Reboot culture is bad for entertainment industry


Art Director Gabrielle Leitner discusses Hollywood reboots of classic television shows and movies, and how it might be of detriment to the industry.

GABRIELLE LEITNER, Art Director | [email protected]

We now have access to more media content than ever before through the Internet and streaming services, on top of the already established traditional forms of entertainment.

With the seemingly endless possibilities of plots for television shows, why is Hollywood reverting back to rebooting older television shows that have been off the air for years?

It is certainly not easy to reboot an old show. Writers have to come up with new plots that have not already been used in the previous run of the show, decide whether they should ask the former actors back to the show or recast altogether and find ways to work around other projects.

So, why is Hollywood reverting to these older programs instead of innovating on the television platform?

I think the main reason why studios are revisiting these shows is the nostalgia-factor that these shows bring to the viewing audience. Many of the shows that are currently being rebooted aired in the 1990s and early 2000s, which, for many people, are considered very nostalgic. Since television can often serve as a vehicle for escape, the nostalgia factor of some of these programs adds appeal and can transport people to a different time.

While I am enjoying some of these rebooted television shows and spin-offs, I feel like some of the creativity is lacking. Sure, these new shows are updated to fit better in today’s society, address current topics and make more relevant jokes, but the stories still feel like they have been done before.

The popularization of these reboots, remakes and spin-offs has created a “reboot culture,” in which every quality show that was ever created and canceled should get a reboot. As much as I would love to see a reboot of “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation,” this mentality is not good for the entertainment industry.

If consumers only talk about how much they want reboots of old television shows, Hollywood will take that into consideration when creating their lineups. This behavior is dangerous to the creative processes for writers and producers in Hollywood, as it pressures them to bring back these types of shows, rather than come up with new entertainment.

There are currently many great original programs on the air and through streaming services that are worth watching. While I appreciate and often watch a lot of older, off-the-air shows, I see it as almost disrespectful to these current shows for audiences to ask for reboots of those beloved shows, rather than take advantage of the current programming that is already available. 

I don’t think all reboots are all bad, but saturating the market with reboots may be. It shows that the industry may be struggling to create new programming and with the success that some reboots are seeing, this may be an incentive to showrunners to revisit their older intellectual properties. As more networks and studios start moving content to streaming and creating their own streaming services, such as Disney and their Disney + service, studios may find themselves with more opportunities to create content than they do with traditional television. It would be interesting to see them use their platform to launch new and creative shows, rather than rehash old characters and plot lines.

The industry can’t and won’t develop or change if all Hollywood does is revisit shows that have already been done before. While I enjoy older programs and their reboots, without new programs, the entertainment industry won’t grow and television will ultimately become mundane and unoriginal.