It’s 2017 so everywhere you turn there’s a film reboot or a beloved TV series getting revived. The latest is the forthcoming 12-episode coda to Will & Grace from NBC of which a second season has already been ordered, because in the Peak TV era, more is definitely more.
In an interview with Deadline, NBC President Bob Greenblatt detailed some of his other burgeoning revival plans, specifically mentioning his desire to bring back 30 Rock or The Office.
Twitter lit up, but let’s shut this down before speculation really begins. This is a terrible no good very bad idea and right now, there’s only one thing stopping this bad idea train from leaving the tracks: Stars who at least for the moment know better.
It’s every actor’s dream to embody an iconic television or film character. Those opportunities are rare, so it makes sense to cling to them when they do serendipitously arrive.
But there is that adage about beating a dead horse. Timing must be ripe for a revival; the audience must want it or feel its relevance. When Netflix picked up Arrested Development in 2013, it was a triumphant swan song for a series which, a decade previously, was tragically canceled and years ahead of its time. This was around the same time Disney began production on Girl Meets World, a strategic followup to Boy Meets World with just the right amount of cast overlap and a shifted target audience.
The chances of Greenblatt or one of his colleagues at the top passing on a reboot in the interest of artistic integrity are, quite frankly, laughable.
Revivals can work. The 2015 Netflix revival of Wet Hot American Summer reunited the cult classic’s hilarious cast to much success and critical acclaim. It was so unexpectedly not-terrible that a second season was ordered…and fell flat this past weekend.
There’s the frequent refrain that actors and producers are in it for the money. While that may be true and they’re often promised exorbitant paychecks, let’s gut-check this. No A-list celeb needs that extra money. The cast of Will & Grace will be living off residuals for years. Actors love to joke about how they’re unemployed between jobs, but when your last paycheck was for millions, let’s be real: You don’t actually need to work again in your life. You work because you want to, and you take a reboot to kickstart your career and make yourself relevant again.
Revivals are an almost foolproof financial plan, which is why networks and studios bet on them more and more frequently. The chances of Greenblatt or one of his colleagues at the top passing on a reboot of The Office in the interests of artistic integrity are, quite frankly, laughable.
So the onus of assessing what fits a reboot and what must be left alone falls to those who allegedly do care about the aforementioned integrity: Artists. Tina Fey told Greenblatt that more 30 Rock might not make sense; Aaron Sorkin said that while he’d love to revisit The West Wing, the timing isn’t right. Greg Daniels speaks for The Office, which was content to do two seasons without Steve Carell but shouldn’t dare touch a revival without him.
We thank you, stars who know better. Stay strong out there. We may say we want more Dunder-Mifflin, but all that would really accomplish is make us long for the original (the early days, natch). Say no to more reboots, and leave well enough alone.