Every decade is full of memorable television, but none had its own style and look like the 1980s. During this time comedies ruled TV, with many being heralded as classics. While it’s true that some like The Golden Girls, Designing Women or Cheers can never be duplicated, there are a few that we want to see come back.
One look through a TV schedule or streaming queue will show that reboots and revivals are all the rage right now. Will & Grace and The Conners have had successful new runs, so we’ve decided to take a look at 10 '80s sitcoms we want to see rebooted.
Following the tenants of an apartment building in Washington DC, 227 focused on the lives of four women who usually got the news of the community from sitting on the front stoop gossiping. The highlight was the ongoing rivalry between Jackee Harry’s Sandra and Marla Gibbs’ Mary. As much as they fought, at the end of the day they were still friends and the show was a real feel good comedy.
We’d love to see a new 227 that deals with what it’s like to live in the current DC. Anyone who follows Harry on Twitter knows that she’s still hilarious and would be great in a revival of her , most famous character.
9 WKRP IN CINCINNATI
Starring a wacky group of co-workers, WKRP followed the nonsense antics at a radio station in Cincinnati. It’s one of the most underrated comedies of the '70s and '80s, though it does get remembered every Thanksgiving for its classic “Turkeys Away” episode.
It was a precursor to workplace comedies like The Office and Parks and Recreation and featured many of the characters familiar to the genre like the overambitious second in command and the secretary who doesn’t actually do any work. Set someplace like Spotify or Apple, a new WKRP could feature DJs, podcasters and their guests, while keeping the spirit and charm of the original.
8 PUNKY BREWSTER
If you were a kid in the '80s, you wanted Punky Brewster to be your friend. She dressed awesome, talked cool and always had fun adventures. Punky was an orphan adopted by grumpy photographer Henry Warnimont. The '80s were full of wacky comedies about orphans.
Nothing really has to be changed to modernize the series, though some of the life lessons could be updated. Frankly, it would fit right in with any show currently airing on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon.
7 THE FACTS OF LIFE
There are some shows that are synonymous with the '80s and The Facts of Life is one of them. Four girls at a northwest boarding school are forced to room together and work in the kitchen to pay for damage they caused when sneaking out. For increasingly silly reasons, they continue to live together into their 20s.
Though diehard fans may bristle at a new version, TV needs more series featuring a variety of female characters who the entire audience can identify with. They can even have one of the original stars come back as the new Mrs. Garrett to connect the reboot.
6 HEAD OF THE CLASS
The way Friends sparked an avalanche of comedies about the shenanigans of a crazy group of friends, the '80s seemed full of high school sitcoms. A memorable one was Head of the Class, which was centered on the genius students in an advanced high school class and their aspiring actor history teacher.
Yes, it was packed with stereotypes, but it was also a lot of fun. The same premise can be kept for a reboot, just make the class more diverse and less offensive. Plus, the end of The Big Bang Theory leaves a nerdy sized hole in the schedule.
No '80s show was more bananapants crazy than Soap. As weird as you think Riverdale is, add another crate of weird on it and that’s Soap. Billed as a parody of daytime and primetime soaps, the show featured an incompetent mob hitman, a rich girl in love with her priest and just a generally unexplainable amount of nonsense.
A new version can’t necessarily have the same fun with soap operas, but reality TV is perfect for a show like this. The Real Housewives, The Bachelor, and the Kardashians should all be the inspiration for a new Soap.
4 DOOGIE HOWSER M.D.
Sure Neil Patrick Harris is a Tony and Emmy winning big star now, but we all remember him when he was Doogie Howser M.D. Doogie was a kid genius who became a doctor while struggling with all the usual problems of puberty.
The concept of a kid becoming a doctor is still something you would only see on TV, but there are new stories about child geniuses every day. All the same stories of Doogie trying to gain respect, while also being a normal teenager fit perfectly.
3 NIGHT COURT
What made Night Court so much fun was how it completely embraced the absurdity of its setting. The defendants coming through Harry Stone’s court were hilariously weird and often accused of the craziest crimes. They were also often played by up and coming comedians, who later became famous.
Though the jokes would have to be a little less suggestive for new standards, the nonsense and weird outcasts would fit right in with Brooklyn Nine-Nine or The Goldbergs. The only caveat is there can’t be another Dan Fielding, because John Larroquette made that character a classic.
2 A DIFFERENT WORLD
Born out of The Cosby Show, A Different World was a celebration of black culture that made a lot of teenagers want to attend an HBCU. It originally followed Denise Huxtable to college, but after the first season Lisa Bonet left and the show focused on her friends from then on.
A reboot could feature a whole new generation at Hillman and bring back some of the cast members as professors and staff members. Imagine Dwayne as a dean, Whitley as a counselor and Freddie as a law professor trying to interact with millennials.
1 SMALL WONDER
If ever there was a show made for a 2019 reboot, it’s Small Wonder. The series was about a robotics engineer who invented the Voice Input Child Identicant aka Vicki, to assist children with disabilities. He tried to teach her human behavior by having her join his family as their adopted daughter.
In a world where we rely heavily on programs like Siri and Alexa, a new version of Vicki would be very timely. The jokes about her misunderstanding people and not fitting in would all still work and the show would be even more realistic now than in 1985.