Add this one to the list of 1980s properties, including Real Genius and The A-Team, that TV networks have been mining for new series material. The Greatest American Hero, Steven J. Cannell’s goofy superhero comedy with good intentions, originally premiered on ABC in the spring of 1981 and ran for three seasons – now, however, it’s getting a reboot/remake.
The series follows a happily average guy who’s gifted a suit that grants him super powers, and all the glory and unexpected consequences that result. In the original Greatest American Hero TV show, the new superhero lost the instructions to his miracle suit, meaning the laundry list of otherworldly abilities had to be learned literally on the fly.
According to Deadline, FOX has ordered a pilot for the Greatest American Hero TV show reboot. This new series will explore “the story of what happens when great power is not met with great responsibility.”
The powerhouse team behind Greatest American Hero includes writer/director Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) and Cannell’s director daughter, Tawnia McKiernan (Grimm, Warehouse 13). They’re joined by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the director duo who’ve already explored Gen-X nostalgia with The LEGO Movie and the successful big screen reboot of Cannell’s 21 Jump Street. FOX is hoping for good things from Famuyiwa, who will write and direct the pilot.
A different Greatest American Hero pilot was ordered in 2014, with Lord and Miller also producing and a script by Rodney Rothman (22 Jump Street). However, the new Greatest American Hero reboot pilot will only be executive produced by Lord and Miller (who also executive produce the comedy series The Last Man on Earth for FOX).
The original Greatest American Hero was cheesy even by ’80s standards, and it’s not yet clear if the reboot will ramp up the satire or create another lovable, family-friendly superhero television show (like The Flash). The list of capable creators makes it seem possible that this series could work, but the next big hurdle is casting a charming lead with legit comedy skills. One also hopes they have hair incredible enough to compete with original star William Katt’s 80s mane of curls.
The constant reinvention of old ideas can get tiresome for TV fans, and many may find this choice of source material suspect. Even the worst ideas can take on new creative life in the right hands, however – and if FOX is taking a second stab at getting it right, maybe there really is something redeeming in bringing another red-suited hero to the small screen.
We’ll bring you more information on the Greatest American Hero reboot as it becomes available.