Monday, September 25, 2006

Give It The [Re]Boot

Marc Bernardin and I have a little game going on here. It all started innocently enough with Marc recounting how he wished he was writing in the 80's because then he could write crap-tacular stuff like MANIMAL.

Then I had to open my big, mad-pulp-bastard mouth and throw out the R-word.

So that's it kids - what show would you like to reboot? What show in the dim recesses of your memory deserves a second chance to be done right?

(Just like Battlestar Galactica is being done right)

No movies. No comics. Just TV shows.

More importantly - you should also tell us how it should be done right. What changes would you make? Who would write / direct / produce it? Who would star in it?

Oh, and Marc? I have an idea on how to reboot MANIMAL...

And here's that reboot:


A series of brutal murders across the country lead FBI investigators to conclude that a serial killer is using trained animals to attack and kill random citizens - one is choked by a snake, another mauled by a panther and yet another clawed by a huge falcon.

Animal Behavioralist, Dr. Molly Harper, is called in to consult with FBI Agent Tony Smith and concludes that these people weren't just attacked by animals, they were attacked by the same animal - one which used the same M.O. every time, but with a different "weapon."

As Harper and Smith dig deeper, despite orders from the higher-ups to the contrary, they discover their suspect is a serial killer with the ability to become any animal genotype he comes in contact with. His profile is coded "Manimal."

It's X-Files meets Seven (with a bit of Manchurian Candidate).

Manimal leaves clues to his hunts to prod our two heroes to keep investigating. Harper & Smith learn that Manimal is really Jonathan Chase, a former operative for the CIA - who was declared dead in Afghanistan.

But who is Jonathan Chase really?
How did he acquire the ability to become any animal he touches?
Why is he murdering these seemingly random people across the United States?

As Harper & Smith uncover answers to the questions about the "man" in "Manimal", they must stay one step ahead of the conspiracy that surrounds Jonathan Chase, and try and stop a serial killer who fights tooth and nail to destroy those who have robbed him of his humanity...


Anonymous said...

Buck Rodgers. To be done right it should not be Batman campy but instead serious science fiction similar to the Battlestar Galactica reboot.

Bruce Findleton said...

Magnum, P.I.

Yeah, yeah, a "Movie of the Week" is supposedly in the works but can anyone really believe that it's not going to suck?

Instead, bring back Tom Selleck, after being cast out of paradise (landing in a gritty urban landscape instead; LA, SF, NY, etc.) and make him a semi-despondent anti-hero. A "Spenser" done right.

Anonymous said...

Facts of Life could be done so much more interestingly in these more liberated times of ours. Give it an hour and more of an OCish spin.

Miami Vice done in the style of this Summer's movie. (I was the one who liked it), but at least we have SMITH.


DecoderRing said...


Greatest American Hero Redux

That. Is. Awesome. How do you do it? You lose the cutesy-poo "I lost the manual and don't know how to use my powers"... But of course he's still a newbie, and learning... The CIA Spook isn't his best-buddy but a mysterious force on the trail of our hero... And are the aliens who gave him the suit really good guys? Or do they plan to use the hero (and others like him? How many?) to take over the world?

And most of all you make sure that you get right what Hero gets wrong: Having Superpowers Is Fun! It's fun, dammit! None of this cliched post-Marvel "oh no... I'm invunerable and I've got SATs coming up and homecoming is in two weeks..." horseshit. There are only two even remotely normal human reactions to realizing that bullets bounce off you: (a)start planning how to use these powers for your own material gain or (b) Look 45 degrees above horizontal as if being drawn slightly from above, clench your fist and say something very like "From this day forth, I shall be known as Captain Liberty!"... or some such.

Ok, that last bit wandered slightly off topic, but G.A.H. Redux is an awesome idea, Jutratest. So... so very sweet.

Cunningham said...

DecoderRing - you've obviously put a lot of thought into this one. It may interest you to know (but probably not) I worked on the first set of that DVD, and I watched many episodes of the show's first season in the space of three days. Those shows were THROWN together...

I always thought it would have been interesting for Ralph to have met his Russian counterpart...

So who else has a show they want to reboot?

Don't be shy.

Roger Alford said...

V is definitely ripe for a reboot, though BSG is covering the same territory this season. Be nice to see V redone with a bigger budget and modern SFX.

Though it's not actually an 80s show, I'd love to do a reboot of Lois & Clark. That show got off to a pretty good start (Teri Hatcher was fantastic as Lois), but after the first season derailed into stupidity.

Another favorite was The Flash, though I remember that one being good as it was.

DecoderRing said...

.... Actually, Bill... that's the first time it ever occurred to me. Which is a little embarassing, now that I think of it.

I really loved that show as a kid... but I've been afraid to get the DVD's, 'cause I'm pretty sure they won't stand up, and from the sound of it I'm right to fear that...


Cunningham said...

D-Ring: You are scary...

Roger: It doesn't necessarily have to be an 80's show.

I, for one, would like to see a new SWAT, an I SPY and IT TAKES A THIEF.

Anonymous said...

I once typed up a half-page or so in my computer journal about how I'd reboot Knight Rider. The only thing I remember about it at the moment is that I wanted the car to be voiced by Jon Lovitz.

Sorry. I'll try to come back later with a better answer.

marc bernardin said...

I really, really wanna do THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN. (Of course, nowadays, $6 million would just get you a really nicec pair of tits.)

But the idea of a man reconstructed against his will into some sort of robotic amalgam...and then forced to become some sort of spy. Maybe Steve Austin was a test pilot with something of a death wish. And he thinks he's finally done it, until Oscar and his scalpel-happy surgeons bring him back from the brink, essentially turning him into a superman.

Now, he really doesn't wanna live like this, but he's frakkin' invulnerable and the only way for him to find some sort of release is to go up against bad guys who might, maybe, have a shot at taking him out.

A little dark, maybe, but it'll keep him out of those damned track suits.

Unknown said...

Marc --

Ever read the novel the show was based on? It's in that vein. And, of course, the amazing GF variant.

Anonymous said...

CHINA BEACH - This time Iraq, but a real mix of male and female soldiers, hospital staff, Haliburton emloyees, blackwater contractors, and a very stupid inbedded reporter. All at some military base in the middle of the desert.

Cunningham said...

J - It was called OVER THERE.

Stefan Blitz said...

I always loved a really forgotten show called "A MAN CALLED SLOANE" from when I was a kid.

I also wouldn't mind a serious version of the A-Team. Former black-ops on the run, working as mercenaries for hire.

marc bernardin said...

No, never read the novel...hell, didn't even know there was a novel. I'll have to track it down.

And, yeah, that would've been one hell of an ep.

Piers said...

The novel that The Six Million Dollar Man is based on is called Cyborg by Martin Caidin - check it out.

Blake's Seven is/was a show ripe for revisiting, but a) I don't think it's quite crap enough for your challenge. OK, most of the time it's not. And b) if I did that I think it might be more interesting tonally to do something 20 years on in the same timeline.

So the show I'd love to do is...

Beyond Westworld.

The Westworld TV series. A whole five episodes. For years, no-one would even believe me that this show even existed.

There are robots that look like people. There's two hundred of them out there. And they want to take over the world.

The main story mine is "What does it mean to be human". It'd probably be an FBI or similar travel-show - our heroes must find and stop the robots wherever they are in the world before whatever programming they've got kicks in and they perform a terrorist act.

Some interesting questions: Can they be saved? Do they have free will? What if they want to help us? Can a robot ever really be trusted? Do they have a soul? Is it their fault, or the fault of the people who send them out to kill? What's their problem with the way we run the world anyway?

I think there's a huge amount of potential there.

Boxer said...

MST3K, I wouldn't change a thing. It was always perfect. Now I'm sad.

I think the band Cinderella put it best when they sang,
"Don't know what you got til it's gone."

Matt Davids said...

I think “Automan,” “Probe” and “Hard Time on Planet Earth” have a lot of reboot potential. But the two I would like to see most would be “Otherworld” and “Max Headroom.”

With “Otherworld” I’d delve deep into the mythology creating a viable new world. I would also play up the family’s tension between trying to get back and assimilating to the new world.

And with “Max Headroom” the possibilities are endless. An investigative photojournalist in a semi-post-apocalyptic, cyberpunk future could lead you to stories any and everywhere.

Matt Davids

Cunningham said...

Piers - I think you're mistaken. There IS enough crap in B7.

I saw BEYOND WESTWORLD when it was first out and I think you're right.

Matt - I liked OTHERWORLD too.

What's funny is that many of the ideas floated around in MAX HEADROOM are true today. I'm waiting for blipverts any day now.

Screenplays for Sale said...

Don't know if it's been done but UFO was one show that sticks in my mind when I'm asked about scifi shows from my childhood. Haven't seen it in over 30 years so don't know what I would think of it today. Anyone seen it? Don't know how I would [re]boot it. I'd have to grtab a cofffee and think about that.

DecoderRing said...

This may very well be the best topic ever. But when do we get to hear Bill's idea for Manimal?

marc bernardin said...

THE AVENGERS. If you can't find a way to make a gentleman spy and his hottie-Mc-hot partner work today, then you oughta turn in your keys. But Mrs. Peel should be Hindi. Really.

JONNY QUEST. But not with Jonny as a kid. Jonny is just out of college, ready to seek his own path, when Race Bannon visits him, cane in hand to support his artificial leg, and tells him that his father's been killed and he's the sole heir to the Quest fortune. Investigating his father's death, Jonny follows the trail as it leads him to India, where he finds that Haji is a criminal mastermind, and he's the one who ordered the hit. Jonny escapes with his life, but has gained an enemy who knows him intimately.

Then it becomes Young MacGyver meets Batman, with Race as Alfred/Commisioner Gordon and Haji as Two-Face/Joker, the Big Bad that Jonny thinks he can rehabilitate.

Two shows I'd wouldn't want to reboot, just see more of: PROFIT and NOWHERE MAN.

Kelly J. Crawford said...

I'd like to see the '70s children's series "Land of the Lost" redone. More serious this time around with deep family issues, and more peril to our three main characters, Rick, Will and Holly Marshall.

Also, there was this early 80s series called "Voyagers" starring the late (and unbelieveably gorgeous) Jon Erik Hexum with cutie-pie Meeno Peluce, that I think would be amazing with today's CGI technology. I had a wicked crush on Jon Erik and was devastated when he died 22 years ago on October 18th.

I also put in a vote for "Otherworld", "Buck Rogers" (watch it every Sat. on Space!) and "The Greatest American Hero".

Matt Davids said...

There was an updated “Land of the Lost” that ran 1991-1992 and I believe there’s a feature in the works.

Matt Davids

Kelly J. Crawford said...

A feature film? That would be awesome!

Kelly J. Crawford said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cunningham said...

Don't get too excited Kelly - it has Will Ferrell in it.

Kelly J. Crawford said...

Awww, crap! I can't stand Will Farrell. :-(

Roger Alford said...

Can't believe I didn't think of Six Million Dollar Man (thank you, Marc). I had pondered that one a few years ago. Have to be Six Billion now, of course. Thought this would be great as a feature, more faithful to the original novel. I was really bummed when Miramax announced it as a Jim Carry comedy. Thank God that fell through.

I'd have him as a NASA test pilot, testing the successor to the Space Shuttle. Someone, however, has sabotaged the spacecraft and it crashes big time, leaving pilots Col. Steve Austin and Col. Jamie Sommers in pieces. Goldman takes advantage of the situation (ala Robocop) and gives them both bionic prosthetics, planning to use them to root out the saboteurs. Austin thinks he's a freak and wants nothing to do with it, but Sommers jumps at the chance.

The format could be Veronica Mars-like with the sabotage plot running over the season, with other cases each week.

DecoderRing said...

.... It's a pretty awesome re-boot of Manimal Bill (see revised original entry)... though TV shows that are built around a mystery like that often either run out of gas or (in the event of early cancellation) leave you hanging with no resolution.

But... recogniazble name... one that could proabably be had for a song... Am I Cuckoo for CocoPuffs or does this sound like an awesome D2DVD property? I mean... I'd rent that. I'd say "Look, baby... they made a Manimal movie!" and she'd say "They made a what!?" and then we'd rent it. And if it was even half decent, we'd rent the sequel.

Dude. I think your duty is clear.

Cunningham said...

Think outside the box Gregg:

We make a complete 13 episode cable series. Perfect for TV. Perfect for TV DVD.

A 13-hour serial that has a decent chance to make its money back.

It also gives you the opportunity to create and examine some really cool characters. As you pick up the clues you learn more about everyone involved.

You use the cable show to promote the hell out of a must-have DVD set with tons of must-have extras.

Your last two episodes are a feature-length series ender...

With the DVD market flattening - this is an unusual package that will generate dollars with the right promotion.

I'm just saying...

Piers said...

Bill - I'm not defending Blake's 7 towards the end, nosirree, but there's a lot of good stuff in there nonetheless.

Though quite a lot of it is indeed crap-tacular. You got me there.

I trust you are even as we speak enquiring as to the rights for Manimal?

Simon MacCorkindale has a solid gig on Casualty these days, but perhaps you could tempt him back for a cameo. After all, apparently he reprised the character in Night Man.

(Which I've never heard of, but still...)

Cunningham said...

Actually Piers, it's Marc Bernadin's love for the character -not mine - that got this whole reboot thing started. I just thought of a way to make Prof. Jonathan Chase work for today's audience is all.

The whole point is to find and embrace the core concept of your show - then make it cool for the audience by giving it the proper backdrop and characters. What's cool about MANIMAL is that he's a guy who can change into animals, but still retain his human intelligence. That, to me says, "Scary." Thus we have my "X-Files meets Seven" take on it.

[And to be sure I also thought of the comedic possibilities, but thought that ground had been trod over rather roughly by Rob Schneider's THE ANIMAL]

Cunningham said...

Marc - interesting take on a new Jonny Quest. My only thought would be to give Hadji a really good motivation for his turn to the dark could work.

Now if we could only get Doug Wildey back from the grave to design it...

John Oak Dalton said...

Agree with "Land of the Lost" and "Greatest American Hero."

Also, "Ark II," "Jason of Star Command," "Wonder Woman," "Green Hornet."


Unknown said...


An unlikely mix of castaways wind up on an improbably isolated island. The castaways must deal with interpesonal rivalries and the legacies of their lives form before they were stranded in this jungle proving ground.

Although almost all of the Pacific s mapped, and there's no way they could be so far from Hawaii on such a short trip, their island is apparently undetectable by modern means.

The island itself is filled with bizarre, mysterious strangers and ruins. Not only that, but various people with strange links to the castaways occasionally are stranded with them, such as the filmn director who worked with the movie-star castaway ... what is the tangled web of coincidence and destiny linking these unfortunates to the astronauts, or mad scientists, or other "lost" people who wind up on ...

hey, WAIT A MINUTE ...