Yet another classic cop drama has joined the ever-growing reboot roster for TV. A pilot for an updated version of Magnum P.I. has been given the go-ahead for production by CBS. The project is being developed by some of the names behind other recent successful TV reboots and will be produced with the intention to go to a full series.
The original version of Magnum P.I. made a household name of Tom Selleck, who played the titular Thomas Magnum, a private investigator making his living in Hawaii. It ran on CBS from 1980 until 1988, clocking up eight seasons consisting of 162 episodes. A consistently popular show due to its blend of action and good-natured humor, it prominently featured in the top 20 U.S. television programs according to the Nielsen ratings at the time. Like most cop shows of the ’80s, it had plenty of gimmicks and supporting characters to accompany Selleck’s colorful shirts and luxurious mustache. He developed an ‘odd couple’ friendship with Jonathan Quayle Higgins III – played by John Hillerman – who was an ex-British Army Sergeant Major, and he also had plenty of supporting characters for help. At the height of its popularity, Hillerman and Selleck even picked up an Emmy and a Golden Globe for the show. A sequel involving Magnum’s daughter was attempted by ABC in 2016, but never took off.
THR reports that this new show will be a fully updated version of the original. Thomas Magnum will be a decorated ex-Navy SEAL who tries to use his military skills to carve out a new career as a private investigator. A similar supporting cast to the original will exist, as he gets help from his fellow vets Theodore “TC” Calvin and Orville “Rick” Wright. The rebooted version of the Hillerman character is said to be that of former MI:6 agent Juliet Higgins. The show will explore Magnum taking on difficult cases for people who have no one else to turn to, as well as reportedly exploring some social issues regarding the difficulties ex-servicemen have in acclimating back to life in the private sector.
While it’s easy to be cynical about yet another rebooted ’80s project, the pilot is being written by Peter Lenkov, who is also the showrunner for the Hawaii Five-0 and MacGyver reboots, which can be held up as successful revivals of classic shows. Eric Guggenheim, his writing/producing partner from Hawaii Five-0, is working on the pilot with him.
However good the show is, there are unquestionably a large amount of older properties being rebooted for TV at the moment. Some of the most recent examples include Nancy Drew for NBC, Roswell for The CW, The Munsters for NBC, and another classic cop show Starsky and Hutch for Amazon. The updating of much-loved shows seems to be in current high demand for the networks and streaming channels. It’s a trend that doesn’t look to be ending any time soon.
There’s no news regarding casting as of yet on the Magnum P.I. reboot, and given the popularity of the previous owner of the title, it needs to be somebody that can rock a mustache with ease. As Selleck currently works for CBS, maybe there will be a cameo for him in the pilot as well. Given the writers behind it, hopefully Magnum P.I. will turn out to be one of the better reboots being attempted.
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