The big thing in Hollywood of late has been reboots of old shows. After the success of the many iterations of Star Trek and the Ronald D. Moore update to the venerable Battlestar Galactica in 2004. There seems to be a predilection toward recreating old series instead of creating something new.
With reboots of well-known and popular shows like The Jetsons, Lost in Space, and The X-Files all getting updates for the modern era, there are lots of shows that deserve a chance at their own re-imagining.
We begin with a show that has already had several iterations, Land of the Lost.
This series ran from 1974-76 and was created by David Gerrold (who is best known for writing “The Trouble With Tribbles” for Star Trek). This cult classic had 43 episodes that showed the adventures of the Marshall family. Rick and his children, Will and Holly, get trapped in an alternate universe inhabited by dinosaurs, the primate-type people called Pakuni, and the lizard like creatures called the Sleestak. The main point of the story was their efforts to survive and try to find a way home while exploring the exotic lands where they find themselves.
The series got a reboot in the 90s on Nickelodeon that was fairly well received and a filmed version starring Wil Ferrell in 2009 that was not. “I didn’t know that Will Ferrell was going to turn this into a Saturday Night Live sketch,” Marty Krofft lamented in 2015.
With modern techniques for makeup and effects this show is ripe for a big budget reboot. There is hope since Sid & Marty Kroft productions began working on one in 2015. The hope is that they would take the material serious like the original series did instead of following the style of the film.
There is nothing official about the reboot or how the brothers will fund or distribute it if it comes to fruition.
This British/Italian science fiction show ran from 1975-79.
Set in the year 1999, nuclear waste stored on the far side of the Moon explodes, knocking the moon out of orbit and sending it and the 311 people who live at Moonbase Alpha hurtling into space. At the time it was made it was the most expensive series produced for British TV.
The show stared Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, who were married and had appeared together in Mission: Impossible. The show was once called Star Trek shot full of methadrine. Critics praised the show for its production values and multi-layered stories.
The science of the show was always questionable. Isaac Asimov debunked the idea that the moon would travel the galaxy, stating that it would explode. But it was still an enjoyable space age morality play.
While a reboot could fix the improbable premise by simply placing it on a space station that has no propulsion being catapulted into deep space the name would still have to be updated to something like Space: 2999.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Unlike the previous entry the title could remain unchanged for this series that ran from 1979-1981.
Based on the character created in 1928 by Phillip Francis Nowlan, Gil Gerard played Buck Rogers, an astronaut piloting a Ranger 3 spacecraft that launched in 1987. Due to a life-support malfunction, Buck is frozen for 504 years until his ship is found in 2491. The series follows Buck as he tries to find a place for himself in this far flung future.
He is aided by Erin Gray as Wilma Deering, a colonel and starfighter pilot, and a robot named TWIKI (who was voiced by Mel Blanc).
This show, like the original Battlestar Galactica, was created by Glen A. Larson. Unlike the other shows on the list so far, Buck Rogers had seen previous life in novels, comic strips, radio programs, and various TV and Film productions. The most famous was the 1939 serial film starring Buster Crabbe.
With the deep background of source material and the steps forward with CGI, makeup, etc. this show could set a new standard like the reboot of Galactica did.
Airing from March of 1987 through May 1988, this was one of the first shows on TV to show a dystopian future.
It was about a future where television networks ruled the world but one man, Edison Carter (Matt Frewer), is a crusading journalist who exposes the unethical practices of the industry. When he has to flee to save his life there is a motorcycle accident and one of his friends uploads a copy of his mind into the system. The last thing Edison saw before his death was a sign that said Max Headroom, hence his name.
Dystopia has become almost common on modern TV and this shows look at how media runs the world could easily be updated for our connected world of today. With A.I. advances and the whole fake news thing this show would be very timely if recreated for 2018. The great news is that Matt Frewer is still alive and so could, at worst, make a cameo appearance as the original Max or star as a more refined version of the character for our modern times.
Land of the Giants
Airing for two seasons starting in 1968, this Irwin Allen show was his fourth science fiction TV series (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, and The Time Tunnel).
Set in 1983 the series told the tale of the crew and passengers of a sub-orbital transport named Spindthrift. It is en route to London from LA when a magnetic storm drags it into a space warp to a mysterious planet where everything is twelve times larger than it would be on Earth. With the ship damaged, the pilots and their passengers have to work to repair the ship while trying to remain undetected by the giants that populate the world.
Hollywood flirted a lot with size change films (Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock, The Incredible Shrinking Man, and Village of the Giants come to mind) but bringing it to TV proved costly. The budget was $250,000 per episode. Even though the effects were very cutting edge for the era, after films like Downsizing, an updated version of this show should bring costs down and make this a likely profitable venture for the production company that takes the chance.
Ironically, this show is considered one of the worst on this list. Unlike the other shows it ran for a long four seasons from 1985-1989.
Wonder starred 10-year-old Tiffany Brissette as Vicki, a robot made to look like a girl who lives with her inventor Ted Lawson (Dick Christie), Ted’s wife Joan (Marla Pennington), and his son Jamie (Jerry Supiran). Vicki was supposed to blend in with the rest of the family as Ted’s adopted daughter, but she also possessed special powers like superhuman strength and Mr. Fantastic-like stretching ability.
The show used a primitive green screen technology to create the effects of Vicki lifting a couch to vacuum underneath or her spinning head that could be easily improved upon with modern methods. Another point would be that when the show aired there hadn’t been a lot of human like robots/androids on TV. After the many shows over the past decade that starred people acting as a robotic human (Almost Human, Humans, Battlestar Galactica, Westworld, etc.) it would be easier to create the right kind of performances to sell the premise.
It would be great to see this show rebooted, but done in a more serious manner with less gags.
My Favorite Martian
The show starred Ray Walston (Boothby on Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Bill Bixby (The Incredible Hulk). Airing for three seasons beginning in 1963, the show told the tale of a human looking extra-terrestrial whose one man ship crashes near Los Angeles. A reporter, Tim O’hara (Bixby), sees the crash and takes in the Martian (Walston). Both want to keep his identity a secret to avoid panic and Tim pretends that he is his Uncle Martin.
Like other shows on the list, there were other versions of the show. There was an animated series in the 1970s. A film starring Christopher Lloyd and Jeff Daniels was released in 1999. There have been comics and varied types of merchandise over the years to show that there is an audience for a possible revival.
The stranger in a strange land motive would serve well to show a Martian coming to our modern Earth. Like another alien show, 3rd Rock from the Sun, this show could comment on the world around us if the writers were clever and informed.
Are there shows you expected to see on this list that aren’t here? Let us know in the comments of shows our list missed, or your thoughts on our choices.