Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Return of the Mid-1980s

The imminent release of the Footloose remake made me realize that the last three years have witnessed the revival of a number of television shows/films from the mid-1980s.  Since 2009, studios have produced new versions of: The Karate Kid (original: 1984, remake: 2010), A-Team (1983, 2010), V (1983, 2009), Conan the Barbarian (1982, 2011), G.I. Joe (1982, 2009), and Footloose (1984, 2011).  I found it remarkable that the remakes occurred in a roughly 26-29 year cycle after the original.
A cursory review reveals that this pattern is a familiar one.  The early 2000s witnessed a similar dynamic with: Charlie’s Angels (1976, 2000) The Incredible Hulk (1977-78, 2003), Battlestar Galactica (1978, 2003), and The Dukes of Hazard (1979, 2005). One could also add Doctor Who, revived in 2005, to this list.  Though it originally premiered in Great Britain in 1963, the show reached unparalleled popularity with Tom Baker starring as the Doctor in the late 70s.
I think this pattern reveals the (ugh) maturation of Generation X.  Once a generation reaches a certain age and attains a certain level of power within the entertainment industry, it seeks to revive the treasured programs of its childhood.  While this is understandable and welcome in some cases, it does pose some frightening possibilities.  In all likelihood, we are about to see a revival of the late 80s.  There have been persistent rumors of a Quantum Leap film, which I would like to see.  More disturbing prospects include revivals of Full House and Family Matters.

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