Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What do we lose when we revive a TV series?

The next year will see new seasons of Heroes, The X-Files, Coach, Twin Peaks, Prison Break, Full House, and possibly Arrested Development or 24. Television shows long since canceled have found a second life in the increasingly diversified, well-funded world of digital programming. Surely TV fans of a certain generation looks forward to catching up with Agent Cooper and Danny Tanner, but do we risk settling into a cultural rut by revisiting our favorites too often?

Critic Alan Sepinwall tackled this question in an opinion piece yesterday on Hitfix. Sepinwall argues that revisiting an old series is not inherently bad and can often result in some quality television. It helps audiences and networks alike to work with familiar characters and ideas, especially in the current fragmented media climate. But he notes that this has become a crutch in lieu of producing new, original, riskier television. The shows being resurrected, like The X-Files, were once TV's weird outliers, and those chances still need to be taken to ensure the medium's future.

It's appreciated that Sepinwall chose not to rip into television reboots in concept. He notes that the Twin Peaks continuation is among his most anticipated upcoming shows, and when re-runs on Adult Swim garner higher ratings than NBC event programming, there's certainly reason to tap into known properties. This just can't come at the cost of new ideas. After all, what will we reboot ten years from now?

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