TV Reboots: ‘Charmed,’ ‘Murphy Brown,’ and ‘Greatest American Hero’ All Get New, Modern Spins
Posted on Sunday, January 28th, 2018 by Hoai-Tran Bui
No TV shows will ever die. They will be resuscitated by networks again and again, until they’re only empty husks of their former selves, all goodwill forgotten. But in the meanwhile, at least we get some feminist reboots of our favorite ’80s and ’90s shows!
Below, see some of the latest TV series to get a nostalgic reboot.
On the heels of The CW’s sexy, shiny reboot of the primetime soap opera Dynasty, the teen-centric network is looking to bring back another beloved series. A drama pilot for a Charmed reboot based on a story by Jane the Virgin creator Jennie Urman has been ordered by The CW, according to Variety. Urman will executive produce while Jane the Virgin writers Jessica O’Toole and Amy Rardin are writing and executive producing.
The original series, which ran for eight seasons from 1998 to 2006 on The WB, starred Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, and Shannon Doherty — later Rose McGowan — as three hip San Fransisco urbanite sisters who discover they are witches. The cheesy, soapy drama was focused just as much on the sisters’ mission to save the world as it was about their daily lives and romances, with a dose of ’90s rah-rah feminism that may make some cringe today. The reboot was originally planned to be set in the ’70s, but will now be set in the present day with a new “feminist” storyline. The network describes the reboot as:
“This fierce, funny, feminist reboot of the original series centers on three sisters in a college town who discover they are witches. Between vanquishing supernatural demons, tearing down the patriarchy, and maintaining familial bonds, a witch’s work is never done.”
CBS has given a 13-episode series order to a revival of Murphy Brown, according to Deadline. The new season of the 1988 sitcom will see the return of creator Diane English, as well as star Candice Bergen as the titular investigative journalist and TV anchor. English will write and executive produce the CBS revival through her Bend in the Road Productions banner, with Bergen also executive producing. The revival will come on the 30th anniversary of the original series, which aired on CBS for 10 seasons, garnering critical acclaim and 18 Emmy wins.
The show returns at a politically tumultuous time, something that the original series was familiar with. Murphy Brown was famous for its political satire and commentary, even weaving in current events into its storylines, like when Vice President Dan Quayle famously attacked the series in a speech during the 1992 presidential campaign — spurring the series to write its own response into the show.
The Greatest American Hero
The Greatest American Hero is getting a female-led reboot on ABC, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The outlet reports that the new series will be a single-camera, half-hour comedy “that follows Meera, a 30-year-old Indian-American woman from Cleveland, Ohio, whose talents include drinking tequila, singing karaoke and not much else.” The pilot was penned by Fresh Off the Boat writer-producer Rachna Fruchbom, who executive produces alongside FOTB showrunner/creator Nahnatchka Khan and Tawnia McKiernan.
The original Greatest American Hero was an hour-long drama that aired for four seasons on ABC from 1981-83. It starred William Katt as Ralph, a mild-mannered teacher who suddenly finds himself in possession of a super suit granted to him by aliens, which leads him to take up a career of fighting crime. The series once even dabbled with a female version of the hero in a season 3 episode “The Greatest American Heroine,” where Ralph attempts to find a successor for his suit.
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