20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Everything old is new again, especially when it comes to TV. It's kind of amazing and sad when you think about it. The latest trend: TV shows based on movies from the 1980s and early 1990s with at least three shows in development at major broadcast networks based on hits from the big-hair decade.
Fox has a TV show based on Big, the classic Tom Hanks film, in the works from Enlisted's Kevin Biegel and Mike Royce. In the film directed by Penny Marshall, a young pre-teen makes a wish on Zoltar, a fortune-telling machine, to be "big." It works and he wakes up an adult and struggles to live his new life. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the half-hour comedy is being designed with a cable model—shorter season. The concept could work on the small screen…but do we really need it?
Over at NBC, the Peacock, who currently has two shows on the air—Parenthood and About a Boy—adapted from movies, is working on not one, but two new shows based on now-classic films: Problem Child and Real Genius.
Real Genius starred Val Kilmer as a college-aged genius who gets paired with a new student to work on a project. Deadline reports NBC's adaption would be a workplace comedy from Workaholics veteran Craig DiGregorio and David King.
John Ritter and Amy Yasbeck starred in the original Problem Child, a comedy about a couple who adopts a notoriously problematic kid. THR reports Old School's Scot Armstrong is writing the adaption. There was also a Problem Child animated series that ran for two seasons from 1993-1994 on USA.
DISNEY CHANNEL/Bob D'Amico
And then there's Rush Hour. No joke, this news broke after this story was initially written. See? It's out of control! Bill Lawrence of Cougar Town and Scrubs fame and Blake McCormack are behind the TV adaption of the Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan action franchise. It hasn't landed at a network yet and follows the movie plot: a Hong Kong police officer is assigned a case that takes him to Los Angeles where he's forced to work with an African-American officer, according to EW.
Pretty soon your television options may be regulated to comic book adaptions, naked reality shows, revivals/reunions of cult hits and shows based on movies from the 1980s and 90s.
TV's obsession with the 1980s and early 1990s isn't limited to film adaptions. E! News first reported Sony is working on a spinoff of Married…With Children following David Faustino's Bud Bundy. A Full House revival is reportedly in the works with Netflix as its potential home. This comes after Disney Channel revived the Boy Meets World brand with Girl Meets World, reuniting original stars Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel and making their characters' daughter the lead. In terms of other revivals, we have The Comeback coming back to HBO after almost 10 years off the air this November and NBC is prepping Heroes Reborn.
Then there are the comic book shows. This season along we have new additions Constantine, Agent Carter, The Flash, Gotham and iZombie on the broadcast nets with Daredevil in production at Netflix. But new shows are already getting underway following Supergirl at CBS, Lucifer on Fox, a version of Teen Titans at TNT, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman at Fox, Preacher on AMC, Powers on Playstation Network…and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Please TV, don't give up on original ideas. Remember Lost? Veronica Mars? Even this season's How to Get Away With Murder! There are still viewers out there that don't require retreads of old movies. It doesn't always work—never forget the big movie craze of 1990 when TV shows based on Working Girl, Parenthood, Look Who's Talking, Ferris Bueller and Uncle Buck all debuted and failed. Just because it worked once doesn't mean it will again, especially on a weekly basis. We haven't seen any of these proposed adaptions, and they may be awesome, but at what cost? Networks, don't be afraid to take chances on new ideas!