Plenty of iconic TV shows get a second chance in the form of remakes, reboots, and revivals. Hollywood loves capitalizing on all that nostalgia. But if you ask me, there are tons of shows from yesteryear that deserve a comeback, too.
These are the shows that are so iconic that they’ve become part of everyday life. Characters are recognized as American cultural icons. They’ve seen decades of syndication.
I think it’s time to update them for a new audience!
Gilligan’s Island has got to be one of the most iconic TV shows out there. It aired from 1964 to 1967, and while it received solid ratings, it was unexpectedly canceled before a fourth season was made. Decades of syndication, with the show running in the afternoons, is what actually made the show so popular.
In a modern world full of smartphones and GPS, a reboot would definitely have to get creative to keep the castaways lost on an island. But hey, ABC managed it with Lost.
I Dream of Jeannie
I Dream of Jeannie ran on NBC from 1965 to 1970. While the original sitcom was best known for slapstick and campy shenanigans, you don’t have to dig too far to see that the popular show left us with plenty of enduring stereotypes involving Orientalism, assimilation, and sexism. And we can’t ignore that the show cast a blonde bombshell to play an Arab character.
Maybe these are all reasons that no one has bothered trying to remake the sitcom. However, the simple formula of pairing a boring, average man and a supernatural woman is always a winner. A remake would give this objectionable show the chance it deserves to be funny without being problematic.
Speaking of an average man and a supernatural woman, Bewitched is ready for a remake. Yeah, I know they made that awful movie with Will Ferrell that got bad reviews and wound up a box office disappointment. It’s time for a good remake.
Fantasy shows are certainly having a moment, so I think Bewitched could see renewed success if done right. With shows like The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina putting a spell on viewers, I think Bewitched could be reimagined on the darker side.
Bumbling secret agents are always funny, and Get Smart proved it. It originally ran from 1965 to 1970 and was clearly parodying the newly popular secret agent James Bond. The campy show centered on Maxwell Smart, an inept agent that works for the counterintelligence agency CONTROL. At least he’s got the intelligent Agent 99 to help.
Like Bewitched, this series did get a more recent film adaptation. It starred Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway, but only got mixed reviews. I think it’s time to bring this action spy comedy show back to the small screen, and perhaps they could keep those retro vibes.
Surely you know Rod Serling, the creator and narrator of The Twilight Zone. However, did you know he had a second anthology TV series that ran on NBC from 1969 to 1973? The series was introduced with a TV film that featured the directorial debut of Steven Spielberg and one of the last performances from Joan Crawford.
While The Twilight Zone was heavily focused on science-fiction, Night Gallery focused more on horror. Does anyone have Jordan Peele’s number?
The Beverly Hillbillies
From 1962 to 1971, audiences loved following the hijinks of the Clampetts, the backwoods family from the hills that moved to posh Beverly Hills after striking it rich on oil. Its ongoing popularity spawned a film remake (with a cameo from Dolly Parton!), but I think the Hillbillies deserve a proper TV remake.
Of course, a remake would need to make several changes for modern TV audiences to bite. The rags-to-riches story could use a new, cool city for the family to move to. Producers would also have to find another way for the fam to strike it rich instead of selling the rights to drill for oil.
Paul Henning saw plenty of success with the creation of The Beverly Hillbillies, so he did the rural character thing again with Petticoat Junction. The series centers on the rural Shady Rest Hotel, which is run by widowed Kate Bradley and her three beautiful daughters. Kate’s lazy Uncle Joe is always coming up with half-baked and ill-conceived get-rich-quick schemes.
An updated version featuring a bed and breakfast that sees a new, weird hotel guest every episode could make for a fun sitcom. To be honest, though, I’d love to see it turned into a dark, thrilling horror series. The setup is begging for it.
Paul Henning was riding the coattails (or petticoats, rather) of Petticoat Junction when he made the spin-off, Green Acres. This time, he flipped the rags-to-riches story and had a posh New York City couple turn rural. A wealthy NYC attorney fulfills his dream to be a farmer, and his glamorous wife is along for the ride.
If you ask me, a remake of this show would definitely appeal to modern audiences. After all, we’re living in a fast-paced world, and it would be fun to dream of leaving it for a simpler kind of lifestyle.
If there is one old show I want to see remade, it’s Space: 1999.
This futuristic series centers on Moonbase Alpha, a scientific research base on the moon. The moon is where people have been storing nuclear waste, but an unknown form of radiation is detected and the nuclear waste causes a massive thermonuclear explosion. The blast propels the moon out of orbit, and sends it — and the personnel stationed on Moonbase Alpha — hurtling into deep space.
The show originally aired from 1975 to 1977, and as you can tell from the title, it was set in the year 1999. Obviously, we’ve already seen 1999 come and go, so a reboot would need a new time period. But let’s be honest — space travel and shipping nuclear waste to another rock in the solar system doesn’t sound that far off. It still seems eerily relevant, and that’s why it deserves a remake.