Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sometimes They Come Back

A few years ago, if you had asked me if I'd like to have one of my favorite fandoms/franchises come back into the light, I'd have given you a resounding "yes!" Remakes, reboots, sequels, updates (for brevity: "revivals")... any of these would certainly make me happy, for one or more of the following reasons:

*A revival would signify that my fandom still had value & importance.

*A revival would potentially bring new people to the fandom, increasing its overall "value."


*Something new to watch and enjoy.

For years, it seemed like everybody else's fandoms got shiny new shows, remakes, and sequels, while my fandoms sat idly back in history, remembered by few and forgotten by most. My brother's favorite franchises, in particular, always seemed to be thriving. He liked James Bond (currently at 26 films), Star Wars (8-odd films, with more to come), and Star Trek (currently clocking in at 12 movies and 6 shows).

My fandoms didn't produce as much material, and certainly not as often as my brother's did. Mine also went through some serious dry spells. My fandoms have included Lois & Clark (canceled in 1997), Mystery Science Theater 3000 (canceled in 1999), The Pretender (2001), Harry Potter (last book in 2007; last movie in 2011), DuckTales (canceled in 1990), Indiana Jones (a 19-year film gap between films III and IV), Nancy Drew (mediocre TV movie in 2002, rotten film in 2007), Beauty and the Beast, Back To The Future, Anne Of Green Gables, Full House, and Pride & Prejudice.

Back To The Future, one my favorites (both as a kid and a young adult), had two sequels (1989 & 1990) as well as an animated TV series, so that was fortunate for us fans. I also loved Beauty and the Beast (1991), which... um, well, also had 2 sequels (horrific abominations that they are.) Another fave of mine, My Girl (1991) got a sequel in 1994, which I really liked. On the other hand, Father Of The Bride, a favorite go-to film of my preteen years, had a less-desirable sequel of its own in 1995. Father Of The Bride Part 2 may have been my first indication, at the tender age of 15, that revivals aren't always great.


Then there are remakes & updates. The two that stand out for me are The Parent Trap (original: 1961/remake: 1998) and Freaky Friday (original: 1976, remakes: 1995 and 2003). Both of the original films had a fun premise, but by the 90's, it was clear the earlier versions needed updating. The original Parent Trap has a weird, sort of flippant encounter with domestic violence, and the girls dancing to Annette Funicello records is just a bit too old-fashioned to even be quaint. The original Freaky Friday mom is stuck in an antiquated female role (Dishwashing! Cleaning! Mending! Baking!) and seems to like it, while the dad is a sexist douche. Annabel's friends say things like "far out" and one is literally named Bambi. FF's two updates both did a fair job, though I won't be surprised if another Freaky Friday comes along in the 2020s.

This is how it tended to go for most of my life. Every few years, there'd be some kind of fandom-related revival to look forward to. Even if the final product itself wasn't great, the revival could pave the way for something better. Like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. The movie may have been a bummer, but its release prompted a lot of cool merchandise, including multiple LEGO sets and video games.

But within the past couple of years, something strange has been happening with my fandoms. In a short time period -- the last two years, in fact -- a bunch of my fandoms have come swarming back from the land of relative obscurity and into the limelight. Crashing, more like. All at once. So much for that "every few years" thing....

2016 & 2017

  • DuckTales: After Treasure Of The Lost Lamp in 1990, DT had a 23-year dry spell. In 2013, they remade the video game (DuckTales Remastered). Now -- oh what the heck -- they're rebooting the freaking show!!

  • Anne Of Green Gables revivals are rampant these days. Admittedly, it seems like Kevin Sullivan releases some new Anne-related product every time there's a new moon, but not counting him, just in the last decade we've had books (Before Green Gables and Looking For Anne Of Green Gables), a movie (PBS's Anne Of Green Gables, with 2 sequels planned), and a Netflix series (Anne With An 'E'). Those last two came out within the last eight months. Two entirely independent productions about the same fiery Canadian redhead in less than a year!
I'm thinking of climbing a wild cherry tree to get away from it all...

  • Full House: Only in my wildest teenage dreams could that show have come back, but it has -- as Fuller House for Netflix. It premiered in February, 2016. With 90% of the original cast on board, it is already filming season 3. I don't like it, but... it's there.

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000I could have never imagined it would be back. I resigned myself to enjoying Rifftrax in all its humorous glory. But... they brought it back. The actual show. I mean, there's a new Joel/Mike character, and the bots sound different, and Tom Servo can, um, fly now? But it's still shadows in a theater making fun of cheesy movies, as if they've been carrying on that way for 18 years, no big deal.

Finally, there's...

  • Beauty and the Beast. I loved the original. Top 3 films of all time. For years I had wanted, and thought about, a live-action version. Probably ever since they did those live-action 101 Dalmatian movies with Glenn Close in the 90s. I imagined this new BATB being darker than the original, more adult. Angsty. Romantic. Heart-wrenching. Beautiful.

Y u no luv me?

Well, I do know some people who loved it!

Just the other day, it was announced that the 90's cartoon series Animaniacs may be coming back. While that show wasn't one of my personal favorites, it was important to people I know. Maybe those people are currently feeling excited. Or maybe they're feeling the way I am. Which is...


*Backs away slowly*

*Hides under a pop culture-less rock*

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