One trope of successful storytelling – particularly in TV – is “the longevity of the idea conceived.” Could it be revisited for a contemporary audiences and produce similar results whether if it’s drama, comedy or science fiction? Given the current demand for nostalgia, the timeless appeal and loose ends that never ended up tied, here are five more shows Bleeding Cool feels the audience can enjoy again whether if it’s a revival, reboot, or remake. Are you listening, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, Warner Bros, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon? We’re talking Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Green Hornet, and more…
“Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”
Created by Phillip Francis Nowlan, Buck Rogers has been a staple of American pop culture for over 90 years since his first appearance in Amazing Stories pulp magazine in 1928. Nine actors portrayed the title character through its various adaptations through comics, novella, radio, film and TV – with Gil Gerard as the most famous. Gerard played the title character in the NBC series that ran for two seasons from 1979-1981.
The series followed astronaut William “Buck” Rogers (Gerard) on a mission when an accident in space left him in suspended animation only to awaken 500 years into the future returning as a temporal stranger to earth. Assisting Buck in his journey is Colonel Wilma Deering (Erin Gray) and Dr. Elias Huer (Tim O’Connor).
Battlestar Galactica’s Glen A. Larson and The Outer Limits Leslie Stevens developed the NBC show, created in part due to the renewed interest in space opera from the success of Star Wars. With the franchise still viable, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to revisit the iconic series re-examining what can change on earth in 500 years and seeing how humanity progressed in time and what other species proliferated in that time.
The fact there’s no major theatrical or TV adaptation currently in the works is mind—boggling to say the least. It at least deserves to be explored in streaming… Buck Rogers in the 35th Century?
“The Green Hornet”
Another early 20th century serial series that can use a modern take and benefit from a TV revival/reboot is The Green Hornet. For the interest of respecting creativity, there’s really no point trying to copy what worked in the 1966 ABC TV series with Van Williams and Bruce Lee. Despite only lasting a single season, it became a cult classic due to the popularity of Lee’s character, Kato, the faithful sidekick of Britt Reid/Green Hornet (Williams).
As well-intentended as the 2011 film with Seth Rogan and Jay Chou was as the two characters, the failure did provide some sellable ideas that could work for TV. There’s no doubt Kato serves as Reid’s equal in their adventures, much like Robin is to Batman. You can obviously think of Kato as the Robin/Alfred combo in one who watches the Green Hornet’s back.
There are many different ways to tackle the new show in the current era of media uncertainty. Trying to become a beacon of truth and exposing the corruption is something that presents quite the challenge for such a media mogul like Reid. The show can focus on the partnership between the two characters where each utilize their strength mixing elements of crimefighting, spy thrillers, and conspiracy.
The two actors who can be the new Reid and Kato are interchangeable regardless of gender and ethnicity.
“The Wild Wild West”
There’s a phrase in blacksmithing, “Strike when the iron is hot” and in this case, audiences are still very much into the spy genre and Westworld, the TV series inspired by the Michael Crichton novel and later film, is one of the most successful franchises on HBO. Why not combine them to do another science fiction western?
Created by Michael Garrison, the 1965 TV series that ran for four seasons on CBS following the misadventures of Secret Service agents James West (Robert Conrad) and Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin). To protect the president and thwart their enemies in the process, West and Gordon used advanced technology to gain an edge on their foes often with mixed results.
Warner Bros. took the idea and made a 1999 theatrical adaptation with Will Smith and Kevin Kline in the West and Gordon roles, respectively. While it was a box office disappointment, the film became a cult classic with its use of steampunk to add a swashbuckling type of feel to an already action-packed western.
Given what CGI can do, it’s conceivable an up and coming comedian or deadpan actor to take on the West role while someone like Jim Parsons would do a role like Gordon, proud.
While there have been numerous successful TV series involving young adult singles, one of the most successful and pioneering was Three’s Company. Developed by Don Nicholl, Michael Ross, and Bernie West, the series was based on the British sitcom Man About the House.
Running for eight seasons on ABC from 1977 – 1984, the show originally starred John Ritter as culinary student Jack Tripper, who ends up sharing a house with florist Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt) and secretary Chrissy Snow (Suzanne Somers). One of their landloards, Stanley Roper (Norman Fell) is leery of the co-ed living situation, but Janet tells Stanley that Jack’s gay so he’d be more accepting. The three keep the ruse going even though the complex’s co-owner – and Stanley’s wife – Helen (Audra Lindey) knows the truth but keeps their secret.
The premise for the series would work in contemporary settings especially given the past revolutionary culture clashes in other past TV shows like All in the Family and Soap. The characters work in 2019 as much as they did in 1977. Despite progresses we made socially, the messages, values, discussions and themes need to be continued, because social prejudice and ignorance never went away. The variety of possibilities in casting combinations and storyline narratives are endless, and could reach a broad representation.
“The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles”
When the show was conceived, George Lucas had Indiana Jones “Forrest Gump” his way through history running into its most revered figures like Pancho Villa, Winston Churchill and Al Capone. The show premiered on ABC in 1992 and lasted two seasons and four TV films.
The series provided an educational anthology for those wanting serialized history lessons by providing perspective through its subjects. The series had multiple actors playing Jones with Corey Carrier from ages 8-10 and Sean Patrick Flanery at 16-21 – with George Hall as the 93-year old Indy, our narrator. Film franchise star Harrison Ford appeared as the title character at age 50, and narrated for a single episode.
The series’ cancellation in 1993 stopped with Indy at age 21, but Lucas originally planned to cover his life to age 24. A series revival would be ideal for streaming platform Disney+. Budget wouldn’t be a factor as Ford is still eager to reprise his role for a fifth (and possibly final?) Indiana Jones film with franchise director Steven Spielberg – prepped to begin production soon.
It might be the easiest paycheck Ford ever collected, TV or film. Depending on this next run, the series could even expand beyond age 24 and lead up to the events of Raiders of the Lost Ark – maybe even a series adaptation of the films?