TV Discovers New Way to Cannibalize Itself

Nowadays it isnt enough to resurrect old TV shows for revivals (new movies continuing the stories of the characters from the show), reunion specials (actors reminiscing over clips from the old show) and feature film remakes (like STARSKY AND HUTCH, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, CHARLIE’S ANGELS, etc.). Clever network executives have figured out a new way to exploit old hits… 

Now they are making TV movies about the making of  old TV shows.

There have been TV movies about the making of  BATMAN,  THE BRADY BUNCH,  CHARLIE’S ANGELS,  THREE’S COMPANY and now ABC is about to air DYNASTY: BEHIND-THE-SCENES OF A GUILTY PLEASURE. 

The movies-about-TV shows try to make the routine  power plays, artistic differences, and personality clashes play out like high drama (or low comedy, depending on your POV)  instead of what it really is — insanely stupid squabbling over nothing. What’s even more amazing is that people actually tune in to watch the stuff.

If this swill keeps scoring in the ratings, can TV movies about the making of MASH, ALL IN THE FAMILY, STAR TREK, and KNIGHTRIDER be far behind?

To me,  movies about the production of classic TV shows is a new low point for television, though not quite as offensive and jaw-droppingly low brow as reality shows like  TEMPTATION ISLAND, WIFE SWAP, FEAR FACTOR, and EXTREME MAKE-OVER.   But I suppose the  television industry’s endless fascination with itself shouldn’t be a surprise…  Showtime just announced it was making a movie out of  the battle between Michael Eisner and Mike Ovitz at Disney.

6 thoughts on “TV Discovers New Way to Cannibalize Itself”

  1. So, who do you want to play you in the movie about Diagnosis Murder?
    I will admit to watching the show about Charlie’s Angels. All I have to say is I was awed by the actress they got to play Kate Jackson. With such a distinctive voice, she captured it to a T.

  2. While I will admit — thanks to you — that there is no shame in watching “Diagnosis Murder” (mainly because Dick Van Dyke ROLLER SKATES… brilliant choice), shame-shame-shame on those who support the backstage voyeurism of television tell-alls. I agree wholeheartedly.

  3. Whoever said “Pop will eat itself” was a true prophet.
    Then again, I liked AUTOFOCUS. Genuinely creepy movie, and I can’t remember Greg Kinnear in that movie. I keep seeing Bob Crane. (The guy playing Richard Dawson, though, was horrible. Didn’t look or sound a thing like him.)

  4. I think there’s a big difference between AUTOFOCUS and these crappy “behind-the-scenes-of-a-TV-show” movies. AUTOFOCUS was a movie about Bob Crane, his bizarre sex life and his unsolved murder…not so much about the making of HOGAN’S HEROES, though that was certainly touched on.

  5. True, though I did like the scenes on the HOGAN’S HEROES set. The guy playing Werner Klemperer was dead on. That sort of thing works well as part of something else.
    But do we really need a movie about DYNASTY that’s more melodramatic than DYNASTY? Will it show the sctresses playing Linda Evans and Joan Collins wrestling over line counts?
    And STAR TREK? If they do one about STAR TREK, then we can finally say that franchise is really and truly dead. God knows it’s been on life support for about 7 years now.


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