alternative television”, a kind way to say, an endless series of Dancing with the Stars and Survivors. The British had always worked with far more limited budgets than Hollywood, so they had perfected the X-Factor and Idol shows first over scripted programming. Hollywood merely stole the shows and added red, white, and blue bunting.
With dwindling audience, those same television channels are now looking at what once made them great in the 80’s and 90’s — “Must See” sitcoms. The kind that not only killed it in the U.S., but would later dominate foreign television syndication. Though the issue remained, how to do so in an environment twenty-years later where hiring is more virtue signaling than meritocracy and you don’t want to have to give another Larry David another huge share of the proceeds for inventing another Seinfeld? Revival.
Revival is a term flying around Hollywood these days. It sounds so much more sophisticated than rehash or regurgitation. Let alone, pre-existing rights. Last year the early 90’s show Fuller House was “revived” into a new digital service series with all of the original cast, save for Saget who ditched when he found out there way no new pussy to bed. NBC has revised Will and Grace and ABC can’t stop teasing the return of Roseanne after more than twenty years, in which time nobody asked for them to come back.
Sony Pictures Television announced they are working on a revival for Mad About You, the successful 90’s sitcom where people were first forced to buy into the myth that Helen Hunt is the least bit sexy. The Clinton era lowered all our standards in women.
You can see why lazy and scared shitless executives would go big into a Jumanji reboot with The Rock and Kevin Hart and Jack Black. That doesn’t even need a script. Or any of the other reboots where they’ve simply plugged in bankable cast and more marketing dollars to cash in on name recognition and young male audiences. The revival bit is different. This brings back the original cast and story. That’s very close to the sentiment felt when your family comes to visit. Even if you like your family, all things considered, didn’t we have enough time together twenty years ago? Now I’m cleaning my bathroom. When does this get fun again?
It’s not that Hollywood can’t make original quality programming. It’s that that takes both money and guts. The former they don’t want to spend. The latter they lack. Crossing fingers for Dharma and Greg.