We are living in the age of the reboot, when pretty much every once-popular TV show under the sun is either being remade or revived in one form or another — often with very mixed results.
Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson have already disappointed Baywatch fans with a big-screen version of the hit lifeguard show that pulled off the remarkable feat of being both light on laughs and long in running time. Then there was Dax Shepherd’s disastrous CHiPs movie — a film that swapped out the original show’s endearing charm for gross-out gags and dick jokes and one that duly underwhelmed critics and audiences alike.
On paper, resurrecting a hit television series should be a straightforward enough prospect, yet in practice, there are numerous examples of shows and films that have tried to cash-in on their predecessor’s popularity and have ended up falling miserably short.
In fact, there are some reboots out there that are so bad, you’ve probably forgotten they ever even existed. These are shows or even films that came and went in the blink of an eye, leaving little in the way of an impression on audiences.
Here are the 16 Terrible TV Show Reboots You Completely Forgot About.
16. Charlie’s Angels
Terminator Salvation director McG may have been able to score big at the box office with two Charlie’s Angels movies in the early 2000s, but it’s been an entirely different story when it comes to bringing the show back to television.
The first attempt saw a pre-fame Tea Leoni cast as one of four female leads in Angels ’89, a planned update of the show that was ultimately abandoned before it even began. It didn’t get much better in 2011 either, when Charlie’s Angels was resurrected for a second time on the small screen.
Developed by Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, who were intent on ditching the show’s campy origins, and starring Friday Night Lights’ Minka Kelly Charlie’s Angels debuted to negative reviews and poor ratings. It was canceled after just four episodes.
15. The Mod Squad
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Milla Jovovich, and Melissa Joan Hart all turned down the opportunity to play female protagonist Julie Barnes in the 1999 update of the hit crime drama series The Mod Squad. It was left to a pre-Homeland Claire Danes to take up the mantle in a movie which, on paper at least, had all the ingredients to be a hit.
Joining Danes in a starring role were 90s up-and-comers Omar Epps and Giovanni Ribisi while the supporting cast included Dennis Farina and Josh Brolin – what could possibly go wrong?Plenty as it turns out.
The Mod Squad was a bomb, scoring a measly 3% on Rotten Tomatoes and raking in just over $15 million off a budget of $50 million. It also earned a Razzie nomination for Worst Screenplay, narrowly missing out to Will Smith’s Wild Wild West.
14. Wonder Woman
The 2011 reboot of Wonder Woman has probably been forgotten about by most people, mainly because the pilot never actually made it to television in the first place.
Starring Friday Night Lights’ Adrianne Palicki as the titular hero and with Elizabeth Hurley as the show’s primary villain, Veronica Cale, the pilot was actually written by David E. Kelley, the brains behind Ally McBeal. It sounded like a strange fusion of the two; Diana Themyscira leads a double life as crime fighter by night and successful corporate executive by day.
Despite expectations NBC would pick up the series, the network ultimately opted against it. “In retrospect, it was probably a blessing,” Palicki told IGN, years later. “It would’ve been a really hard thing to shoot. And I got to wear the costume – I should say, I got paid to wear the costume! So not many people get to say that.”
Dragnet, the hit police series showcasing the efforts of Sergeant Joe Friday, has had its fair share of reboots. The first of these came way back in 1967, eight years after the show’s initial run ended. There was also a 1987 film, starring Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd which made three times its budget and signaled the continued appetite for the franchise.
Or at least that was how it initially seemed. Two years later, another reboot, The New Dragnet, arrived, eventually limping to two lackluster series. Worse was to come in 2003. With Law & Order’s Dick Wolf producing, Dragnet returned with the usually reliable Ed O’Neill and Ethan Embry playing Friday and his long-suffering partner Frank Smith.
The show struggled to find an audience and, amid poor ratings, was retooled after 12 episodes, with Embry written out, O’Neill sidelined and a young Eva Longoria included as part of a new, ethnically-diverse cast.. It made it to a second season but was soon canceled.
12. Knight Rider
The ongoing adventures of Michael Knight and his talking crime-fighting car KITT are a constant source of fascination amongst fans, despite the original show only running for four seasons and 90 episodes – a solid but unspectacular return.
That’s arguably why there have been so many attempts at resurrecting the series often with poor results. The first of these, 1997’s Team Knight Rider, tried to expand the Knight Rider universe with a team of high-tech crime fighters, each of which had a talking vehicle. It lasted just one season.
Then, in 2008, NBC decided to go all out with a fully-fledged reboot starring actor and model Justin Bruening as Mike Knight, the son of Michael Knight, while the legendary William Daniels was replaced by Val Kilmer as the voice of KITT. The show aired for one season of 17 episodes before being scrapped.
11. Prime Suspect
Helen Mirren won three consecutive BAFTA Best Actress Awards as well as an Emmy for her work on the British police procedural series Prime Suspect. In 2007, the series was even listed as one of Time magazine’s 100 Best TV Shows of All Times and earned widespread critical acclaim as well as Golden Globe and Peabody awards.
Mirren’s character, DCI Jane Tennison also served as an inspiration for countless female characters on American TV – including Maria Bello’s Detective Jane Timoney, the central female protagonist in NBC’s short-lived remake of the series.
Described as a “re-imagining” of the hit series, and produced by Peter Berg, the show earned largely positive reviews with Bello singled out for particular praise. It just wasn’t up to the standard set by the original, though, and was canned after one unremarkable season.
On the face of it, there really wasn’t a whole lot wrong with the 2005 reboot of Kojak. From the start, the USA Network appeared to have pulled off something of a coup in convincing an established movie star like Ving Rhames to swap the big screen for the small one – something that wasn’t all that common back then.
Rhames was on a high at that point after impressing in Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake and was hot property. He also had the commanding screen presence to fill the sizeable shoes of the late Telly Savalas as Kojak, the lollipop-loving detective with an affinity for jazz and shouting the words: “Who loves ya, baby?”
The critics seemed to love Rhames in the role – he bagged a Black Reel Award nomination for Best Actor on television – but the fans did not. The new Kojak limped to nine episodes before being put out of its misery.
9. Rockford Files
Another hugely popular series, Rockford Files ran for six seasons, 122 episodes and eight television movies with James Garner steadfast in the central role as LA private investigator Jim Rockford. That kind of prolific success would be enough to put most people off but not NBC.
In 2009, they teamed up with Steve Carell’s Carousel Television and Universal Media Studios to put together a revival of the show. They even recruited House creator David Shore to act as showrunner.
By 2010, Dermot Mulroney had been cast as Rockford, with Alan Tudyk, Melissa Sagemiller and Beau Bridges all brought on board as part of the cast. At that point, it seemed like it was all systems go, with a pilot filmed and ready to go.
8. Bionic Woman
The gritty 2007 reboot of Bionic Woman was supposed to be the show that launched the career of rising British actress Michelle Ryan, who had previously won acclaim on the hit soap Eastenders before leaving the show to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood.
She was joined by a solid supporting cast that included the late Miguel Ferrer, Battlestar Galactica‘s Katee Sackhoff, and Isaiah Washington. The show started well enough too, earning NBC’s highest midweek premiere ratings since The West Wing.
It was also the second most-watched show for its timeslot. Then the strike by the Writers Guild of America happened and the series went on hiatus. Soon enough, rumors that the show had been canceled began to spread and yet, no official announcement was ever made – it’s thought that the cast and crew were told. The show simply never reappeared on the schedule.
7. Melrose Place
The reboot of the hugely popular US drama series Beverley Hills 90210 was 90210. It may have only lasted five seasons compared to the original show’s 10 but it still did a damn sight better than the 2009 version of Melrose Place.
Not so much a reboot as a relaunch, the series attempted to pick up where the original left off in 1992. Buoyed by the early success of 90210 a year earlier, this version of Melrose Place took the show down an altogether different path.
Rather than a straight-up drama, the show became a murder mystery of sorts, after a bloody body is found floating in the courtyard pool at the apartment blocks, with almost everyone involved is a potential suspect. Despite this inventive premise, bad reviews and low ratings saw the new Melrose Place axed after just one year.
For eight seasons and 199 episodes from 1967 to 1975, Ironside essential viewing across much of America with millions tuning in every week to see Raymond Burr’s paralyzed San Francisco police consultant crack case after case.
Sadly, a fair few million less tuned into the 2013 reboot which saw Blair Underwood replace Burr as Ironside. Once again, Ironside was wheelchair bound though Underwood’s version of the character boasted far more sex appeal than Burr ever did – no offense, Raymond.
The show was initially met with controversy over the decision to cast Underwood, a non-disabled actor, in the role of a paraplegic. At the time, executive producer Teri Weinberg argued a non-disabled actor was required due to several flashback scenes.
It was pretty much all downhill from the for Underwood and the new Ironside. After just four episodes, NBC once again pulled the plug on another reboot amid negative reviews and declining viewing figures.
5. Miami Vice
Plenty of Miami Vice fans will recall Michael Mann’s big-screen reimagining of the series but try and get them to outline the plot and you might well struggle.
Mann’s 2006 film was everything the original show wasn’t. Whereas Miami Vice: the TV show offered a glamorous glimpse of Miami, complete with plenty of colorful characters, Miami Vice: the movie opted to make things as gritty as possible – including the color scheme.
Where once Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas was suave, sophisticated and effortlessly cool, Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell were moody, dull and, in the case of the Irishman, guilty of sporting a very dodgy hairstyle.
They also had none of the chemistry the original duo did. No wonder the film only managed to gross $164 million worldwide off a reported budget of $135 million. It’s dreary, dull, and thoroughly forgettable.
4. Get Smart
Though the big screen adaptation of Get Smart starring Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, and Dwayne Johnson stands up well enough few fans, if any, can recall the ill-advised TV update.
More of a follow-up than an out-and-out reboot, Get Smart ’95 saw original stars Don Adams and Barbara Feldon reprise their roles as Maxwell Smart and Agent 99. However, any fans hoping for more spy spoof fun would be left sorely disappointed with Adams and Feldon largely sidelined for a show that focused on their clumsy son Zach played by, of all people, comedian Andy Dick.
Created off the back of the success of the 1989 reunion movie Get Smart Again! The series aired on Fox, becoming the first franchise to air on all four major US television networks. It wasn’t enough to save the series, though, which was canned after seven episodes with Dick moving on to a major role on the hit sitcom NewsRadio.
Kenneth Johnson’s miniseries, chronicling the arrival of a technologically-advanced but deceptive species of alien, was ahead of its time when broadcast in 1983.
Considered one of the best miniseries of all-time, it spawned a sequel and a spin-off series that seemingly wrapped up the story. ABC decided otherwise though and, with the Battlestar Galactica reboot series earning rave reviews and strong viewing figures, decided to take a chance on bringing V back in 2009.
Lost star Elizabeth Mitchell starred but things hit a snag when Warner Bros. attempted to have Johnson’s “created by” credit removed from the show. Johnson filed a dispute with the Writers Guild of America, which halted production on the show.
The disruption meant the first four episodes aired followed by a three-month break. Though V did get a second season and earned decent enough reviews, its initial 13-episode order was cut down to 10 and was ultimately not renewed.
2. Kolchak: The Night Stalker
Kolchak: The Night Stalker may have only run for a single season on ABC back in the 1970s, but syndication ensured it garnered a cult following in the years that followed. The series focused on the adventures of Darren McGavin’s Carl Kolchak, a fictional Chicago newspaper reporter who investigated strange and peculiar crimes often overlooked by standard law enforcement.
Preceded by two television movies, the cult series was eventually resurrected in 2005. The Night Stalker was a very different beast though. While it retained the show’s focus on science fiction and supernatural elements, an entirely new cast was brought in.
ABC only had the rights to the TV movies too, rather than the series, which restricted the characters they could use. Starring Stuart Townsend — the actor famously replaced by Viggo Mortensen in The Lord of the Rings — the show was canceled after six episodes. Some guys just can’t catch a break.
1. The Twilight Zone
Rod Sterling’s highly inventive and much-loved anthology horror/science fiction series The Twilight Zone has been resurrected on more than one occasion, to some success too. Though the 1983 movie based on the show suffered some gravely serious issues on set, it still proved successful at the box office, while a 1985 TV revival ran for three seasons and a solid 110 episodes.
The same, unfortunately, could not be said for the second revival of the series which arrived on UPN in September 2002.
Though the series boasted Forest Whitaker in the role of host and narrator, episodes tended to either offer comment on some of the topical issues of the time or simply served as remakes and updates of old episodes from the original run of the Twilight Zone.
Despite another stellar cast, the approach proved ill-advised and the revival was canceled after one year. At present, there are no plans to bring the series back for a third time.
Did we forget any completely forgettable reboots? Let us know in the comment section.
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