Saturday, July 28, 2007

Reimagine This

Amongst the various commercials shown to me last night as I waited for the Simpsons movie to start was a five minute spot on the new Bionic Woman, which is apparently "getting the Battlestar Galactica treatment." That is, a hokey TV show of yore is being revamped, er, excuse me, "reimagined" as serious television. (This was obvious even before I learned that BSG's executive producer David Eick is producing the show.) At one point in the ad, actor Miguel Ferrer even said "This is not your parents' Bionic Woman," as was said by every other reviewer of BSG when it premiered. (No word yet whether Lindsay Wagner will be brought on to play a conniving politician with questionable loyalties.)*

Surely, there are a host of other TV series that could use the BSG treatment, shows which at the time were treated purely as escapist entertainment, the moral and political implications of their premises left woefully unexplored. Here are some possibilities:

The Beverly Hillbillies
In this "reimagining" of the beloved 60's series, Jed Clampett, a poor, humble farmer, strikes oil on his land, gets rich and moves to LA, where he and his family struggle with the pressures of newfound wealth and power. Jed becomes active in conservative politics, eventually buying a formerly liberal magazine and using it to call for war in the Middle East. Jethro and Elly Mae are almost destroyed by drugs and cliquishness at their new high school. With nothing left to do but sit around drinking, and steadily losing her sight from a lifetime of moonshine, Granny goes slowly senile, becoming an angry prophet of doom, her physical blindness a metaphor for the moral darkness which increasingly engulfs the Clampett family. This is not your grandparents' Beverly Hillbillies.

Knight Rider
Brilliantly anticipating the looming midlife crises of this show's original demographic, in this "reimagining" of the beloved early 80's car commercial, a mortally wounded good-looking cop in tight jeans is given a new name, a gooder-looking face, and even tighter jeans, as well as a souped-up, penis-shaped sports car, which goes 200 mph, has a full bar, and talks in the voice of Demi Moore. Michael Knight travels the country, arguing with his car/lover/self, saving young kids from gangs and drugs, and then bedding their mothers. The psychological dimensions and consequences of satyriasis are explored. This is not your older brother's Knight Rider.

The A-Team
In this "reimagining" of the beloved mid-80's Hollywood stuntman full-employment program, instead of Vietnam, the team served in Iraq. This is not your second cousin's A-Team.

In this "reimagining" of the beloved occasionally moderately funny 80's comedy series, a disillusioned high-powered executive, tired of a life of moral compromise, leaves Wall Street to run a cozy little hotel in a small Vermont town. His dream of rural tranquility is shattered when he runs afoul of Larry, Darryl, and Darryl, local psychotic inbred marijuana-smugglers who rule the town. While initially packing up his Benz and running for his life, Bob soon recognizes the clear moral choice before him, and is reborn as a shotgun-wielding avenger/hotelier in a place where violence is the only law, and everybody's baked. This is not your uncle from North Jersey's Newhart.

*My snark should not be taken to indicate that I will not totally be watching the new Bionic Woman.