Remakes, revivals, prequels and spinoffs — these concepts are nothing new. Every summer we're treated to countless blockbusters smashing into theaters with yet another addition to the Spider-Man franchise, classic horror reboots or some Tolkien-esque creation. However, over the last year or so we've seen a surprising trend in Hollywood vamping up a tried and tested formula: the nostalgic TV sequel.
As you've probably noticed, after spending decades off the air, a whole host of beloved '90s movies and shows have been brought back to life via the medium of TV. And, as far as we can tell, it all began with a tweet:
Back in 201,4 cult director David Lynch announced the return of Twin Peaks, and fans of the original series — which graced our screens from 1990–'91 — promptly began shoveling cherry pie down their gullets and giggling with manic joy.
Fast forward 16 months and it seems every Tom, Dick and Harry is chasing the ghosts of '90s past. TV series such as The X-Files, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Full House, and movies like Wet Hot American Summer, Cruel Intentions and Dirty Dancing are all among many classic favorites that have either already been revived, or have been rumored to be returning to TV for fresh viewing pleasure.
1. First And Foremost, Nostalgia Sells
In most cases, regardless of whether a movie stands the test of time, we all enjoy watching and rewatching the movies we idolized as kids. One's childhood tends to be a time looked back on with rose-tinted glasses and of course Hollywood knows this — especially, as Vogue pointed out, because millennials are now reaching the age where they're beginning to take positions of power within the creative media industries. And, where best to draw content inspiration from than one's own childhood?
2. Viral Value
As Vulture summarized, “You announce something like Full House or Coach, and boom — instant interest. People are buffeted with so much content flying at them. Anything you can do to get them to say, ‘I’ll check that out’ — that’s huge these days.”
With the benefit of social media and content hubs creating and collating piles upon piles of editorials focusing on the whereabouts of stars who littered our childhoods, the rate of nostalgic consumption provides evidence for stat-obsessed services, such as Netflix, to pump out throwback content on the regular.
So then, as soon as inklings of these '90s reboots begin flocking to the net, networks already have millions of millennials eager to see what they'll do with their beloved shows; it's guaranteed potential, even if it doesn't guarantee overall success. And, if you can bag an original member of the cast to return — à la Sarah Michelle Gellar in the upcoming Cruel Intentions TV series, or the entire cast of Wet Hot American Summer — you can just sit back and watch those $$$ roll on in.
3. Is TV Becoming The New Cinema?
Yes, that might be an overused phrase, but with more and more fantastic actors, directors and producers moving toward TV as a medium for trying out exciting, long-form, non-franchise-related content, there's a wealth of potential to test out different formulas. And, when it comes to nostalgic pieces, there's less initial risk as the content comes packaged with a ready-made gang of diehard fans.
Of course, rebooting anything that has such a highly emotive past is a risky business. While the initial concept of plucking out past gems and kicking them into the current sphere revamped is something Hollywood has been doing for decades, that doesn't eliminate the worry that the movies and shows we loved will be misinterpreted in the makeover process.