With the reimagining of The Prisoner breaking out, or not as the case may be, on Syfy screens, Dean ‘he is not a number he is a’ Newman takes a look at other remakes, reboots and rehashes that have hit our screens, both big and small.
Lost in Space (1998)
More swish family Robinson in space with this great looking family flick that was an early summer blockbuster for 1998. Now, I really liked its look, feel and cast but I seem to be pretty much the only one – even Joey from Friends was good. A John Woo TV movie version also failed to (ahem) take-off.
Wonder Woman (2011)
We saw shots of her running down the street but that was about it, this David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal among other hits) written reboot of the Lynda Carter series never made it past its pilot (insert own invisible jet pun here). What were they expecting. I mean, Automan and M.A.N.T.I.S? Hello!!!
Battlestar Galactica (2003)
Gone were the disco overtones and Star Wars-esque vibes and in came grit and realism in what could generally be billed as West Wing in space and like lots of great sci-fi was more about the post 9/11 world we live in than the one up in space. Dark, epic and Starbuck was a woman! The original is pure guilty pleasure though and you’ve got to love those John Dykstra – the chap who also did Star Wars – models. Doctor Who and Blake’s 7 looked shameful in comparison. Bryan Singer is meant to be bringing something far closer to the original to the big screen in several yahrens (that’s years to you and me) if he can get it out of development hell.
The Avengers (1998)
No, not Thor and co, the remake of the 60s TV series with John Steed, his bowler hat and Emma Peel. The reboot had a miscast Ralph Fiennes, a delectable Uma Thurman, Sean Connery on rare bad guy duties, a mute Eddie Izzard, Shaun Ryder (!!) as a thug and giant teddy bears. As bad as it sounds. Apparantly there is a director’s cut version with about 50 mins extra footage…not sure if that is a good thing or not.
Ah, the atmospheric drum machine beats of the original, those thighs of Jane Badler and those ruddy gloves Mike Donovan wore in essentially Aliens vs The A-Team. The original killed off its best character, Ham Tyler, and people not making the end credits was also a familiar sight in the remake that again had echoes of a post 9/11 world and some great effects. Alas it never made it past a second series and although not the most original show in the world it held the attention and its ultimate climax meant it had a rather nice downbeat end to it all.
Bionic Woman (2007)
They can rebuild her…although Jaime Sommers couldn’t beat the dastardly writers strike, which saw the series produce only 9 episodes. Brit, Michelle Ryan, was on bionic duties and I enjoyed this all too brief bionic return. It’s a shame it never went to a second series.
Oh the irony, considering he can regenerate 13 times, turns out 9th time was a charm as Who came back for a whole new generation with improved effects, complicated and still scary stories, not to mention an amazing score each week. Chris Eccleston may have brought him back to earth but David Tennant is THE Doctor. News is that there is also set to be another cinematic spin off, something we haven’t seen since Peter Cushing in the 1960s.
Mission Impossible (1988)
That match strike, that theme tune, that white hair and those darned rubber masks were back in the mid 1980s – perhaps seeing that MaGyver was a success who can blame them for giving it another go. Peter Graves was still the IMF agent in charge but this time he brought a younger crowd with him – think Mission: Impossible: The Next Generation - which was shot in Australia. Cancellation: Possible became a reality after only one season. Perhaps that was why Mission: Impossible 2 the film was largely rubbish (funnily enough also set in Oz) as well, as something of a homage!
SeaQuest 2032 (1995)
He may have bit the laser in V but you can’t keep a good Michael Ironside down...well you can, underwater, naturally! Roy Scheider wanted to jump ship (ahem) after series 2, so they revamped it, ditched the DSV and added just gone half past eight, 2032. Scheider only appeared in about three episodes and despite upping the ante on the action front – not trying to be like an underwater Next Generation at all, I am sure, it sank without a ratings trace. I’m told Darwin the talking dolphin was speechless.
The Thing (2011)
A remake of a remake, how original. Carpenter may have remade Howard Hawk’s Thing From Another World but he did it in such a way that could never be equalled. So, those oh so clever folk in Hollywood have of course made a totally not needed, uncalled for prequel of sorts – look guys we know it is focussed on the Norwegian crew who are there before Kurt and co in the original but the game is up, we know it’s essentially a remake. With the scribe being the same chap who brought us the insipid Nightmare on Elm Street mistake I’m more likely to want to burn it to a crisp with a flamethrower than don snow shoes in a dash to catch it on the silver screen.
The Prisoner continues every Wednesday at 10pm on Syfy.