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.