My REVIVALS Revived…And Revived Again

My 1993 book TELEVISION SERIES REVIVALS is back… in trade paperback (as I mentioned last week) and now in a Kindle edition. I have no idea if Kindle users are interested in non-fiction, TV references books…but I figured I had nothing to lose by finding out. If it looks like they do, I may make my book UNSOLD TELEVISION PILOTS available for the Kindle, too, though that might actually take some time and effort on my part.

Television Series Revivals…revived

SKU-000127210_XLDid Gilligan and his fellow castaways ever get rescued? Is Dr. Marcus Welby still making house calls? Is Marcia Brady single? What kind of father did Beaver Cleaver grow up to be? Those burning questions and many, many more about your favorite TV characters are answered in my book Television Series Revivals:  Sequels and Remakes of Cancelled Series, which examines every TV series remake and sequel produced from 1955-1992.

The book, which was originally published in hardcover in 1993 by McFarland & Co., is now available in a $16.95 trade paperback edition from iUniverse through the Authors Guild's Back-in-Print program (and at no charge to me).

The sequels and remakes of nearly one hundred shows, from ADAM-12 to WKRP IN CINCINNATI, are examined in detail and include airdates,  cast lists and production credits. There's also a special section on animated revivals and sequels, like STAR TREK and GILLIGANS ISLAND. 

Here's what Booklist had to say about the book:

Have you ever wondered what happened to the castaways on "Gilligan's Island"? Many people have, and that is why producers, directors, and actors come together to revive canceled shows for reunion specials, feature films, or whole new series. Television Series Revivals is a compilation of information on the various mutations original series have undergone since cancellation. "Star Trek" is a good example of this phenomenon. It originally aired on network television in the late 1960s. Due to the immense popularity of the show in reruns and its cultlike fan clubs, the series was revived, first as a cartoon series, then as a series of motion pictures, and finally as a new series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

Entries are arranged alphabetically by original series title. Each entry follows the same format: the air dates and network of the original series; a plot synopsis for the revived series, film, or special; background information on the show; the title of the new show; its network and broadcast date. Information about each show came from a variety of sources: releases, reviews, and periodical articles. Plot synopses may be a bit confusing as the author combines the plots of all revivals, sequels, or remakes into one narrative. For a series such as "Eight Is Enough," which was followed by "Eight Is Enough: A Family Reunion" and "An Eight Is Enough Wedding," it is difficult to tell where one story line leaves off and another begins.

For a series to be included in this volume it must have featured continuing characters and have been in cancellation for at least one year, not simply on hiatus. Certain kinds of shows are not included: those based on literary characters (e.g., Sherlock Holmes); anthologies (with the exception of "Twilight Zone" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents"), variety shows, and game shows.

An appendix listing "Animated Revivals" and a bibliography of related titles round out the work. The index includes show titles, actors, and producers and directors. Black-and-white photos of cast members are provided for some shows.

As long as television viewers express nostalgia for the shows they once watched, producers will continue to revive them. Public library customers and librarians will find Television Series Revivals a useful and entertaining volume.

More TV on the Big Screen

It seems like every week someone is dusting off an old TV show and developing it for the big screen. Last week it was TJ HOOKER, this week it's THE BIG VALLEY. Variety reports:

The 1960s television Western that starred Barbara Stanwyck is being adapted into an independent feature by Kate Edelman Johnson and Daniel Adams through their Panther Entertainment banner.

Adams will direct the pic from his own script, whose storyline was developed with series creators Louis F. Edelman and A.I. Bezzerides. Plot borrows elements from the show’s pilot and several episodes.

I don't see the point of reviving the show…it's not as if it has a huge following. It would make far more sense to give the big screen treatment to more well known TV westerns like GUNSMOKE, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, or BONANZA (which BIG VALLEY essentially ripped off).

What’s Next, Diagnosis Murder?

I can think of a lot of TV shows that would make great movies, but TJ HOOKER isn't one of them. But Variety reports that director Chuck Russell, writers Brent Maddock & S.S. Wilson,  and series creator Rick Husky are mounting  a big screen remake of the cheesy, 1980s  William Shatner series, which ran for four seasons on ABC. Hey, maybe they can get Chris Pine to play Hooker.

The Plan is Coming Together

Variety reports that the cast is shaping up for the big screen version of my buddy Steve Cannell’s hit series THE A-TEAM. Liam Neeson is taken with the part of Hannibal (George Peppard’s role) and Bradley Cooper is being wooed to play Faceman (Dirk Benedict’s part). No word yet on who is being sought for the roles of Murdock (Dwight Schultz in the original) and “B.A.” Baracus, played by Mr. T. Joe Carnahan is directing, and Ridley Scott is producing with Jules Daly and Cannell from a screenplay by Carnahan, Brian Bloom and Skip Woods.


Interceptors, Immediate Launch!

Gabrielle_Drake I may be psychic. Or perhaps Stephen Gallagher is. Or perhaps the two of us combined are. Last night, Stephen took me to dinner with his daughter Ellen at a terrific Chinese restaurant in Soho. Among the many things we talked about how much we enjoyed the cheesy, silly 1970s Gerry Anderson series UFO (I absolutely love the Barry Gray score). So I was a bit startled to discover the  news today that Robert Evans  is developing  a theatrical remake of UFO. The script is being written by Ryan Gaudet and Joseph Kanarek.

The Robert Evans Co. has a first-look deal at Paramount, which will be first stop for the project. "We know the importance of the 'UFO' series brand to ITV Global, and we will work closely with them to build this into a franchise," Evans said.

This is not the first time a revival of UFO, either for TV or film, has been attempted. I believe the last one was for MGM and would have been shot in Australia. I wonder if they will keep the women with the colored hair…and the secret government base under a movie studio…and the Interceptors that could only fire one missile.

All You Need to Get a Movie Deal is an Old TV Guide, baking soda, and Richard Dean Anderson.

MacGYVER is the lastest old TV series being developed for the big screen. Raffaella De Laurentiis, Dino De Laurentiis, Martha De Laurentiis and series creator Lee Zlotoff are producing for New Line. 

"We think we're a stick of chewing gum, a paper clip and an A-list writer away from a global franchise," said New Line's Richard Brener.

Rehashes, Reworkings and Reimaginings

Once again, there are quite a few British remakes, shows based on movies, and "reimagined" old TV series among the pilots greenlighted to film for the 2009-2010 season.

NBC, burned badly by THE BIONIC WOMAN and KNIGHT RIDER, seems to have sworn off re-imaginings this season, though they are shooting a pilot based on the movie PARENTHOOD, which already inspired a flop 1990 sitcom on the same network.

CBS seems to have lost interest in foreign remakes (after getting burned with ELEVENTH HOUR, WORST WEEK and THE EX-LIST) and reimaginings (though they haven't tried any yet), passing on proposed remakes of HAWAII FIVE-O, LOST IN SPACE, and STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO. That said, their sister netlet the CW is shooting a MELROSE PLACE remake to capitalize on their success with BEVERLY HILLS 90210.  

ABC is shooting pilots based on the movie THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK, the 1983 NBC series V, and a stateside version of the BBC hit sitcom NO HEROICS
Fox is shooting a U.S. version of ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS and resurrecting THE HUMAN TARGET, a comicbook franchise that inspired a flop Rick Springfield series on ABC back in 1992. 

To see a complete list of the networks' various pilots, click on the individual network links above.

Remakes A-Go-Go and Not-A-Go

Variety reports that Fox has cast Kathryn Hahn as Edie (played by Jennifer Saunders in the original) and Kristen Johnston as Patsy (originally played by Joanna Lumley) in their latest attempt to remake  the hit UK sitcom ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS. Hahn was the neighbor in REVOLUTIONARY ROAD and Johnston is best known for her work on 3rd ROCK FROM THE SUN.

Meanwhile, director king David Nutter, who has a perfect record of getting his pilots picked up to series, has agreed to helm the third try at a WITCHES OF EASTWICK series. 

CBS greenlit a slew of pilots this week…but so far they haven't ordered the buzzed-about remakes of STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO or HAWAII FIVE-O

More Retro TV News

Fox has reshuffled the creative team behind it's big screen theatrical remake of THE A-TEAM. Director John Singleton, who previously bungled the SHAFT remake, is out and Joe Carnahan is in. Ridley Scott is now on board as producer, along with Stephen J. Cannell, who created the original hit series.
Carnahan will also team up with screenwriter Brian Bloom to rewrite Skip Woods' current draft of the script. The studio hopes to get the movie into production in June for a Summer 2010 release. Variety reports that some tweaks are being made to the series concept:

In the original, four Vietnam vets convicted of armed robbery escape from military prison and became do-gooder mercenaries.
The Middle East will replace Vietnam as the place the four did their tour of duty, but Carnahan said the origin story is the jumping-off point.
"This was a coveted property, and reimagining a show that I remembered as a kid was tough to turn down," Carnahan said. "Fox hired me to make it as emotional, real and accessible as possible without cheesing it up."