Two announcements got the hackles of fans riled up this past week. First, NBCUniversal announced a new Battlestar Galactica series for their new streaming service, Peacock. The other was a remake of The Princess Bride, via Variety.
Let’s start with the latter. Norman Lear, who produced The Princess Bride, is still active and has a vast library of works that he’s considering for remakes. The new One Day At a Time is just the beginning. However, Variety’s story says that there are people who want to remake the movie, not that there is a remake coming. However, the backlash already from the potential remake shows how fraught adaptation can be. The Princess Bride was released in 1987, over thirty years ago. Thirty years is about how long it used to be between remakes. The difference today is that the originals or most loved versions can be found on DVD, Blu-Ray, streaming, and reruns. The Princess Bride is also a beloved film; it touches the heart while being a fond parody of fantasy. When a fan wants to watch The Princess Bride, it’s not difficult to find the original and introduce new people to the movie. A remake doesn’t have a reason to exist.
Which brings us to the new Battlestar Galactica series. The most recent reboot series ran from 2004 to 2010, so not even out of recent memory. That series came about 25 years after the original first aired, again, a generation later. The 2004 series was a critical success, with tight writing and characters who were far too human. The problem is that a new /Galactica/ series is coming far too soon. The intended audience still remembers watching the 2004 series first run.
Between the two, though, other remakes slipped through the cracks, showing the fandom of The Princess Bride and Battlestar Galactica. Other series being remade for the Peacock streaming service include Saved By the Bell and Punky Brewster. Normal Lear is closer to a remake of Maude than a remake of The Princess Bride. The backlash about those three series being remade is non-existent. All three are at least thirty years old and not on a constant stream of reruns. Maybe the lesson here is to avoid the hugely popular series and movies when looking to remake something and go right for something that is known but not familiar. Doing so will give room to make adjustments for the progress of history.