Not Another Reboot
What about good, original storytelling? What about hearing what this generation of cartoonists and filmmakers and screenwriters want to say?
On May 30th, 2021 I was published in Pipeline Artists again. This time, my article was about the endless cycle of reboots that have plagued Hollywood. To read the original article go to: https://pipelineartists.com/not-another-reboot/
I screamed. Like—scream-screamed. Loudly. And this wasn’t the “Oh my gosh, this is amazing” sort of scream. It was the “Oh no, not again” scream.
Not another reboot ...
One of my college professors said something to our class that I'll never forget:
“In Hollywood, people always run to where the lightning strikes. Except here’s the thing ... lightning doesn’t strike in the same place twice.”
Remember the obsession with vampires? How about Apocalypse movies? Zombies? Superheroes?
Hollywood has a way of running a trend into the ground until they’ve squeezed every last penny out of your coin purse.
The latest big fad?
Reboots. Sequels. Prequels. Spin-Offs. Live-action remakes. And everything under the ‘Already Been Made’ umbrella.
The entertainment industry is using nostalgia as a marketing scheme, and I’m over it. For an industry that prides itself on creativity, I’m disappointed with its complete lack of originality as of late.
Do we really need another live-action adaptation of "The Fairly Odd Parents"? Didn’t the movie starring Drake Bell prove that this was a show best left for animation?
Or how about a live-action adaptation of "Dora"? And "The Powerpuff Girls"? And "The Jetsons"? All of them are known for literally being absurdist cartoons … and now we’re trying to bring them closer to reality?
Then there are remakes like the new "Animaniac" series. And how can we forget the controversial Looney Tunes remake where the internet fought over the moral boundaries of an animated skunk for a week?
This attack on my childhood is offensive. I loved all of these shows just as much as your average millennial, but I’ve put these shows behind me to make room for more. Plus, the beauty of the world wide web is that we can literally revisit these shows anytime we want.
Why are we digging up these shallow graves just for the sake of nostalgia?
Do I have to remind everyone of the horrible eyesore that was Avatar: The Last Airbender directed by M Night Shyamalan? What was supposed to be a unifying film became the worst hour and 43 minutes of 2010.
Will we ever learn from our mistakes? According to my college professor, no. No, we won’t.
These reboots and live-action remakes of animated shows from our past are basically bad fanfiction we spent millions of dollars to create. Why don’t we save this money and do anything … literally ANYTHING else with it?
Disney is one of the worst offenders. First they started out slow, dipping their toes into the water. They made a live action Alice in Wonderland. Seemed innocent enough. Then there was Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. Okay, cool.
But then the streaming service kicked in, and Disney went from a just-a-couple-inches step into the pool of wasted potential, to a big giant cannonball at the deep end.
They dove so far in, they did a “live-action” Lion King. It really should’ve been called the “slightly more realistic-looking Lion King.” It was all CGI! At least in The Jungle Book remake, the kid was real.
High School Musical.
The Mighty Ducks.
That’s So Raven.
Girl Meets World.
Even Cruella DeVil.
The list goes on. Disney continues to bathe in the warm delights of fortune. Meanwhile, Walt Disney is rolling in his grave (or his cryogenic chamber) as he watches his company prioritize money over the love of animated storytelling.
It's not just animated shows either. Oh no. This plague affects everything.
*takes a deep breath*
"Murphy Brown," "Will & Grace," "Fuller House," "Veronica Mars," "MacGyver," "Dynasty," "C-Files," "Twin Peaks," "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," "Punky Brewster," "Gossip Girl," "Gilmore Girls," "Frasier," "Bewitched," "Dexter," "Black-Ish," "Conan the Barbarian," "Sexy and The City," "iCarly," "The Walking Dead," "Breaking Bad," "Power Rangers," and a spin-off of "Roseanne" without Roseanne called “The Conners” (I know one of the executive producers on ‘The Conners.” Great show. Definitely one of the better spin-offs ...).
And these are only some of the reboots/sequels/prequels/and spin-offs that have been made and/or will be made soon.
I’m not a political cartoonist, so please, bare with me while I try and paint you this picture. Every company is now fighting to have the best streaming network. In a rush to win over subscribers and get that sweet, sweet money, the big companies are taking their shovels and desecrating a graveyard of old shows.
It reminds me of that episode of "Spongebob" where Mr. Krabs pretty much does the same thing. (You know the one I’m talking about. “Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen … He was #1.)
Speaking of "Spongebob" ... that is yet another show being tightly squeezed until it gives out every. Last. Drop.
Kind of like … well, a sponge. I didn’t intend that pun. But I’m rolling with it.
My point is: where does it end?
Are we just going to be caught in an endless loop of remakes?
I have met literally hundreds of storytellers in this industry who have about a hundred original stories. Each.
That’s not a hyperbole, either. I know people who practically come up with a new concept for a show/movie every day.
Look, I get it. Money is nice. Being able to slap a recognizable name on a poster is sure to turn heads, and stir people’s curiosity.
But what about good, original storytelling? What about hearing what this generation of cartoonists and filmmakers and screenwriters want to say?
What about giving the little guys a chance? Isn’t that what you raised us to believe in? The idea that one day it will be our turn to create our own culture and tell the stories we want to tell?
We learned that from the very same shows that is being run into the ground.
Do you know why Taylor Swift is cool? (Yes, I have a point here). Because every one of her albums has a new flavor to it. As she grows, her albums grow with her. And that’s what makes her relevant. She’s vulnerable and speaks about her experience as it is now. In the present. Her art is not clinging to the past. Rather, she’s stepping into the daylight, and letting go as she does.
Maybe we should do the same.
Here’s the truth.
We have seen too many Spidermen. "Spongebob" has gone on for far too long. "Sex and the City" won’t be the same without Kim Cattrall. We have seen enough zombie apocalypses.
And we’re tired of the same old thing.
It’s time we leave the past in the past and start investing more money in our future—a generation of creatives who will do anything to have their stories told.
Did you hear? The "Lizzie McGuire" spin-off went south because Disney wanted a 30-year-old Lizzie McGuire to still only speak/act PG-13. Hilary Duff will now be starring in "How I Met Your Father"—a spin-off based on the hit CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother."
I couldn’t believe it. My childhood idol will be playing the lead role in the female version of my favorite show of all time.
I screamed. Like—scream screamed. Loudly. And this wasn’t the “Oh my gosh, this is amazing” sort of scream. It was the “Oh no, not again” scream.
Not another reboot ...