A Hogan’s Heroes sequel series is in the works. While a revival of a show from the 1960s, set in a World War II German prisoner of war camp, might seem like an odd choice, reboots and re-imaginations are becoming as common on the small screen as they are across movie theaters.
Debuting in 1965, and airing until 1971, Hogan’s Heroes was a CBS sitcom that centered around U.S. Colonel Robert Hogan. Hogan, along with his staff of experts, are held as prisoners during the second World War. The group covertly use the camp, where they’re held as prisoners of war, to conduct espionage and sabotage missions, as well as to help other captives escape through secret tunnels. The humor of the show was often drawn from the ineptitude of the captors who believe, thanks to some trickery from Hogan and his men, that no prisoners have ever escaped. The sitcom, created by Bernard Fein and Al Ruddy, was nominated for 12 Emmys and won twice. Now, Ruddy is returning to the series he created with hopes of giving it a modern attempt.
According to Deadline, the new version of Hogan’s Heroes will be a reimagined single-camera comedy, which blends in elements of action and adventure. Set in the present day, the show will reportedly revolve around the descendants of the original heroes as they team up with the goal of succeeding in a global treasure hunt. Ruddy will be involved as executive producer, along with David Gordon Green and Danny McBride. Green and McBride have rebooted the Halloween franchise, with two sequels currently planned.
While some film critics have complained about the excess of spin-offs and live-action remakes, which tend to spike during the summer box office season, television has its own case to make for relying on existing franchises. The CW has specialized in refreshing old properties, giving an updated twist to Dynasty and Charmed. It intends to do the same with Dark Shadows. Each of the upcoming streaming services, from Apple, to Disney+, to HBO Max to NBCUniversal’s newly-announced platform, are heavily counting on recognizable brands to bring in audiences.
The new version of Hogan’s Heroes is a little different, and a little curious for one reason: It sounds nothing at all like the original. It begs the question of why there would be a sense of reluctance to make a new series, unattached to any previous history, about globe-trotting treasure hunters. While the involvement of the original’s co-creator is a sign that the two versions might be more connected than the initial premise suggests, it is only the latest example of an entertainment industry that is more comfortable reviving old content than taking big chances with something new.