Science Fiction programs from the days of yore have been getting the hell rebooted out of them lately, to varying degrees of success. For every Battlestar Galactica or Doctor Who there’s a V or a Night Stalker. At any rate, a few sour notes are no reason not to keep trying. Here I’ve compiled a list of five shows from the 60s, 70s, and 80s that almost demand network tv redos.
(NOTE TO HOLLYWOOD: I would be happy to write pilots for any of these…just saying)
BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY
Space opera is a sadly dying breed on TV and a reboot of this 1979-1981 show based on the 1928 pulp character might just save the day. Developed by Glen A. Larson, the creator of the original Galactica, Buck Rogers followed a 1987 astronaut as he’s transported to the eponymous 25th Century where people have laser guns and the bad guys wear capes. For Galactica to be successful, it needed to be made much more serious, however Buck Rogers was never as heavy and had a much greater sense of fun, so hopefully such a reboot would maintain the tone. Plus, how could anything where a tiny robot continually says “biddi-biddi-biddi” be a hard-hitting drama? (Also, apologies that all I could find was this local TV commercial)
This 1967 series was groundbreaking at the time, but since then there have been several similar shows, such as Dark Skies and parts of The X-Files. This type of show is pretty intrinsically tied to the Cold War and the “red menace” we’ve heard so much about, but I really think this show could work in today’s climate of everyone being afraid of terrorism and identity theft. The notion of one person trying to convince the world is also a pretty terrifying and isolating one that would be really fun to play with. The only stipulation I have is that I would demand it still be a Quinn Martin Production and keep the theme music.
THE TIME TUNNEL
So, underground there’s this scientific military base, right? And, like in the base there’s this giant, black and white swirly tunnel thing, okay? And, dude, if you go into this tunnel, you can travel in time and junk. This is, I imagine, pretty close to the conversation they had over at Irwin Allen’s house prior to the creation of this show. However silly the premise, it’s a good way to explain how and why people are travelling through time every week. The funny thing about the show is that they used clips from big budget films of the day like The 300 Spartans to depict the ancient history, so I can only imagine a reboot today would feature a ton of Zack Snyder and Michael Bay movies. “See episode one, where the heroes go back to the battle of Pearl Harbor…”
SAPPHIRE & STEEL
This is a very weird British show I’ve only recently discovered. Made up of only 34 episodes comprising six “assignments” over a four year period, this series followed two operatives, Sapphire (Joanna Lumley) and Steel (David McCallum), who are the human-form versions of their namesake elements as they investigate and fix time-based problems on Earth. Make sense? This show was very minimalist, with only a few characters per story in usually only one location over the duration of the assignment, yet it still managed to be intensely creepy through its use of lighting and sound effects. The ripples in time often manifested themselves as ghost-like apparitions which made for a sufficiently scary science fiction series. If it were to be redone today, you’d have to amp up the scares and maintain the overall mystery of the lead characters or else it just wouldn’t work.
The guy who brought us the “Supermarionation” of Thunderbirds also created this bombastic series from 1975. It supposed that in 24 years, people would be living and working on the moon and in the opening episode, nuclear waste stored on the moon explodes sending it and the people on Moonbase Alpha hurling through space. It was the most expensive series ever produced for television at the time and was flat-out crazy. I think this show would be excellent if done EXACTLY the way it was in the 70s. Same production values, same costumes, same premise, and especially the same music. Who cares that 1999 was 13 years ago? That’s why it would be awesome. Why go to the far-flung future when we can make fun of how dumb we used to be? I think it could be a fantastic send-up of our intense and ultimately ill-conceived notions of what “the future” would be like.
So, I should just get started on all these, right? Right, Hollywood? Copyright Kanderson, 2012.
-Kanderson wishes everyone worse shiny jumpsuits now like we were promised so he isn’t the only one… Follow him on TWITTER