Oh Nooooo Mr. Bill…Not Another TV Series Remake!

One of the bloggers I link to (Blurt) recently wrote about movie remakes.  He doesn’t care for them.  (You can read his post here.)

I don’t have an opinion on movie remakes because, with one exception, I can’t recall seeing two versions of the same film.  I did see “Titanic” but that was in no way a “remake” of “A Night to Remember.”  The two films covered the same event but from two different perspectives.  One was a docudrama; the other, a love story.

Recently, I saw the fifth iteration of “The Great Gatsby” with Leonardo DiCaprio.  I never saw the 1974 version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow so I’m not able to compare them.  Similarly, I did see the 2005 version of King Kong with Adrien Brody and Naomi Watts but not the 1976 version with Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange.

Now I did see the remake of “Psycho.”  But no one can touch Hitchcock even if some scenes, such as the shower one, are frame by frame identical to the original.  Even in color, the remake did nothing for me.  Of course, knowing the plot diminished the remake’s impact.

Just as Blurt doesn’t care for movie remakes, I don’t care for what I hope is not a trend towards TV series remakes.  So far, I’m only aware of two remakes.

First is Hawaii Five-O.  I’ve not seen any episodes of the new version.  But in the interest of research I watched a few minutes of the September 27 episode.  A few minutes is all I could take…

It was a continuation episode and it begins by summarizing the previous week’s show.  McGarret kills about five bad guys wielding military assault weapons in a scene that looked like an action movie sequence.  I’m hard pressed to recall any episode from the original series where five folks are killed.

I also noted that McGarret and his crew all are much younger than Jack Lord and his squad.  No surprise there…that demographic is what many TV shows these days are directed at.  And I don’t fit in…

But what really got me riled up to write on this topic is another remake.  While watching “Live with Kelly and Michael” I saw a clip from the new “Ironside.”

The original series featured Raymond Burr as an older detective in San Francisco who always dressed in a suit and tie.  The new Ironside dresses casually and whose extreme interrogation methods are akin to those used by the U.S. military in an Afghan prison scandal a few years back.  And this Ironside is young too.

The good news is that the show apparently has not been well received by the public or critics. Kurt Yaeger (an amputee in “Sons of Anarchy”) is critical of the fact that the show’s star is not someone who really does use a
wheelchair. He likens it to the days when white actors portrayed blacks by using “blackface.”

And the show’s attempts to portray Ironside’s “disability” as an “advantage” are apparently overkill. In one scene, he finds a gun hidden under a sofa cushion because he literally has a “different view of the world” from a wheelchair. (I wonder how many cold cases would have beeen solved if the investigating detectives who were not in wheelchairs had just bothered to look under the sofa cushion…)

The original “Ironside” went eight seasons. The buzz is that the new version will be among the first new shows to be cancelled.  It deserves to be.

My advice to TV series producers:  come up with your own ideas instead of taking a lazy approach by “updating” previous successful shows.


9 responses to “Oh Nooooo Mr. Bill…Not Another TV Series Remake!

  1. Bravo! I couldn’t agree more. I’m a member of a book club, sorta, kinda…There is a real book club in Alexandria, VA that one of my friends from high school is a member of. So another 3 of us have joined in by reading whatever they’re reading each month. The choice of the book rotates among the members; we don’t have those privileges so we’re just “hangers-on”. We call ourselves the Long Distance Book Club, ha ha.. All this is to say that the October book is…The Great Gatsby. Fran (the real member) says she thinks it’s a “lazy” choice. I speculated that it was a result of the movie remake. Anyhow, none of us are reading it.
    And furthermore, there is no way on earth that L. DiCaprio could hold a candle to Robert Redford. It’s just laughable. Too bad you didn’t see the original movie.
    I don’t get it with movie remakes. I suppose there is a new generation to be introduced to these great old books and movies, but to me it just shows a complete lack of imagination. And same deal with sequels. Take “Alien”. That was a great movie, then they just make sequel after sequel until everybody gets bored with it. Okay, end of rant!

    • I finally finished “Fall of Berlin 1945” and might follow your lead and do a “book report” on it and other books I read.

      As for Gatsby remake, I may need to see the Redford version. I liked DiCaprio’s performance and felt that Redford could not have same the ‘intensity” based on what Redford films I’ve seen where he always played “laid back” types.

      As for sequels, some are good and others not so good. I’ve been following the Resident Evil series but for me the “Vegas” one was best. Of course..

  2. Blurts’s post was funny. I liked the Board of Remakes. Either you come up with an original idea, or you have to remake this movie following our conditions!

  3. SC”My advice to TV series producers: come up with your own ideas instead of taking a lazy approach by “updating” previous successful shows.”

    FN”I don’t get it with movie remakes. I suppose there is a new generation to be introduced to these great old books and movies, but to me it just shows a complete lack of imagination. And same deal with sequels. Take “Alien”. That was a great movie, then they just make sequel after sequel until everybody gets bored with it. Okay, end of rant!”

    My opinion is that Hollywood is all about money not art. It’s capitalism at its best/worst. Movie remakes began almost immediately as good writers found it difficult to write for a producer/director team so they movie makers bastardized existing stories. Just think how many times Sherlock Holmes has made it too the screen and Jekyll & Hyde.

    There are probably more than 100 outright movie remakes and also many TV to Big Screen adaptations.

    It’s really fascinating to study the progression of story telling through time and observe the cultural variations that occur to “update” the stories.
    One great example of a successful remake is You’ve Got Mail, which was originally done in 1940 as the Shop Around the Corner
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033045/. The story is the same but now letter writing has become email which sells it to the new generation as “hip.”

    Some of my favorites which have survived transition from Novel/TV/Play/Comic/Oral to movie follow.

    Last of The Mohicans (Novel/Movie/Comic Book/TV/Movie)
    The Count of Monte Cristo(N/M/CB/TV/M)
    The Lone Ranger (Radio/CB/M/M/M/M)
    Great Gatsby (which IMHO is THE great American Novel)
    The Fugitive (TV/M)
    An Affair to Remember (M/M)
    Sabrina (M/M
    Double Indemnity (N/M/M)
    The Poatman Always Rings Twice (N/M/M)
    Mutiny On The Bounty (/M/M)
    Robin Hood (Oral Tradition/M/M/TV/CB/M/M/M)
    King Kong (from the original 30’s version, awesome on the big screen)

    Perhaps the most revealing transition from an original American art form to another is comic book Super Hero to TV to Big Screen. And of the many that have made it commercially Batman remains my favorite:) I loved the comic books as a kid, the camp TV show as a college kid and the Movies as an old kid:) Again, IMHO, Heath Ledger’s “Joker” was among the best ever movie performances.

    Hey if you got a good story it will be interesting when told a second/third/fourth time.

    Hell some of these are so iconically American they have gotten their own postage stamps, of which Gatsby is again my favorite.

    • I agree about Hollywood, which is why I tend to like foreign films. The ones that make it here tend to be more “arty” although I’m sure there are many “local consumption” that are just as Hollywoodish as Hollywood.

      I am a bit surprised by how many of the superhero comics have made it to the big screen. I guess the improved computer graphics allow what the comics portrayed to be brought to the big screen.

      I was a Marvel fan in the day. My three favorites were Fantastic Four, SpiderMan and… Sgt. Fury. (When is Sgt Fury going to get his movie?)

      Gatsby got a stamp? I missed that. I do have Elvis! Also, the Civil War and WW2. Those latter two I made into book markers by laminating four stamps together.

  4. Oh and SC Decaprio is a much better actor than Redford but it’s a dead even draw with their respective Gatsby portrayals because Redford defined the character for those of us who loved that movie. I only had a problem with Tom Buchanan, I will always see Bruce Dern in that role, he is the best shit ever:)

  5. Gatsby did indeed get a stamp, but you would have to be a collector almost to have found it as it was one of The Celebrate The Century series set in the 1920’s. It is one of 15 stamps on the sheet..

  6. I’m almost always disappointed in remakes. TV shows that were beloved in my childhood (even if they were kind of hokey) always seem to become movies that are stupid and ridiculous and huge departures from the original versions. (Brady Bunch, The Dukes of Hazzard, Land of the Lost)

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