AMAZING STORIES and the Current Trend of TV Reboots

Get this. Apple is building an online streaming service to compete with the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. But you probably knew that already. However, get this… Their first major foray into TV programming will be a revival of Steven Spielberg’s ‘80s anthology series Amazing Stories. How about that?

The series, which ran from 1985 to 1987, blended horror, science fiction, and weird tales to great critical acclaim. For the next iteration, the conglomerate will be teaming up with Spielberg to produce a bigger budget version as they seek to pour billions of dollars into original content. At this rate, our monthly bills for streaming service subscriptions will end up in the billions as well if these damn capitalists keep flooding the market with them.

Good job I don’t plan on getting myself a social life anytime soon, otherwise I wouldn’t have time to keep up. Anyway...

Amazing Stories is one of several genre shows from days gone being lined up for the reboot treatment. We just experienced Twin Peaks blow our minds once again (but that was more of a direct continuation). Star Trek: Discovery debuted recently and some people are enjoying it. Earlier this year it was announced that comedian Seth Meyer is producing a Munsters reboot, which will be set in contemporary hipster New York. Meanwhile, news broke last week that Jordan Peele is set to helm a Twilight Zone reboot, making it the third time Rod Serling’s classic series will receive the update treatment. Elsewhere, there’s a new Tremor series in the works, along with planned reboots of Charmed, Roswell, and Tales from the Crypt at some point—and that’s just horror and sci-fi television; let’s not forget the upcoming Miami Vice series, among others.

But are they necessary?

There are arguments to be made for and against reboots. I’ve never had a problem with them personally; I firmly believe that every TV show and deserves a chance to prove itself, regardless of whether it’s a reimagining of the old or something that’s brand new and fresh. Maybe in an ideal world everything would be original, but seeing what new ideas can be brought to established properties is enticing as well, wouldn’t you agree?

The Amazing Stories reboot is being overseen by Spielberg himself, which gives me confidence that it’s going to be great. The original series was short-lived, lasting a mere two seasons despite being nominated for multiple Emmy Awards during its syndication. But the ratings weren’t sufficient enough to warrant orders for more seasons, so NBC pulled the plug before the show could say goodbye on its own terms. Thankfully, though, it’s garnered a cult fan base over the years and should be welcomed back with arms wide open. Spielberg and co. weren’t finished telling their weird tales back then, but at least now they have an opportunity to finish what they started back in 1985, albeit for modern audiences.

On the flipside, I wish I could be as optimistic for the Twilight Zone reboot, however. I believe that the original series is the pinnacle of genre TV and remains unsurpassed to this day. While I did enjoy the previous revivals, I don’t think they captured the lightning in a bottle brilliance of the original. In fact, most of the time, they made me want to go back to 1959 and relive Serling’s masterpieces. But I have no reason not to approach this with an open mind; if Peele’s reboot is awesome and successful we all win. The fans get a cool new show to devour every week, talented creators are afforded more opportunities to continuing doing what they do best, and genre TV remains a hot commodity on the small screen. And if it doesn’t live up, we still have the original series which hopefully young, modern viewers will feel inclined to check it out as well.

I see reboots the same way I see timeless characters, like Dr. Who, Batman, Godzilla, and the Universal Monsters. Dr. Who has been a success for generations because the Doctor is always regenerating, and the same can be said for the others. Sometimes it works out well, other times not so much… But we’re always willing to give each new incarnation a chance and hope for the best. So, I say let’s bring on these TV reboots and see what they’re made of.