11 series that put a new spin on a classic
If you think that coming up with a new show from scratch is tough, you ain’t seen nothing. Rebooting a franchise that did well decades ago and pulling it off is often trickier thanks to nostalgia and ultra-fans not being happy with their “precious” being meddled with. But sometimes the rebooted version is just as good as the original.
Here are some examples of rebooted series that give their original source material a run for their money.
Perry Mason (Showmax)
Based on the original series that ran in the mid-50s, this instalment follows soldier-turned-private investigator Perry Mason (Matthew Rhys from The Americans) as he scours Depression-era Los Angeles to solve the case that will change his fortunes.
But while a famous kidnapping keeps his body busy running down leads around the city of angels, Perry’s demons (including undiagnosed and untreated PTSD) are eating him alive in his mind. It’s a prequel series, building up to how Perry became the attorney character from the original series. It’s also the third reboot, with two previous versions in the mid-70s and -80s having been based on the novels by Erle Stanley Gardner.
Will & Grace (Showmax)
The awesome foursome Will, Grace, Jack and Karen got a three-season reboot to the hugely successful 8-season sitcom in the late 90s.
It took 12 years to get perfect scripts together for the crew to reunite and the best decision they made was undoing the drab finale, playing it off as one of Karen’s martini-induced drunken hallucinations and continuing with the misadventures of the lawyer and interior designer besties (Will and Grace, respectively) as they look for meaning in life. Throw in crazy Karen and Jack’s over-the-top theatrics, the original set and props, and clever writing, and it was like they never left.
Magnum PI (DStv Now)
Fans of the iconic 90s action show either love it or hate it, but the 2018 reboot is tonnes of fun. Sure, the moustache is gone, but this isn’t a revival of Tom Selleck’s hit show. It’s a reboot. Everything is the same but different.
Higgins has swapped sexes and is played by Perdita Weeks but the character is still very British, very secretive, and very dangerous as an elite operative. There’s a red Ferrari. The Doberman “lads” are back, too. And the setting… well, it’s Hawaii – what more could you ask for. What’s really awesome about the reboot is that it explores Thomas Magnum’s past as a Marine more than the original, adding to the fun skop-skiet-en-donner vibe.
The witch trio from the 90s hit fantasy series were given a make-over in 2018, and like the original trio did, they’re discovering their powers and the influence that they have over the supernatural world. There are loads of elements from the original series, like the spell book and the world being under attack, but other than that, this series is a clean overhaul.
The characters even have new names – Maggie, Mel and Macy. And thanks to upgrades in CGI and technology since the first version, the monsters are a whole lot scarier. If you’ve read up about the original cast’s displeasure about the reboot, chalk it up to sour grapes because they weren’t asked to come back. This is a reboot, not a revival like Will & Grace. And it’s good!
Hawaii Five-0 (DStv Now)
Like Magnum PI, this action show is filled with thrills and spills on the Hawaiian islands as Steve McGarrett and Danno lead the task force to arrest criminals and solve crime. Like the original series from the 70s, Steve and Danno’s love-hate buddy cop dynamic drives the show, taking pressure off the characters’ backstories and arcs, which underly each episode’s self-contained crime.
For Steve, he’s searching for the truth about his dad’s killer and he gets more family than he bargained for when his supposedly dead mom pops up alive and claiming to be a spy. Danno, well, he’s still a cynical NYPD detective who’s getting to grips with the island life, and it seems he’s lightening up and enjoying the beach sand between his toes in the current series-finale Season 10.
Fuller House (Netflix)
Eighties sitcom Full House was that perfect feel-good mixed-family life-is-great sitcom with the catchy tune. The characters were legendary, the theme song even more so. It deserved a 00s revival, and all five seasons are available online right now.
It’s made by the same production crew, the set is largely the same, the cast are the same (except for twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who refused to join), and even the intro video has been given an overhaul but kept the original styling.
The kids are all grown-up and going about their lives, while the dads are coping with mid-life crises and being grandfathers. The more things change, the more they stay the same, and that fills us with nostalgia with this reboot.
Get Shorty (Showmax)
This heavily underrated three-season series is a remake of the John Travolta movie from 1995 and because they’re both based on the book by Elmore Leonard, they’re pretty much identical. The series stars Chris O’Dowd, Ray Romano, Peter Stormare and a few other famous faces, as Miles Daly (Chris) tries to escape his life as a mob enforcer.
His new career path? He’s getting into movies in Hollywood. But there’s a problem: while he’s escaped his crime life, his crime life has followed him to Tinseltown, and Miles is dragged back into criminal activities like money laundering.
Queer Eye (Netflix)
The 2003 breakthrough reality show Queer Eye (first called Queer Eye For The Straight Guy) has been given a make-over to keep up with times – and to look faboosh, dahlink!
While none of the original style queens have returned to help hopeless straight guys revamp their lives, the new crew are just as divine! From foodie Antoni and culture pro Karamo to grooming superstar Jonathan Van Ness, everything is extra with a capital EXTRA!
No one is too far gone to be saved, and while the guys do get carried away sometimes, they always rein each other in and work magic on their subject, helping them not just go from drab to fab on the outside, but also to make positive changes on the inside where it matters most. Did we mention that there’s glitter and sequins?
The L Word: Generation Q (Showmax)
The original drama series The L Word ran from 2004 to 2009 and followed a group of couples living in Los Angeles. Lesbians Bette and Tina were trying to have a kid, Jenny and her boyfriend Tim were new to town, and bisexual journalist Alice maintained “the chart” – a map of relationships, hook-ups and booty calls.
For the 2019 sequel series, the show has expanded on the LGBTQ+ world to include everyone – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer and Other. It’s also set in LA, with Jennifer Beals reprising her role as Bette as she continues living her best life along with her new darlings, who’re living in a world that Bette helped build.
Das Boot (Showmax)
The 2018 TV show is a sequel to the 1981 war movie of the same name, both based on Lothar-Günther Buchheim’s 1973 book. You’ll need to focus, though – there are multiple storylines living in the same universe… at least, in the same German U-Boat submarine during World War II.
It follows German soldiers who’re conflicted as they approach France on a secret mission. Do they continue and attack as ordered? Or do they surrender, hope to be taken in as prisoners and possibly get to live? Not one for claustrophobes – the U-612 submarine set is super tight!