We live in a world of reboots and remakes, but apparently it’s always been that way. Don’t believe us? Just check out these 7 TV remakes you probably forgot about and tell us death of originality is a new thing.
1. The Munsters Today
Completely new cast takes over for the classic crew of Fred Gwynne, Al Lewis and Yvonne De Carlo. Surprisingly, the new cast, led by Lee Meriwether as Lilly Munster, manages to air two more episodes than the original crew. The Munsters Today took place in 1987. The 22-year absence between this show and the first was explained by a science experiment gone awry, which caused the Munsters to sleep for two decades. (Thanks, Grandpa.)
Originally a radio program, the first Dragnet for TV aired in 1951 and ran eight seasons. It was revived in 1967 for another four. In both incarnations, it was produced by Jack Webb, who also starred as lead Joe Friday. Webb died in 1982 while preparing to reprise his role yet again. Beyond two failed attempts at a reboot in 1989 and 2003 (the latter of which starred Ed O’Neill as Friday), the series died with him. And before we forget, Dan Aykroyd starred in the role in 1987’s theatrical parody, which was actually quite successful.
3. The French Connection (Popeye Doyle)
Ed O’Neill again! Before he stepped in to the foul-smelling shoes of Al Bundy from TV’s Married With Children, O’Neill was a respectable Popeye Doyle in the 1986 TV remake of the Oscar-winning film The French Connection. The series was named for its hero instead of the film, but it was not picked up following a critically acclaimed two-hour pilot.
4. Night Stalker
As a fan of the original Kolchak: The Night Stalker, I sort of hoped we could get the gods of TV remakes to leave this one alone. However, Night Stalker, starring Stuart Townsend and Gabrielle Union, was a much better series than it had any right to be. The show ran during the 2005-2006 season, but only managed to eke out 10 episodes. We were sad to see it go.
5. Bates Motel
We’re not talking about the superior family drama currently airing on A&E. No, instead we’re talking about the 1980s made-for-TV pilot, which would have reimagined the Psycho mythos in a palatable safe-for-television manner. This was dreamed up sometime after Psycho II but before Psycho III. Thankfully, Anthony Perkins decided to return to the Norman Bates role and obliterate this disasterpiece from our collective memory. (Until now.)
6. The Honeymooners
It isn’t very often that the two main stars of a series reprise their roles in not one but multiple TV remakes. Jackie Gleason and Art Carney did just that with influential 1950s sitcom The Honeymooners. While you probably remember the old black-and-whites with Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph as their respective wives, Gleason would continue to film Honeymooners episodes alongside Carney and different co-stars all the way up to 1978. The series was also “remade” for the Stone Age with the classic primetime cartoon The Flintstones.
7. The New Leave It To Beaver
This one is more of a sequel than a remake, but it’s worth including anyway since the family comedy dynamic has just been updated for a new generation. In a casting coup, Telvan Productions and Universal TV were able to get most of the original cast to return and play alongside their (fictional) offspring. This one ran for about 102 episodes. (The original Leave It To Beaver did 235.
What were some of your favorite TV remakes? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!