Friday, November 16, 2012

Television tuning to the past

Editor takes remake review to the small screen, highlights new renditions of some of television's classic shows

By Kelsey Mejlaender, Copy Editor

Just like movies, TV shows are often subject to the remaking frenzy. Though we may not have been alive — or at least not doing much more than drooling — for the first airing of a show, older relatives may remember these classics. To them, the original may be irreplaceable, but for those of us who have spent more time in the 21st century, a remake may provide the needed boost to an old-timer series.

"Dallas" – Original: CBS 1978-1991, Remake: TNT June 2012-Present

This soap was practically a college requirement back in its heyday, drawing students to congregate weekly for each new episode.

The show followed one conflict-filled family, the Ewings of Dallas, Texas, and focused on the bitter rivalry between brothers J.R. and Bobby.

In the remake, the backstabbing family shenanigans continue as the sons of the two brothers follow in their fathers’ footsteps. Actors Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy reprise their roles as J.R. and Bobby respectively, while Josh Henderson plays John Ross and Jesse Metcalfe portrays Christopher — the brothers’ sons.

With inclusion of some of the original actors, the show’s classic flavor is difficult to miss. The core qualities of the show are exactly the same, but the remake is contextually updated for 2012.

John Ross and Christopher are simply new and younger versions of the original dueling brothers. and despite their attempts to end the inter-family feud — and fortunately for every drama-loving viewer — they’re ultimately unsuccessful.

"Hawaii Five-0" – Original: CBS 1968-1980, Remake: CBS September 2010-Present

Nothing beats a classic detective story — unless of course you throw in a shelling’s-worth of action to spice things up. 

In the classic 12-season serial, Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams are cops on a special Hawaii state police task force, following clues and stopping crime in a no-nonsense fashion.

In the update, actors Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan portray Steve and Danny. Both have a lot more muscle than their predecessors and little inhibition when it comes to beating up the bad guys. 

Set in the present, the new Five-0 features snazzy tech equipment to assist the team's crime-stopping crusade. Steve and Danny are also a lot more laid back and tease each other constantly, giving the new show a lot of comedic relief to lighten the ramped up violence.

Though I prefer the update simply for its relevance, there are a few callbacks to the original, like use of the famous “Book ‘em Danno” line that marked the end of every episode in the original series.

"Beauty and the Beast" – Original: CBS 1987-1990, Remake: CW October 2012-Present

This show may be airing on the ugly stepsister of network television, but its ratings garnered it a full season order nonetheless.

True to the CW’s M.O., this show is a supernatural, girl-targeted romance that features only good-looking actors. Ironically, even the beast is absurdly attractive.

In the original, the beast Vincent is actually a beast and Catherine is an assistant district attorney instead of a police detective. When they fall in love, Vincent does not transform into a man, but remains in his beastly state.

The new version drops the “don’t judge a book by its cover” moral, opting instead for a Hulk-like twist.

Whenever supermodel Vincent, played by Jay Ryan, becomes angry, his face gets as scary as cheap television special effects can make it and he throws stuff around and punches walls.
The moral of this story: don’t agree to be the military’s human lab rat even if you’re depressed after your brothers die in 9/11. Yes, the CW tactfully decided to tie a painful and life-changing terrorist attack into its supernatural love story.

Although the remake has earned almost entirely negative reviews, the few episodes aired so far did not make me want to hurl tomatoes at my TV. Though the plot isn’t groundbreaking, the show might beat watching static.