We’ve all heard that Hollywood just recycles old ideas over and over, mass producing entertainment for the masses. Twin Peaks. The X-Files. Minority Report. Coach. The 10,000th take on Frankenstein. Call it the McDonald’s Effect on television, comfort food for the mind. Still, even I was a bit taken aback by the sheer volume of remakes and revisits announced today by multiple networks.
I know that favorites House of Cards and Game of Thrones were famously based on other material, but is this what we really expect from the “Golden Age of Television?”
Most high profile among the announcements today was FOX’s revelation that they are developing a short event series based on the smash 1987 thrilled Fatal Attraction which famously starred Michael Douglas and Glenn Close. Before rolling your eyes too quickly, the project will be penned by Mad Men writers Marie and Andrew Jacquemetton for Paramount Television. The series, detailing a married man’s affair and the subsequent fallout, has the potential to continue into a second season should the project prove successful.
Following closely in the prestige project list is A&E’s remake of the classic 70s mini-series Roots which has attracted Laurence Fishburne, according to today’s Variety. The new project has been described as incorporating elements of the original mini-series while adding new content pulled from historical research. The big question in my mind is how critics will react to the project after the minor push-back the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave received for its similarity to the original Roots mini in certain quarters.
Lifetime TV made two additional fairly large announcements today. One included the announcement of an original film about the life of Charlie Manson. While technically not a remake, the story of Charlie Manson has been oft-told, most recently in NBC’s Aquarius. This new production, tentatively titled Manson’s Lost Girls, centers around the girls who fell under Manson’s influence and carried out a series of brutal murders in the late 60s. The announced cast includes Jeff Ward (The Mentalist) as Manson and MacKenzie Mauzy (Into the Woods), Eden Brolin (I Dream Too Much), and Greer Grammer (Awkward) as the influenced girls.
Also from Lifetime is yet another “Unauthorized” telepic of behind the scenes shenanigans of famous television shows. Following in the footsteps of Lifetime’s Saved By the Bell and the yet-to-air Beverly Hills, 90210, and Full House pics is the Unauthorized Melrose Place Story. This outing will reportedly center on the recruitment of Heather Locklear to save the once-flagging drama. No word on whether or not Marcia Cross’s storyline as psycho Kimberly will be incorporated.
Finally, ABC announced today that Black-ish star Anthony Anderson will host a 6-episode reboot of the classic game show To Tell The Truth. Betty White and NeNe Leakes have been announced as panelists for the truth-telling show. The addition of the new game show is in direct reaction to the recent success of Celebrity Family Feud on Sunday nights.