Around the Water Cooler

In the world of television, sometimes the old is new again.

Reboot, reuse, recycle


Andrea Agardy


As the old song says, everything old is new again, and that certainly seems to be the case in Hollywood.

Saying that the entertainment industry has run out of new ideas is hardly an original complaint at this point in time, but it’s gotten worse lately. Maybe I just read more pop culture stuff on the internet than your average Joe, but recently it feels like there isn’t a week that goes by without a story (or two or three) about some long-since cancelled, or in some cases some recently axed, TV show making a comeback.

Shows like “Will & Grace,” “Hawaii Five-0” and “MacGuyver” have been resurrected — or, as the suits at the networks prefer to call it “rebooted” or “reimagined.”

And more are on the way. The past few months have brought news that everything from “Murphy Brown” to “Charmed” to “Cagney & Lacey” and “The Greatest American Hero” and “Magnum, P.I.” to name just a few.

To a certain extent, I get it. Entertainment is a business — and an incredibly competitive and lucrative one at that — and reboots come with a built-in audience while also providing an opportunity to introduce already established characters to a new audience that was too young to watch the first time around.

But “The Greatest American Hero?” Really? Granted, I was a kid the first time around, but the most memorable thing about that show was

In the world of television, sometimes the old is new again.

the theme song (“Believe it or not, I’m walking on air; I never thought I could feel so free-ee-ee”). And surely we can all agree that no one turned on “Magnum, P.I.” back in the day for the riveting case of the week. It was all about Tom Selleck’s mustache, hairy chest and shorty shorts.

For a lot of people, favorite TV shows are like comfort food, the entertainment equivalent of mac and cheese. And as someone who got way too invested in the romance of Jim and Pam, hearing about a potential revival of “The Office” makes me a little nervous, not unlike the way the idea of my mom deciding that adding tofu to her lasagna recipe is a good idea would.

That’s not to say all reboots are terrible ideas. Personally, I’m interested to see what happens in the new iteration of “Roseanne.” From what I gather, the revamped show will ignore the original’s bizarre last season and will also pretend that Dan Conner — who in my opinion is the best husband in sitcom history — never suffered a fatal heart attack.

So, if the idea of new versions of “Party of Five” or “Roswell” excites you, I say binge on. But do yourself a favor and check out some of the new concepts that are out there too. Personally I’d suggest checking out NBC’s “The Good Place,” a hysterical look at the afterlife or FX’s “Atlanta,” created by the unbelievably talented Donald Glover. For those of you whose sense of humor is firmly rooted in the dark side, I recommend SyFy’s “Happy!” which is quite possibly the most twisted thing I’ve even seen on TV. But please heed this warning — don’t let show’s namesake, an adorable blue unicorn, fool you. “Happy!” is definitely not kid-friendly.

Thanks to streaming services like Hulu and Netflix, there are more TV options than ever these days which, on the one hand means there’s something for everyone. But on the other hand it’s easy to get overwhelmed and fall back on the comfort of old favorites. There’s nothing wrong with that, but every so often it’s good to try something new if, for no other reason, than to avoid the possibility of “NCIS: Paducah” coming to a TV near you.

Andrea Agardy can be reached by email at

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