The guys who brought you The Lego Movie, Phil Lord and Chris Miller along with Rick Famuyiwa are set to revive an 80’s classic, Greatest American Hero. That’s right, back when male perms were the in fashion and high school kids that look like 30 year olds can wave a switch blade at their teacher and not get sent directly to jail. The series starred William Katt as School teacher Ralph Hinkly, Robert Culp as FBI agent Bill Maxwell, and Connie Sellecca as Lawyer Pam Davidson. FOX has given commitment for the production of a pilot and possible move to series.
If you can get past all the 80’s television troupes, there is a great story to discover. Aliens send a super suit to Earth to help, but it ends up in the hands of someone who’s never thought of themselves as super in any way. It’s not surprising that Lord and Miller are taking this series on. They took Steven J. Cannell‘s 21 Jump Street successfully to the big screen, Greatest American Hero is another of Cannell’s 80’s television series.
It’s an interesting side note that the main character’s name was changed in season one from Hinkly to Hanley because of the shooting of President Reagan by John Hinkly. The network was afraid that viewers would not be able to differentiate the two?
I’m sure you’ve heard the theme song somewhere:
This is a television franchise ripe to be told with new special effects, and a modern look at what it takes to be a hero in today’s world.
Now don’t get too excited though, Lord and Miller had a pilot commitment with with FOX last year to remake the series with Rodney Rothman (22 Jump Street, Grudge Match), but something fell through, or more likely the network didn’t like that take on the franchise. What this does though is keep the ball rolling. As long as Miller and Lord can keep some momentum on the project we might just see the Greatest American Hero make it back onto the small screen.
You can pick up the boxed set pretty cheap online, or just swing over to Youtube and watch individual episodes. Here’s the original pilot: