Bad series spinoffs insult audience, original product

Illustration by Ellie Erhart

Marlon Mckay
Contributing writer

Many TV networks and movie studios are renewing and reviving old television shows and movies. While plenty of these revivals are popular with new and old fans alike, some of these attempts are nothing more than studios and networks cashing in on nostalgia with little respect for the original work.

Spider-Man is a great example of the brand flanderization with not just one, but two movie series spinoffs in the last decade, including “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” These films followed the trend of having gritty, dark-themed superhero movies, contrasting greatly from the original movie’s light-hearted tone.

As David Sims of The Atlantic put it in his review of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” it was “over-stuffed with plot and consequently struggles to invest the audience in any of it, since there’s so much to get through and so many future films and spinoffs to set up.”

That was Marvel’s mentality — make a franchise, don’t worry about the story. The studio just wanted to make quick cash off its product. Some plot points — such as the true origins of Peter Parker’s parents — are brought up but overshadowed to the point you might forget about them by time they resurface.

What could have potentially been a successful franchise was hurt in the long run due to studio intervention for monetary gains. The Spider-Man franchise is on the rise once again, but movie studios aren’t the only media companies trying to cash in on nostalgia through reboots and renewals.

Television networks have also followed this “revival” trend by renewing TV shows with lackluster efforts. As a fan of fantastical shows, “Heroes” was a personal favorite, but many fans agreed that over the course of its four seasons, the show’s quality decreased dramatically. So not only was the 2015 renewal a surprise, it was a disappointment that fans of the original series struggled to get through.

Hal Boedeker of the Orlando Sentinel put it perfectly — “If you loved ‘Heroes,’ this is a stinging disappointment.”

When a series has run its course, it is better to leave it alone rather than try to revive it and cause an uproar.

Even prior to its release, the CW reboot of “Charmed” is generating controversy. It has received backlash from both fans and its original actress, Holly Marie Combs, for lacking any correlation to the original show. The creators plan to completely change the show’s mythology with entirely new characters and powers — the only conceptual connection to the original will be its focus on the lives of three sister witches. While some of these changes are for the better — such as a more diverse cast — it starts to feel like a completely different show.

Other renewals and reboots do have a chance to succeed, like in the case of “Will & Grace,” “Twin Peaks” and “The X-Files” — but they were given delicate care. The success of these shows comes from casting the same actors from the original shows, having the same people behind the scenes working on the creation, and actually having support from both the original and new fans for the show to return. Now those aren’t a guarantee that the project will be a success — sometimes a concept should just be put to rest, and there should be careful consideration before rebooting an old show or movie other than to follow a trend and make money from the nostalgia of it. It should respect the original product and make sure it is not tarnished in the revival process.

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