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Old Vs New: 4 TV show Remakes Compared with the Originals

The landscape of television is always changing, and sometimes that prompts networks to bring back some old favorites to revamp. Welcoming in my first guest post writer, Katie takes a look at a few old vs new tv shows, and shares her thoughts on the contemporaries and originals. Take it away fellow Katie!

Sometimes network execs should let sleeping dogs lie. Like those holiday destinations we loved as a child and drag our own children around now; we should never return. The town looks old and forgotten and they’re serving microwave pizza and month-old chips rather than freshly fried churros and candy-floss as big as our heads.

The remake is a many faceted beast. It can find new heights and try something new and fresh and it speaks to a whole new generation. Or, like Frankenstein’s monster, it wakes up and we suddenly wish it hadn’t. Perhaps they hadn’t thought this through.

But amongst so many car-crashes, there are some returns that are worthy of the memory. What are you favorite or least favorite tv show reboots? Let us know in the comments below!


Battlestar Galactica

The original was classic 80s camp. There was more hairspray and disco in space than at our final-year high-school prom. Loveable characters, terrifying baddies, blow-dried hair and snug fitting outfits - what was there to hate?

A revisit to the 70s / 80s Galactica is certainly worth a couple of hours of your time. Back when Starbuck was a man (and not a coffee outlet), our weekly jaunt into space was something the 1978-1980 audience just couldn’t get enough of. With a passable spin-off movie to boot.

Battlestar Galactica 2004-2009 was a whole different ball-game. Thoroughly dispersing with the camp, we’re immediately thrust into a much darker, grittier universe. Serially nuked by the Cylons, whose new capacity for evil had graduated with flying colours, the universe had become a rather more complex place. No longer highly-polished walking slot-machines, the Cylons were now infinitely more terrifying because they’d assumed human form. Cue “the enemy-amongst-us” paranoia.

With a whole “Designated Survivor” scenario with a female president dying of cancer, the new Battlestar Galactica was a reboot that exceeded the promise of the original. If you haven’t watch it yet, make sure you do. Brilliant stuff!

Survivors

This is one for the Brits, but the brilliant BBC drama remake is available on Netflix for all to enjoy.

The majority of the country suddenly wiped out by a mysterious flu-virus is always a great place to start a drama and Survivors took no prisoners in rolling out a nightmare scenario that truly haunted.

The original 70s series was hugely popular and had the UK population rushing off to the chemists for emergency supplies of Lemsip (UK equivalent of Advil). Classic drama at its best, perhaps, but the 2008 revival seemed to capture a whole new audience, intensifying transferral paranoia all over again. Bringing the original up to date, we suddenly find ourselves in a world that lacks all of the essentials of everyday life - no electricity, no government. The doors of hell had opened - the cellular networks were down.

With no-one in charge and no police or security services, Survivors really does explore the world gone rogue. The remake was great - better than the original by far.

House of Cards

There’s so much to be said for both versions of House Of Cards. This is certainly a controversial one.

Hugely popular when it first screened in the UK, playing with the conventions of televisual story-telling, House Of Cards 1990 created characters so compelling and unpredictable that the world was immediately hooked. Indeed, the series is listed in the Top 100 Greatest British Television programmes by the British Film Institute.

The original was classy and very much a product of the late 1980s / early 1990s England, with all the stiff-upper lip, faux gentility and bubbling tensions of the unspoken.

American long-form drama has the knack of developing the orbiting characters of a piece with a skilful depth that shorter-running British drama never really get the opportunity to do. House Of Cards USA, certainly made the most of a compellingly evil collection of the self-interested, adding depths of complexity to character that Britain would never dare dabble-in back in the day.

Whether the Netflix remake is better than the original is a controversial choice. I think that this is a case of the remake equalling the original, not eclipsing it.

Dallas

Dallas caught the mood of the 80s perfectly. Shoulder pads, hair the size of your average wedding cake, women epitomising beauty and elegance, and brothers in arms holding each other at a safe arm’s length. Dallas embodied the “greed is good” lifestyle way before Gordon Gecko had ever had a chance to wax lyrical about it.

Yes, Dallas was oil when it was considered sexy - back-stabbing its way through sexy-time at any given opportunity. Exciting, a little bit evil and dripping with glamorous amorousness with the most recognisable credit sequence of any 80s soap.

We had the whole “Who Shot JR?” scenario that dominated the airwaves for months (strangely accompanied with a surprisingly passable novelty record). Bobby’s series-long reincarnation shower that stretched credibility to the absolute extreme. Sue-Ellen’s many collapses from the wagon - grabbing a cheeky swig from a tramp’s cooties-infected paper-bag grog was one particular highlight. And, of course, the passive-aggressive matriarch, Miss Ellie - so skilled at making everyone feel ever-so-slightly guilty.

And don’t forget the opening credits that weirdly juxtaposed bleak-looking oil fields and cattle ranchers herding cows with a split screen of Victoria Principle looking all tits and teeth, and JR’s evil, toothy grin.

How could you not love it? Then came the 2012 continuation saga.

In the 80s, oil spelt power, glamour and cocktails. After 11 years of the “War On Terror”, the context had changed, as had the world. Oil now wreaked of the Iraq war, and shots of cattle just reminded us that flatulence is killing the planet. The opening credits of the new series looked more like a corporate tourist video of Dallas’s glittering buildings than a celebration of decadence - oil fields and cattle were certainly conspicuous by their absence.

So, the return of Dallas felt a little depressing, like a reminder that Armageddon has already happened and we’re glossing over the details.  Yes, the return had some great one-liners, but sometimes you should just let a sleeping dog lie. They’re asleep for a reason.

About the author: 

Katie Porter is an aspiring writer, movie lover, and part of the team at Seatup. In her free time, she enjoys exploring her home state Colorado and plays in women's amateur rugby league.

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