Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Rant #135: Leaving Well Enough Alone With Old TV Shows
Why, oh why, has Hollywood not learned its lesson yet?
Why does the industry constantly rehash old movies and TV shows and try to make them new again?
The latest attempt at "contemporizing" a classic TV show just ended its short run, thank goodness.
"The Prisoner" was an update of the classic 1960s British TV series that came over to these shores on CBS as a replacement for "The Jackie Gleason Show" during the summer months.
Patrick McGoohan's original show, which had elements of George Orwell's "1984" mixed in with the then current psychedelia, was actually a continuation of his previous "Secret Agent" (or in Europe, "Danger Man") series. It finds the main character dumped into a world that he doesn't understand, has no idea how he got there, and, of course, wants to leave.
But he can't.
McGoohan was tight-lipped up to his recent death about the whys and wherefores of the series and its theme--including who was the character No. 1--but in the late 1960s, it resonated with viewers, and it stands as one of the great series of that era.
Now, 40 years later, we have the remake, the updating, or whatever you want to call it.
I just call it bad.
Sure, the familiar elements were there: the numbers used instead of names, the questions about why the main character is where he is, and yes, that orb, or ball, or whatever it is, that makes sure that people don't ask too many questions.
Well, even if that sphere is chasing me, I have to ask the question--why?
The original 17 hours of programs captured my and other viewers' imaginations; the update simply was bad, tedious television, a remake of a show that should have never been touched by human hands again.
They tried to expand the plot a bit with the new show, made the main character an American who was estranged from an information-gathering company, used a multi-racial, international cast, put in a few love interests (the mysterious blind woman--I don't know the actress' name, but she is a total knockout), and added the always good Ian McKellan to the cast as No. 2--but it all fell apart by the third episode.
It was a boring, muddled mess, which the original was not.
Why does Hollywood continue to remake their own classics? Although I did not watch the original V, I know that it has been redone, and is currently being broadcast.
Is Hollywood so devoid of original ideas that they have to unearth "old" ones?
Or in this "enlightened" world, do they think they can do the classic original better?
I don't know the reason, but I will tell you, the newest incarnation of "The Prisoner" did not take me captive at all.
Posted by Larry at 4:11 AM