Apologies again for missing last week and for not having the announced column. This week is another intermittant side look as I gas up more columns.
Right, so, after *mumble* weeks of looking at various adaptations, reboots, and remakes and trying to determine what worked and what didn’t, it’s time to look at whether such beasts should be done. To further that, I offer my list of works that probably should not be redone.
Don’t get me wrong. M*A*S*H was a great TV series, introducing elements to the sitcom format that no one had thought of before. And, it was an adaptation of an adaptation. However, M*A*S*H came from the Vietnam War era and was very much anti-war. To do well, there’d have to be an unpopular war going on. While there are still troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, neither military mission can really be called unpopular, not to the degree the Vietnam War was. However, a spiritual successor was made – Canwest-Global/ABC’s Combat Hospital. However, Combat Hospital was very much a drama. M*A*S*H maintained an element of comedy, in part to be able to contrast the horror of war and the seriousness of the operating room. If any network is able to do a proper remake, though, I expect one of the cable channels, such as HBO or Showtime. Just expect to see a lot more of the doctors and nurses than you did on CBS.
Cheers has a different issue. It’s not so much that it’d be difficult to recreate the series; after all, it was set in a bar for most of its run with very little happening elsewhere. It’s the relationships between the characters that sets the bar high. Cheers was very much a character-driven series. Each person that came into the bar had different backgrounds and drives (or lack thereof). Recreating that may just get people to watch Cheers reruns instead. However, Cheers is a great example of how to do character-driven plots. The effort remaking the show may be better spent just creating a new series, even if it’s set in a bar.
Plan 9 From Outer Space
It seems like a good idea. Take a horrible movie, fix the script, add a decent budget, and poof! Great movie with a big audience. Except, no. Fans of Ed Wood watch his movies in part because he keeps trying, no matter how bad his movies are or how much they’re panned by critics. Plan 9, with all its problems, including the death of Bela Legosi, still has charms. Sometimes, people watch a bad movie for the fun of it. Remaking Plan 9 to be good would lose the movie’s charm.
The Princess Bride
A charming movie on its own, a lot of the charm came from the cast. A shot-for-shot remake would work out to be advertising for the original movie, much like the Psycho remake was. Changing the chemistry, though, would destroy the heart of the movie. The Princess Bride worked because of a combination of story, script, and casting that came together to be more than the sum of the parts. It would be difficult to to recreate that combination.
So, good readers, what works do you feel shouldn’t be remade and why?