Originally posted by Nasty Pasty:
Anywho, I see many similarities between these 2 great Sci-Fi series'. Both ended at 72 episodes
If you didn't, I'm sorry, but did you get that figure off South Park? I remember an episode where two sci-fi nerds are arguing over whether the original Star Trek had 72 or 73 episodes. Probably Trey Parker and Matt Stone were trying to goad Trekkies into sending them furious letters so they could have a good laugh reading them.
And the reason why the Star Trek producers decided to cast new actors in 1986 is that the original cast were by then too old (James Doohan was already in his late sixties), and also the new show couldn't afford their salaries on a TV budget.
And lest we forget, there are actually quite a few shows that have returned after being axed. Next year Doctor Who
will return after a 16 year absence (bar the crappy 1996 American TV movie). And Family Guy will soon be back as well.
A number of shows have also been remade as movies. Although they've done reasonably well at the box office, for the most part they've been vastly inferior to the shows that spawned them. Example - the Flintstones movie.
But Doctor Who may best serve as an example of why such remakes are often ill-advised. It was originally cancelled in 1985 to much anger from it's fans. A year later it was recommissioned, but for the next four years the majority of the scripts were terrible, it haemorrhaged viewers, and in 1989 it was again cancelled, apparently for good.
Then fan power kicked in. For over five years angry DW fans demanded the resurrection of the show, backed up by good merchandise sales. Eventually the go-ahead was given for the American TV movie. It aired in 1996, but instead of celebrating the moment, the fans who'd been clamouring for it's return bitched about how awful the movie was. In many ways they're right, the movie is abysmal, an attempt to turn DW into another flashy effects action-adventure show. But it did demonstrate that an axed show being resurrected isn't neccessarily a good thing.
Last year the BBC suddenly announced that a new series of DW had been commissioned, partly due to fan pressure, and partly because by November they'd released every existing DW episode on video. The new series is currently being filmed, and will air next year.
Now there's a guy called John Gorman who lives in Stoke-on-Trent. His main occupation seems to have been writing angry letters berating the BBC for cancelling DW, and demanding it's return. For years and years I've seen his letters popping up on teletext letters pages. A couple of months ago, I saw a new letter of his, complaining that he "didn't like the direction this new series was going in".
Frankly that kind of attitude is what I think will sink the new series. No matter how good the new series is, there'll be fans like Mr. Gorman who'll compare it unfavourably to the original series.
Here's what I see happening. There'll be a huge media hype in the week or so leading up to the first episode, which will get a decent audience as a lot of the mainstream viewers will tune in to see what all the fuss is about. Within two weeks, the majority of the mainstream will have deserted the show after writing it off as "for sci-fi geeks only". Meanwhile the hardcore fans will be at each other's throats over whether of not the new show is any good, and more importantly, how it compares to the original. The viewing figures will soon sink, and within a year or two it'll be cancelled again. Think I'm being pessemistic? Look what happened to the remake of Randall and Hopkirk.
Had Futurama been recommissioned in the weeks or months following the initial hiatus, I'd have been confident that the show could return intact and faithful to it's former self. However as months become years the possiblity of Futurama returning in it's original form becomes less and less likely. It might
happen, but I doubt it.
This is why I think we should let Futurama rest. I'd love to see the show return, truly I would. But I don't want to see a shoddy remake that takes the shine off what's gone before.