From “The Twilight Zone” to “Charmed,” TheWrap is taking a look at reboots of classic TV shows that should’ve gotten the boot from the start.
“The Twilight Zone”
No reboot of this classic sci-fi series has ever managed to live up to Rod Serling’s groundbreaking original series, which ran from 1959 to 1964. The first revival, which debuted in 1984, fell flat of its expectations — something it has in common with Jordan Peele’s 2019 reboot. Though Peele is credited as a creator and serves serves as the host, he did not write or direct any episodes, which critics complained were too on-the-nose, melodramatic, and, well, a lot meaner things than that.
Despite the name, this CW reboot was cursed from the start. Side-stepping the original witches — Alyssa Milano, Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs and later Rose McGowan– in favor of newer, younger ones didn’t sit well with fans, or with the original ladies themselves. Milano told US Weekly she felt the reboot was “disrespectful” for not including her and her fellow OG cast members. And though it was touted as a “feminist” reboot, Combs tweeted, “I will never understand what is fierce, funny, or feminist in creating a show that basically says the original actresses are too old to do a job they did 12 years ago.”
This CBS reboot fell short of its potential for a few reasons — one being that Tom Selleck was not involved (nor was his mustache). Though set in picturesque Hawaii, critics were quick to tire of the the new Magnum (Jay Hernandez)’s voiceover, calling the reboot average at best, and lacking in panache.
“Charlie’s Angels” perfectly captured the goofiness of the ’70s, but it felt painfully out of date in 2011. Critics and audiences agreed: It was canceled after three episodes.
Blair Underwood has done some memorable TV work, starting with his career-making role on “L.A. Law.” But his 2013 take on the Raymond Burr crime drama was yanked from NBC’s air even faster than you can say “LAX” or “The Event.”
“The Bionic Woman”
A 2007 take on the “Six Million Dollar Man” spinoff, this NBC show’s original sin was casting “Battlestar Galactica” ass-kicker Katee Sackhoff as the recurring villain rather than the lead.
Like so much ’80s television, the original “Knight Rider” is over-celebrated. But NBC’s 2008 version lacked even the original’s dumb charms — and David Hasselhoff.
SundanceTV had an international hit on its hands with the French-language moody zombie thriller. An English adaptation was of course inevitable, but Damon Lindelof‘s A&E remake never quite found its audience, despite gaining the support of critics. Luckily, the original French series is still ongoing.
Another police procedural bound to be rebooted, Telly Savalas starred as the chrome-domed detective in the 1970’s series. Ving Rhames took the reins in 2005, but only made it nine episodes.
The classic nighttime soap got a CW makeover in 2009, but the brand wasn’t enough to keep an audience interested, especially on a network that was doing rich young people drama better on shows like “Gossip Girl” and even “90210.”
Broadchurch captivated U.K. audiences with its tense murder mystery format, but when the U.S. tried to replicate its magic – with original star David Tennant in tow – it just never quite managed. Needless to say, Broadchurch is producing a third season, and Gracepoint was canceled after just one.
Corey Hawkins starred in this Kiefer Sutherland-less “24” reboot that maintained the show’s real-time structure and some of the original show’s flaws, but also managed to be cancelled in real time. “24: Legacy” had a big debut following the Super Bowl in 2017 but dropped off sharply afterwards and was done after just one season. But at the time of the cancellation, Fox was still considering continuing the “24” franchise in the future.
Like the hero that shares the show’s name, the reboot of “MacGyver” cobbled together a bunch of unusual parts to make yet another procedural that’s somehow still kicking, despite constant lampooning from “The Simpsons” and “SNL’s” “MacGruber” sketches.
“The Odd Couple”
Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon were no Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, or Tony Randall and Jack Klugman for that matter. The reboot lasted three seasons, but the canned, laugh track sitcom felt very old fashioned and led to some miserable ratings. Matthew Perry even tweeted out one month ahead of schedule that the show was cancelled when he saw his face painted over on the door to his stage door.