What Ridiculous Remakes, Reboots, and Reimaginings Should the Networks Do Next?

It's been a weird couple of weeks for the broadcast networks. With the fall season in full swing and not too many new hits on the schedule, a few of the networks have gotten pretty desperate. NBC, the king of all silly retro reboots, announced that it'd grabbed Octavia Spencer to top-line a Murder, She Wrote redo, and CBS somehow upped the ante by ordering a pilot script for a new version of Charmed. Although both of those ideas seem ridiculous, they're really just new additions to the pile that also includes a Remington Steele remake, a bunch of film-to-TV adaptations (including shows based on Man on Fire and The Money Pit), even more book and foreign program adaptations, and more Wizard of Oz-inspired projects than you'd think. These kind of ideas make up more than half of the current slate of shows in development, which is probably unsurprising. 

On the heels of providing the networks with some solid new spin-off ideas, we figured we'd keep the advice-giving going. Here are some "fresh" ideas the networks can use to bring old shows back to life, in true zombie fashion. (And thanks to your friend and mine Noel Kirkpatrick for workshopping a few of these with me.)


NBC reboots Quincy, M.E. with a female lead


If there's one thing NBC loves to do, it's remake shows that were moderately popular at least two decades ago. This season's attempt was Ironside, and despite a solid lead performance from Blair Underwood, the show flopped. But if the Peacock had stopped developing remakes as soon as one failed, the network might not even exist right now. So why not keep the dream alive with a new version of Quincy, M.E.? Haven't we all been clamoring for that next great medical examiner show? As we've seen with Ironside and the concept for the new Murder, She Wrote, NBC likes to put some kind of personalized spin on its re-imagined lead character, so this version of Quincy just has to a woman. And if you're thinking that such a show sounds really similar to another relatively recent NBC show, Crossing Jordan, you're certainly not wrong. Like NBC cares. 


CBS reboots Green Acres in a modern setting


Despite some current bright spots, CBS is still jonesing for another new comedy hit. With How I Met Your Mother saying goodbye in the spring, the network needs some fresh meat for next season's Monday-night lineup, and what better way to replace Barney Stinson and the gang than by dipping back into some network history. Green Acres could be updated for contemporary culture pretty easily: A thirtysomething elitist loses a chunk of his fortune and tries to get back to his roots by moving his eco-friendly trophy wife to a rural community. Since it's CBS we're talking about, there are probably two over-the-top hillbilly characters and at least one stereotypical immigrant worker. Definitely a multi-cam, with a really cheap looking field set. And in the event the project fails to earn a series order at CBS, Fox will be waiting in the wings to pick it up as a nice companion for Dads


ABC reboots a more dramatic version Bewitched


Worried that CBS is going to corner the market on witch-related remakes, ABC counters with its own spellbinding property, Bewitched. Afraid of what happened with the film version of the story from a few years back and seeing that CBS ultimately opted not to move forward with the same idea in 2011, this Bewitched veers away from comedy and heads into more dramatic territory. Darrin and Samantha are a little younger and not yet married, mostly because Samantha is too busy hunting down evil witches and warlocks who are secretly led by Endora, Samantha's mother. 


CBS reboots S.W.A.T., but as a single-camera comedy


A big reason why CBS is taking another run at Charmed is that it owns the Aaron Spelling library, so why not keep scrounging through the bottom of the barrel there? Almost every CBS single-camera comedy is a disaster, and there's no worse option I can think of for the Eyeball than a humorous take on S.W.A.T. team life. Brooklyn Nine-Nine has proven that cops and comedy can work together, but it'd be challenging to push that notion further to include the kind of life and death situations S.W.A.T. teams face. However, CBS does need something big and flashy on the comedy side. 


ABC reboots MacGyver, with a steampunk twist


There've been a few attempts to resurrect the MacGyver name over the last decade—The WB commissioned a pilot with Jared Padalecki in the starring role as MacGyver's nephew, and a few years ago New Line was trying to get a film version going—but it deserves a spot back on its home network, ABC. After all, the Alphabet needs some more male-driven action on its schedule. However, this is ABC, which means two things: First, the new MacGyver should be more comedic than the previous one (gotta have room for the awful ABC 'funny' score). Second, this iteration of the character will actually share a story universe with other recognizable fictional characters. Perhaps Robinson Crusoe is a friendly competitor of Mac's and Fu Manchu is the big bad in the first season? And the best way to integrate these historical characters is to make the show a steampunk series. Obviously. 


NBC re-imagines Hollywood Squares as a period piece, behind-the-scenes docudrama


The long-running celebrity game show makes its triumphant return to the network on which it first aired, but not as a gameshow. NBC hasn't been too shy to go back to the 1960s and re-write cultural history ('sup, The Playboy Club), and what could be juicier than the retelling of the on-set tension and drama between the original Hollywood Squares cast? To really punch it up, this dramedy would be shot documentary-style, complete with recognizable talking head interviews. Who knew that long-time center square Paul Lynde and host Peter Marshall hated each other? Daytime quiz shows have never been so scandalous!  


Your turn! Go crazy with your own reboot ideas in the comments!

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The Storyteller should be reboot I can't believe such a great show had only a few episodes
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I'd be cool with a Jericho continuation & It doesn't need the original cast. I'd be happy if they just picked up with a different cast in a different place within the Jericho universe.
Starting a civil war on the finale & yanking the show yelling, "PSYCHE!" just wasn't cool
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How about "The Time Tunnel." " Route 66."
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TV.com, you so crazy!

Also you stole my thoughts about Crossing Jordan, which even cast Jack Klugman as a guest star once to hammer that home.

They need to remake The Love Boat but on Skinemax.
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Where are Lassey and Benji in our modern TV world - bring back the hero-dog-u-drama!
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The Greatest American Hero and Tales of the Golden Monkey are 2 that spring to mind immediately.
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As long as it's not the iconic Buffy the Vampire Slayer I'm not bothered
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MacGayver i wish, my childhood show, Bring back Dean Anderson as recurring role if ever made possible.
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Earth 2. Please.
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That show was so longwinded I'm not sure it's still not airing.
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Of all the suggestions mentioned, really guys? No mention of a Benson remake? Absurd.
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I whould also like Highway to heaven reboot
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Exactly I was thinking of it this night when I couldn't sleep, Highway to heaven or Touched by an angel
These shows were harmless and touching.
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A full house remake would be great. I really miss shows like Medium or Ghost Whisper so make a reboot of one of those...
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Thinking outside the box...hmmmmm
(1) Stingray.. 80's hero did a favor for a favor..I know they tried something with Michael Madsen but i forgot what that one was called..
(2) Seaquest DSV.. The concept was awesome..Turning it into a WB pretty boy/girl cast was not!
(3) The Greatest American Hero is DYING for a movie/reboot..Where is it??
(4) I would also be all in for a new cop/style/MTV type of show. A hybrid of Miami Vice,NY Undercover and Fastlane..TV could always use a little flash cop action with all the Law and Orders out there..
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How about instead of rebooting or remaking old shows the networks adapt more books into TV shows? Not only would the shows be new entries into the medium, but they will also have an extant and considerable fanbase.

I know that the book-to-show adaptation has been done a lot in the past few years, but it would be better than the remakes and reboots that they are vying for, especially for shows such as Charmed which aired its final episode not even a decade ago.

A show I would definitely watch would be the adaptation of Anne Rice's The Witching Hour (and sequels, Lasher and Taltos) for TV. As I recall, NBC had optioned it as a mini-series back in 2002 but then nothing. It has a rich mythology and as I mentioned above, the book series already has an in-built fanbase.

So if any network would adapt Anne Rice's The Witching Hour, I would be all too glad to tune in.
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Full House but genderswap the entire cast! And turn it into a drama as anything about single women must be dramatic as hell (a la Mistresses).
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AIRWOLF! Anybody?? Like Knight Rider in a helicopter?..... *crickets* Ah, nvm. What reality competitions do you got lined up for us this season?
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Why don't we have anything like Airwolf on the air? Given the state of CG these days, a show full of aerial shenanigans could be made for dirt cheap.

And on that note: Wing Commander! :)
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Wing Commander would be a ton of fun and help bring back the space opera fun of BSG and SG: Universe, but I don't think anyone-anywhere would take the Kilrathi seriously.
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"I don't think anyone-anywhere would take the Kilrathi seriously."

Warmongering aliens on the rampage are still a sci-fi staple in film, TV, and books, and that's exactly what the Kilrathi are. It wouldn't be hard to tweak the details to make them a little more contemporary, and though it might peeve the fanboys, that's the beauty and the horror of adaptation: there's plenty of room for change.

Still, a Wing Commander TV show is never going to happen, not with a failed movie besmirching the franchise's reputation. Some other IP will have to step up to the plate for us to get our dogfighting-spaceships fix.
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I would love to see an updated version of Cold Case. And not the reality show on TNT. But they need to make a better deal for the rights to the songs so they can release it on DVD.
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I am not sure if this counts, but I would reaaally like to see a show about Vampire: The masquerade. I like tvd, but I wouldn't mind some real vampires. Jeanette included of course
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It was already done back in the mid 90's. It was called Kindred: The Embraced. Unfortunately it was canceled after 8 episodes. Showtime wanted to revive the series but the death of Mark Frankel, the show's male lead put an end to it.
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I can't say I'm sad that Kindred was canceled so early (I only saw the pilot, but it was awful), but I must say I'm disappointed to hear that Showtime's attempt at resurrecting it failed. It's one of the few channels that could support a proper adaptation of the White Wolf universe. It's way too dark and gritty to portray properly on broadcast TV.
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If you want dark and gritty, watch Orphan Black. There's broadcast tv and it blows you away.
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First, Orphan Black isn't broadcast TV. It's shown on BBC America, which is cable-only.

Second, while it is on the dark side, it's pretty light on the gore and profanity and focuses on characters with a fairly robust set of ethics. A truly faithful adaptation of the White Wolf universe would require True Blood-esque levels of gore and profanity and Game of Thrones-esque levels of douchebaggery. Trying to air that outside of premium cable would result in bankrupting FCC fines.
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3 words: Greatest American Hero
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And one more thing. if they bring back MacGyver they better keep the opening theme!

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Three words: Bring. Back. Buffy.
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Firefly first! :)
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my vote to MacGyver
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How about a Farscape reboot about the adventure of Crichton and Aeryn's son that they had at the end of the miniseries?
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I would love to see a recreation of The Beverly Hillbillies. I wonder why they haven't tried doing that already. Just keep to the simple, clean humor of the original.
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They did the MacGyver Steampunk thing... anyone remember Legend?
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i remember that, and Anderson said it was one of the most fun things he did.
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would love to see another "brisco county jr" type show, obviously another star trek series or two, more stargate, macguyver isn't a bad idea at all either. quantum leap with scott bakula as the hologram with a female leaper as suggested earlier would be awesome as hell.
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Dare I suggest a Star Trek TV reboot.
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Depends... if it is like STTNG or STDS9, maybe, but voyager and enterprise left something to be desired.
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I liked voyager , but enterprise was a mess.
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sanctuary and a new stargate show would be cool
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A new Star Gate show would be cool, and make it closer to SG-1, because they tried to make something of Universe and it just didn't feel right. Need to be actiony and not try so hard to be dramatic.
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I second that emotion for Stargate but with an original idea not with a cloned one like they did with Stargate-Universe where they tried to do a very dark version of BSG
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100% agreed, sgu also very low budget. i wouldn't know where to start with an idea but 1 day im hoping for something.....ronin and teal'c has bounty hunters or something maybe lol
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How about a mash up of the Saint and Charlie's Angels but the Saint is a woman whose boss is someone like Thomas Crown and Charlie's Angels are 3 men with a boss who is someone like Catherine Banning. The three men recruited from Interpol, the FBI and Mi5 chase the woman and each engaging in a sexual tension with the Saint. Unknown to all Thomas Crown and Catherine Banning are married and secretly run these two conflicting groups. In the end, it is Thomas Crown and Catherine Banning who are using the world's treasure and heritage as their playground and the Saint and the Angels are just foreplay for what is to come.
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Being from the old Irwin Allen days, I would love some remakes of Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants, and a BSG style Lost In Space would be nice. I could really see a tough, almost mean Professor Robinson along with slutty Judy, goth Penny, and Cylon Centurion-styled robot.
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Time Tunnel would be great :)
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Two words: TWIN PEAKS
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I'd prefer a continuation and rumors have slowly been starting to build about one. Remember "I'll see you again in 25 years".
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Yes, the rumours have been floating around for a while. They seem to indicate that it would indeed be a continuation of "life in Twin Peaks 25 years later" but I wonder how they'd be able to make that scenario work. It would be great if they could get the original cast back together. I just think that Twin Peaks is one of the best TV shows of all time and it is such a shame that it didn't last longer. A reboot, if done right, could be a really great thing. But if the project fell into the wrong hands it could also mean disaster. That's the thing about remakes, sequels and spin offs - they have to be done right.
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I don't see how a reboot- unless it was part reboot part continuation, could anything but derivative (and David Lynch would in no way allow a reboot (it'd be an unoriginal copycat), I believe he would have to be involved; it's all up to him). Who wants to see Laura Palmer's death basically recreated with another FBI agent (not Kyle) involved in it? I sure don't. I mainly would like to just see a continuation (and ultimately final ending) of the trilogy of movies Lynch promised would wrap up the series that Fire Walk With Me's performance prevented from happening. Supposedly that or a season 3 would have involved Cooper's doppelganger pretending to be him and going on a killing spree while the sheriff and others struggle to get the real Dale out of the lodge.

As far as the rumors go, you may or may not know this but it's worth googling. Someone was hired to write a season 3 comic book several years ago as a companion to a dvd release. He inquired to people behind the show (other than Lynch) what season 3 would be about: they get him out of the Lodge, much time passes and Cooper becomes the town pharmacist and then I guess another killing happens, and Sheryl Lee was going to play another character (this time with red hair). David Lynch of course came down and prevented this project from ever happening. The thing that causes me to think something may happen is that word broke out on the internet awhile ago about Ray Wise letting slip that he was going to go back and shoot a continuation that Lynch is behind.
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Relax. We don't have to agree on everything. If we did it wouldn't be an intelligent discussion and it wouldn't be fun.

When I said reboot I meant something that didn't include any of the previous actors and just tried to copy the original thing. If previous actors were to come back, it would sort of a partial reboot. I guess that would be okay.
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Yes, Kyle and Ray look great and I have no doubt Kyle could still portray Cooper without a single flaw. He was/is my favorite character on the show and one of my all time favorite characters on television. In my opinion,the show had one of the best casts on TV - ever.Like I said, my 1st choice would be a straight up continuation with all of the original cast. But if they couldn't do it because of [insert problem] then and only then I would settle for a reboot/spin-off/whatever other word one could use for "Twin Peaks Comeback". I just love the show sooo much and seeing a conclusion or a revival of that amazing story would be one of my dreams come true. But I do agree with you. Of course I wouldn't want other actors playing my beloved characters. You misunderstood my first comment. All I meant to say is that IF they couldn't get the cast together for a continuation of the story THEN I'd like to see a new story with new characters (set in Twin Peaks) that somehow ties into the original story.

For example: 25-30 years later. There's a serial killer in Twin Peaks and there's a connection with the Laura Palmer case. So, a rookie detective gets Dale Cooper (played by Kyle) out of retirement to help him solve the case. That way both new and old characters could be tied into the story.

However, a continuation of the original is the best case scenario and my first choice. So again, in case I haven't made it clear: I AGREE WITH YOU 100%
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I actually disagree about all of the actors. It has been about 23 years and I think they've aged very well. Kyle has aged very well and could look very close to what he looked liked in that aged dream sequence. I also saw him a few years ago being interviewed when on Desperate Housewives; he just happened to have nearly the same haircut at that moment as he did on Twin Peaks and of course his hair was died black. I was surprised by how close that made him look like Dale Cooper. I don't think it's implausible at all that Ray Wise would come back. They'll probably use him in a similar way to Sheryl Lee, doppelgangers, cousins, etc. And he looks the same as he did in 1990. I'd be more worried about those actors that you haven't really heard much about in years, like Sheriff Truman, and whether or not they'd be able to fit back in. Of course they wouldn't bring everyone back; I assume they'd put plenty of new people on it as well. Frank Silva is the person that would need to be replaced but I could see them replacing him with MFAP, etc.
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Yes I read all that too. Of course a continuation would be the best case scenario. I would be the happiest if they continued the story. All I was saying is that considering the actors are 30 years older, it would be a challenge to make it all work and an even bigger challenge to get all of the cast back together. Also, if Ray Wise would ever be involved then surely it means it would deviate from the original story since we all know that it's not really plausible for his character to return. But if they can do a continuation and proper conclusion, then it am all for it.
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But if it's made by David Lynch
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It would be amazing if David wanted to be involved. He's expressed that he doesn't want to on many occasions but I hope he changes his wonderfully crazy mind. Lynch would have to be involved in some way because his unique perspective and kookiness is what made the show so brilliant.
Apparently Netflix are also showing interest in the project. It would be great if the show got picked up by cable or Netflix as it would give the show a lot more creative freedom.
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Knight Rider...but instead of a car, it's a robot that can transform into anything.
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NO! Just NO! That idea is precisely why Knight Rider was cancelled before the first season was over. But the Pilot was an amazing concept. Once they turned K.I.T.T. into a transformer it was game over.
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I agree with "Just NO!", but I disagree that the pilot was all that. The pilot was nothing more than an overlong Cobra commercial.
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So basically ABC has decided to destroy the great legacy of McGyver. Sigh, my generation turns in our graves ...that is if we're dead, which such a reboot might actually accomplish
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And it happens in movies as well, just saw this: http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/10/30/highlander-reboot-lands-a-director

Highlander still works as a movie, just because it doesn't have a extreme young team-jacob type actor and very little CGI doesn't mean young people of today wouldn't enjoy it, if they saw it. Sigh.. I'm too old for this..
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Quantum Leap with Scott Bakula being the hologram to a female leaper.
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Now THAT is a great idea!
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id love that
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Not a bad idea. I would watch that!
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If you ABSOLUTELY MUST do steampunk, do it properly by rebooting Wild, Wild, West. (the tv show, NOT the Will Smith movie). And NBC already did a Quincy type show. Anyone remember Crossing Jordan?
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The Prisoner. It could be amazing with good writing and special effects.
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The problem with remakes is that they put so much PC crap
It just ruin the show
new plot/twist yes, new modern technology yes
but not too much PC crap so you don't recognize the show
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They should make an adult version of Sesame Street
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There's a play called Avenue Q which I think does the same thing already.
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Steampunk MacGyver!! How dare you!!! I'd rather poke my eyes out and be forced to watch honey boo boo.
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nice contradictory statement, you cannot watch something with no eyes lol, but i do not think they should reboot MacGyver, i still watch reruns and I cannot see them doing it right.
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Hearing it would be pain enough..
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Nowhere Man!

but make it more understandable and use less denim...
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One of the GREAT under rated shows that UPN ever did..My name is Thomas Vale...
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how would they do McGuyver with Jared Padalecki? they'd have to drag him awa from SPN. plus they should not mess with RDA's McGuyver
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I'm still disappointed that the Bewitched film didn't deliver. I think it could have been great in a self parody Brady Bunch movie kind of way instead of saying it was not really a remake but a movie about a remake. It would have been great if they would have been able to land Jim Carrey as Darrin. He's so much like Dick York it's scary. Rest of the cast was dead on.

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Reboot Dexter and give it a not-shit ending.
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let that wait until the writer decides how the character shall perish. They are still releasing new novels.
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Good idea but it's way too soon for something like that. Maybe in another 8 - 10 years then give it a re-hash. Though i completely agree with a thorough re-imagining of the ending.
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Characters from Nip/Tuck and Rescue Me get together and form Nip, Tuck, Drop, and Roll.

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How about MacGyver but with guns? The science on the show was always ridiculous. Or how about his son believes in guns but he still doesn't. So there's tension.
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Webster the sequel. Webster adopts two kids of his own. They're taller than him and viewed by others as his parents.
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Steampunk MacGyver. I would definitely watch that show!
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no No NO NO.
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Quanutum leap great tv show
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How about a remake of Forever Knight?
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Moonlight?
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? that's an interesting concept right there... but then not really a remake so much as a sequel/continuation of the series. Even though it would have to be recast with new actors/actresses.
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A few years ago there was talk of a "Green Acres" reboot as a film starring Bette Midler. With THAT casting, it sounded like it had promise. But alas, it never happened.
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