It seems that for every successful TV remake (The Office, Battlestar Galactica and, to a certain extent, 90210), there are three or four massive failures (Bionic Woman, Cupid, Melrose Place) that did nothing but offend old fans and new audiences. The lesson here is that some TV classics are better left to rest in peace, with their legacies–and our cherished memories–intact.
But that isn’t stopping the TV networks from mining the past for any concept that could cash in on public nostalgia after a quick Hollywood spit and polish: prominent projects currently undergoing resurrection include The Rockford Files on NBC, Charlie’s Angels on ABC and Hawaii Five-O in CBS.
Seeing that the remake trend shows no signs of stopping, we asked our Facebook and Twitter users what shows they actually want to see re-made on the small screen. The results were a mixed bag of older classics and more recent flops, and ranged from sitcoms to police dramas to game shows.
After careful consideration from the BuddyTV Team, here are the top 10 shows that should get a remake:
1. ALF (1986-1990)
ALF followed the misadventures of the Tanner family after ALF (short for ‘alien life form’) crash-landed in their garage and decided to stay until he could repair his spaceship. The saving grace of this otherwise traditional family sitcom was the burping, cat-eating, sarcastic ALF, who would still be funny, and could get away with a lot more, on primetime today. Plus, ALF had plenty to criticize about human culture and technology in the 1980s, so we’d love to see what he’d think of this new Reality TV and Twitter-obsessed age.
2. Starsky & Hutch (1975-1979)
This series about two Southern California policemen hosted the best of both drama and comedy for its fans in the 1970s, who loved both the high-stakes, often violent, plotlines and quick-witted repartee between the stars, who maintained a more devoted and trusting friendship than any two-man duo on TV today. But toward the end of the series, the violent scenes faded into safer, more romantic storylines. As a cable remake, a new Starsky & Hutch could capitalize on the combo of great writing and criminal brutality that made the show such an original smash.
3. Hey Dude (1989-1991)
Nickelodeon’s first and greatest original live-action series, Hey Dude, featured the silly summertime stories of a bumbling dude ranch owner and his trouble-making crew of teenage employees. Today’s TV shows for kids mostly center on spoiled brats and aspiring rock stars, so bringing back a show about funny kids running around on a ranch would be a welcome change of pace. Plus, the theme song (which featured a few shouts of “Yippee-ki-ai-ay!”) was top-notch.
4. The Avengers (1961-1969)
This successful British espionage series never really got a fair shake in America, whose audiences rejected its extreme “Britishness” and unpolished production when the series eventually aired here in the 1970s. But where it lacked in American glitz, The Avengers made up with cheeky wit, fun and outlandish spy plotlines and all sorts of British eccentricity that could be a goldmine with the right set of sharp writers and comedic actors to take it on again.
5. The Greatest American Hero (1981-1983)
The Greatest American Hero was about a teacher named Ralph Hinkley who received a red suit that gives him superhuman abilities. Oh, and did we mention the suit was a gift from a group of aliens who asked him to save the world? The title of the show proved hilariously ironic as clueless Hinkley tried to learn to use his suit (having lost the instruction manual in the desert, naturally), and the results were more slapstick than super. Imagine the powers of Heroes and the silliness of Chuck–really, the two best parts of the respective series, anyway—and you’ve got The Greatest American Hero.
6. Cop Rock (1990)
A short-live experiement on ABC, Cop Rock was an ensemble drama that punched up its police stories with song and dance routines. Though TV Guide accurately cited Cop Rock as one of the worst television series of all time, the success of Glee proves that the campy concept has potential, though the original failed in its execution. Who wouldn’t love seeing an action-packed rendition of Blondie’s “One Way or Another” by a dancing cop and criminal? (“I’m gonna getcha, getcha, getcha…”)
7. Cagney and Lacey (1982-1988)
American television’s first drama series starring two female leads, Cagney and Lacey paved the way for today’s tough, crime-busting leading ladies. Stars Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless were powerhouses in their roles as firecracker Cagney and working mom Lacey, combining to win the Best Female Lead Emmy a record six years in a row. Because of the premise, the show suffered under expectations to portray its two stars as traditionally feminine, but also had the opportunity to highlight social issues like date rape and work-life balance that particularly affected women–and still affect us today.
8. CHiPs (1977-1983)
CHiPs was a cop drama with a wink and a smile, following the oft-humorous adventures of two motorcycle cops on the California Highway Patrol. Erik Estrada starred as cocky, charismatic officer “Ponch” Poncherello, and Larry Wilcox played his straight-laced partner, officer Jon Baker. Clearly, modern TV viewers desperately seek more buddy-cop comedies in their weekly line-up, and the dangers and drama on America’s highways–with studs in uniform to save the day–are just as timely now as they were in the 1970s.
9. Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996)
Having spawned several film spin-offs, cartoons, and TV movies, Tales from the Crypt is a true horror institution, and for good reason: the weekly HBO series concocted a wicked potion of humor, horror, sex and big-name guest stars in spooky situations. To top it off, the show’s host, the Crypt Keeper, was a lively (for being dead) master of ceremonies with a soft spot for wordplay–and scaring our pants off. Scary stories, celebrities and a pun-loving corpse puppet, what’s not to love? The show has since found its own crypt, but having lain untouched for over a decade, this is one zombie that could benefit from a full resurrection.
10. The Odd Couple (1970-1975)
This classic comedy followed the quibbles and minor calamities of two divorced men–Felix, a neat freak (played by Tony Randall), and Oscar, a slob (played by Jack Klugman)–who shared the same apartment. The show flourished then thanks to its talented stars, and the right casting (may we suggest this year’s Oscar-hosting duo, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin?) could bring this well-loved series into the modern age.