As far as properties ripe for a reboot, the classic 1960s sitcom The Munsters has to rank pretty high – and with NBC finally going ahead with a script from the creator of Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies, the peacock network seems to think so as well.
Running on CBS from 1964-1966, The Munsters told the story of a clan of classic movie monsters (i.e. vampires, werewolves and Frankenstein’s monster) who, despite their outward appearance, were a normal, somewhat outgoing, middle-class family. The show was equal parts a send up of the spooky characters as it was other family sitcoms like Leave it to Beaver.
Though ratings were far from stellar during its two-year run, the show gained in popularity once it found its way to syndication – leaving future Pet Sematary star Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster) and Al Lewis (Grandpa) forever linked to their iconic roles.
Now, 45-years later, NBC and writer Bryan Fuller are ready to overhaul the characters and concept by envisioning the half-hour, black and white sitcom as an hour-long drama intended as a summer series or other event.
As is the trend, Fuller’s version is said to be a darker, edgier take on more lighthearted nature of the original series. This new vision for The Munsters will work within the confines of the same premise, despite an apparent shift in tone and with some tweaks to the characters and their origins.
Grandpa is, for all intents and purposes Dracula, who has constructed Herman as the only suitable mate for his vampire daughter Lily. The monstrous couple has a young son, Eddie, who, for some reason or another, develops into a werewolf at the onset of puberty – becoming the catalyst for the family’s move to the well-known 1313 Mockingbird Lane address. Reportedly, Lily’s niece Marilyn – an outcast due to her normalcy – will also be featured in the proposed series.
Even for those lamenting the lack of originality in Hollywood, and the ubiquity of rebooted properties, the mere mention of Fuller’s name should garner some interest. Having a somewhat whimsical writing style that would pair well with the visual stylings of Tim Burton or even French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Fuller’s version of The Munsters should be interesting in terms of its production, at the very least.
Furthermore, past projects of Fuller’s such as Showtime’s Dead Like Me and the critically acclaimed, but short-lived, Pushing Daisies both had a similar macabre feel to them. Fuller also plumbed the depths of the gothic genre when he teamed with Hellboy creator Mike Mignola on the animated project The Amazing Screw-On Head. Naturally, a property like The Munsters will allow the writer to go full-bore with the material, thematically speaking.
With NBC touting Fuller’s vision for the show as “visually striking,” perhaps this version will be seen as a more ambitious take on the material – similar to Burton’s upcoming Dark Shadows.
At nearly 50 years of age, The Munsters is definitely further down the proverbial well, so comparisons to the source material should produce some noticeable and interesting results, even if expectations aren’t immediately high.
Though they seem like a sure-fire bet, in terms of ratings success, reboots can be a tough sell – especially for savvy audiences starved for more original content. Additionally, there are the purists, for whom nothing but the original will suffice. However, MTV recently found success after they retooled Teen Wolf into a dark, teen-angsty drama series, so that could be seen as a spot of hope for The Munsters.
Screen Rant will update you as more news concerning The Munsters develops.