Remakes, sequels and spin-offs… “old TV series” with a better promise?

Over the last year or so there have been many remakes, sequels and spin-offs of old TV series. We had The Knight Rider, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place and now in the beginning of November we will see V.

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I find it very interesting to follow feedback on these new versions of old series. It’s almost like the ultimate test to bring back a brand from the past. For those who know the brand it is about bringing back the good memories in modern context. For those who never experienced the brand in the past might have heard parents talking about it . Even though it’s not cool to like stuff your parents like(d) curiosity wins, you try and you are hooked. Mission accomplished: the brand has become relevant again.

I think that is happening with these series. It is a carefully crafted extension of the original brand promise, staying to the core of what made them cool in the first place but put in a modern context and adapting the stories to todays world.  So far it seems 90210 and Melrose Place are doing fine with exactly that. The Knight Rider failed miserably. You only need to watch 5 minutes of any episode on Hulu.com and you see why: it stayed too close to the original series. Back in the 80s a super car with talking robot (remember KITT?) was cool because it was hard to imagine it would ever exist, that excitement is lost when you put the story in the context of today. The Knight Rider core promise just became totally irrelevant.

V 2009 TV seriesWhat’s next: V!  I loved the series in the 80s! Then I saw it once in 2001 or so on TV and it was just… horrible. The characters and everything looked so fake… still the story should work still today, that is in a modern format with more professional effects. Cannot wait to see what ABC made of it: the visitors will arrive on November 3!

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