The buzzwords around Hollywood are “reboot” or “re-imagining” (i.e. remake) and “unscripted” (i.e. “reality” shows), and the new crop of announcements from the studios and networks shows that they have no shortage of ideas on how to remake previous ideas. Read More for a rundown of the latest.
Just wait for The Lost Saucer: With filming of the big screen adaptation of the old Krofft show Land of the Lost starring Will Ferrell under way, Universal is already banking on this being a hit and has ponied up some cash to not make a sequel, but rather remake another old Krofft staple of Saturday morning, H.R. Pufnstuf, who has been making rare cameo appearances on shows like Drew Carey and South Park. However, instead of going for the kiddie comedy audience, they plan for it to take a much darker tone. Mayor Pufnstuf could be hiding a dark secret…that he eats little kids. To balance out not having Will Ferrell, his buddy Vince Vaughn will play the title role.
If at first, or second, you don’t succeed, keep throwing money away: ABC, which has already tried to bring Irwin Allen from the dead with remakes of Lost In Space and Time Tunnel, is going to try again. “We’ve brought in John Edwards to help in our negotiations this time,” said an ABC executive speaking under condition of anonymity. The target this time? Land Of The Giants, complete with giant plastic plants and household items. John Lassiter, head of Disney, ABC’s parent company, is said to insist that at least 50% of the show be computer generated in Pixar’s labs though – expect half the characters to be non-humanoid aliens. In the pilot, Spaceanic Flight 314159265359 flies through a magnetic storm and crashes on a mysterious planet where everything looks like it came from Costco. Everyone survives the crash, but three fourths of the survivors are later killed by a giant tabby cat. The remainder search for clues as to where they are, and if Tim Wakefield is still pitching for the Red Sox.
Shock The Monkey Two-Fer: Speaking of Saturday mornings, ABC, also operating under the philosophy that No Idea Is A Bad Idea, is digging into its own graveyard, and remaking two things at once. With a new idea to turn Planet Of The Apes into a kids comedy show, they are going way back to 1970 and use chimpanzees with voice-overs a la Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp. A lone human crashes on an Alternate Earth, where all humans have been replaced with chimpanzees. He gets involved in a war which came about allegedly as part of a search for Coconuts of Mass Destruction, but was really about getting cheap bananas.
If You Re-edit It, They Will Come: With Blu-Ray having won the Great Laser War, George Lucas is now faced with releasing his Star Wars Dual Trilogy on the new format. But will a straight transfer do? “No Way!” is the word (well, words) from the Ranch. Not only will a new high-definition transfer process (called THX-HD, although it still has to be invented yet) be used, but George will have plenty of wiggle room to make further “improvements” to his vision. In order to re-render the special effects in THX-HD, Lucas is going to be asking the legions of Star Wars fans with their ridiculously overpowered gaming rigs and Playstation 3s (“We don’t want those XBOX360s – HD-DVD is a dead technology,” he said. I didn’t bother explaining the technology to him.) to install a client program and allow it to run overnight that will harness the power of the Internet and render the effects in a matter of weeks. Al Gore, however, claims that to do so would increase global warming a thousand-fold in that time from the electrical consumption and waste heat from the computers, increasing the shrinking of the polar ice and raising ocean levels by about 500 feet – ironically, flooding the Skywalker Ranch. “Serves him right,” Gore said.
Once, Twice, Three Times a Failure: Frank Herbert’s Dune is already on its third production in 25 years, but that may not be the end if it – at least three other studios (I cannot name names, as this could affect the current rights and spark a lawsuit, stopping production – which is probably a good thing now that I think of it) are planning on capturing future rights and produce more versions. If this keeps up, it could surpass Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for Most Versions Of The Same Story.
Doctor Doctor, Give Me Old News: The BBC isn’t immune to this phenomenon either. After all, Doctor Who is enjoying unprecedented popularity and spawned off two successful sequel series. So the Beeb has been searching its archives for what to do next, and they’ve got a target: Blake’s 7. Like its predecessor, its always enjoyed a cult status, so there is at least a built-in audience. But there’s a catch – “We were told we could remake any series we wanted,” producer and former janitor Ewan Tanoughshew said, “but we couldn’t spend any money on it.” So, instead of filming new scenes, they will simply re-edit the old show and recycle the special effects from other shows to make up for the cardboard cutouts used in the original. “The new ship is cool, if oddly familiar.” He hints that they “…made a deal with Paramount for some old models.” To spice up the show a bit, the asexual Federation guards in their black uniforms and Plexiglas halo helmets will be edited out and replaced with the female guards from Star Maidens (am I the only one who remembers this?), with their crop tops, short shorts and gogo boots. Scenes involving Gareth Thomas, who starred in both shows, will also be re-used, although no explanation for the streak of blond hair in some scenes has not been made. They are currently retrieving the film reels, which were kept in the back of a chip shop in West Ruislip.
“We’re also in negotiations for the rights to Space: 1999,” Ewan told Sci-Fi Storm. We asked, “How will you handle the fact that its now 2008, and the moon is still here?” “We have two approaches – one is to present the show strictly has a historical fiction – what could have happened. The other is to say that the moon left and was replaced by a giant pie plate.” My faith in the BBC for quality TV is restored.