Between remakes, reboots, and unnecessary spin-offs, television is crowded with blasts from the past. Whether it’s an attempt to rekindle love for a familiar favourite or translate a show from another country into an Americanized sitcom, major networks keep trying to make modern hits out of old material.
Here are nine TV reboots that bombed with critics, turned away fans, or failed to make it to air.
1. NBC’s version of “The IT Crowd” was a failed reboot that never made it to air.
The American version of the highly popular British series “The IT Crowd” never managed to get off the ground. Richard Ayoade, one of the main cast members of the original, was set to reprise his role as Moss. “Community” lead Joel McHale was cast as Roy and Jessica St. Clair signed on as Jen.
Though a pilot was filmed and later leaked online, NBC’s “The IT Crowd” was canceled before the rest of the episodes could make it to production. Another chance at a US reboot is apparently in the works.
2. “Charlie’s Angels” (2011) was canceled after the fourth episode aired.
The original spy series “Charlie’s Angels” roan from 1976 to 1981 and was a massive hit with audiences. The adventure show starred Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, and Jaclyn Smith in the iconic roles of three female leads.
The ABC reboot, starring Minka Kelly, couldn’t capture the show’s original charm and failed to connect with fans and critics alike. It was canceled after only four episodes made it to air.
3. “Knight Rider” (2008) wasn’t the same without David Hasselhoff.
The first “Knight Rider” aired from 1982 to 1986 and was a crime fighting action series starring David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight and an artificially intelligent car called KITT. NBC tried to reboot it in 2008 with Justin Bruening (“All My Children”) as Knight’s estranged son and his Val Kilmer voicing the new version of KITT.
Ratings were low and critics were tough on the show, which led to its cancellation after one season. Slate’s Troy Patterson wrote, “If you’re looking to see the sci-fi Cheese Whiz of your youth transformed into something compelling, then you’re probably already watching Battlestar Galactica.”
4. “Ironside” (2013) was pulled from NBC almost immediately.
“Ironside” was an acclaimed crime drama that ran for eight seasons from 1967 to 1975. It starred Raymond Burr in the titular role of Robert T. Ironside, a special consultant for the San Francisco Police Department who was paralysed from the waist down.
The NBC reboot in 2013 cast Blair Underwood (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) as Ironside and attempted to be a much darker, grittier version of the former series. It was met with very poor reception from critics and was canceled after four episodes. Brian Tallerico of Hollywood Chicago wrote, “It is aggressively bad. Avoid at all costs. Blair Underwood … deserves better than the horrendous, uninteresting writing here.”
5. “Melrose Place” (2009) brought in low ratings.
CW’s reboot of “Melrose Place” was a reboot and continuation of the original show, which ran from 1992 to 1999. The original series was the second addition to the”Beverly Hills; 90210″ franchise.
The reboot starred an array of upcoming talent including Katie Cassidy (“Arrow”) and Jessica Lucas (“Gotham”) but failed to impress critics. The Hollywood Reporter stated, “It’s all brand new and shiny but comfortably familiar and keenly calculated.” Due to middling ratings, it was canceled after one season.
6. “The Bionic Woman” (2007) did not live up to the original.
In 2007 NBC rebooted “The Bionic Woman,” a show which itself was a spin-off of the highly popular action series “The Six Million Dollar Man.” The original starred Lindsay Wagner and proved hugely popular around the world, running for three seasons.
The reboot, recast with Michelle Ryan (“Merlin”), only ran for eight episodes. Like the “Ironside” reboot, the network tried to make the show darker and more violent than the original, which led to poor reception. Michael Idato of The Age said that since the series had gone “through a series of writers and producers,” it was “no surprise that what finally lands is a little messy.”
7. “Gracepoint” was an unnecessary American reboot of the British drama “Broadchurch.”
David Tennant headed the British drama “Broadchurch” in 2013 to rave ratings. The series centered on a small town rocked by the murder of a young boy and the detectives assigned to solve his case. Due to the show’s success, an American version was produced in 2014 on FOX for a limited series run.
The adaptation, renamed “Gracepoint,” retained Tennant in the lead role and added stars like Anna Gunn (“Breaking Bad”) and Michael Peña (“Ant-Man”) to the main cast. Although it was generally well received by audiences, the show was nearly identical to “Broadchurch” and many critics found it unnecessary. While “Gracepoint” only had a limited run on American television, “Broadchurch” currently has three seasons to binge.
8. ABC’s reboot of “The Muppets” left fans disappointed.
The Muppets have been a long-beloved group of puppets that include Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and many more. Created by Jim and Jane Henson in 1955, the Muppets have lived on in a variety television series and countless films.
In 2015 ABC brought the Muppets back in a “mockumentary” style show format similar to comedies like “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation.” Though nearly all of the original cast members and puppeteers returned, the series received mixed reactions from critics and audiences, with some parents questioning the age-appropriate nature of the rebooted show.
9. Netflix’s “Fuller House” is a hit with families but a miss for critics.
“Full House” was widely popular with families when it ran on ABC from 1987 to 1995. The huge ensemble included stars like Bob Saget, John Stamos, and Lori Loughlin. In 2016 Netflix thought that they could renew nostalgia for the old series by doing a reboot style continuation of the show. The new edition “Fuller House” focuses on DJ (Candace Cameron Bure), Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), and Kimmy (Andrea Barber) as they navigate adulthood in the old Tanner household.
Many of the principal cast members returned for the reboot, but Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen turned down the opportunity to return as Michelle, a role they shared as young child actors. While many “Full House” fans are pleased by the return, reception from critics has largely been negative. David Weigand of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “The episodes are predictable because they’re unoriginal and the writing is painful. The canned laughter is perhaps the greatest reminder of the ‘good old days.’ If only all those recorded voices had something legitimate to laugh at.”