Hey Hollywood, Ruin My Childhood
There’s nothing more predictable than the Internet blowing it’s collective gasket when Hollywood announces that it’s resurrecting content from the childhood years of one demographic or another. I read somewhere (probably Cracked.com) that people really need to get over this belief that any content that they consumed belongs to them in any way because really, you’re defending something that is only that awesome because you really aren’t remembering how bad those things really were.
To prove it, here’s some TV shows and movies I wish Hollywood would remake. It’s not like they could do worse than what’s already been done with these titles, and who knows…they might accidentally make them awesome.
Do you know how difficult it is to Google a vague idea?
I guess not all that difficult if you’re sure that your memories weren’t some kind of half-assed fever dream. Sadly, this one was not: Otherworld was about a whitebread family vacationing in Egypt (already we’re in the realm of fantasy) who are transported to another planet which may or may not be a parallel Earth because of some 1980’s contrivance that sounded 100% plausible during the decade when we decided that yeah, electing an actor as President would be a good idea.
I have absolutely no recollection of this show whatsoever outside of the fact that A) it existed, and B) it involved pyramids, and C) they had this really weird firearm that looked kind of like a phaser from the original Star Trek, but was held upside down. I don’t know why that stuck with me.
Basically, this show was the precursor to Stargate, and such hits as Terra Nova, both of which involved people being transported to far-flung locations after they’d run out of things to fuck up in their own universes.
I think this show is ripe for revival, considering we’re not going to get a sequel to Tron: Legacy because you people suck. That Automan was basically a crass attempt to capitalize on the success of the original Tron means that half of Hollywood’s reason for resurrecting dead franchises is already in the bag.
Unlike it’s big screen brother, Automan brought the computer generated person out into the real world. He came equipped with toy-ready accessories like an obnoxious, floating sidekick and a neon-lined Lamborghini that took corners at 90 degree angles (this was before computers could render curves)
I loved Automan because I loved Tron, and the idea that someone programmed a best friend that appeared in the real world was certainly something my young self appreciated.
Sometimes, something reaches such critical cultural mass that some cokehead in a corner office on a lot in Los Angeles screams his way through the production office demanding someone get him any and all info on that thing, because he just had an awesome idea on how to turn it into a TV show.
This is not one of those cases. It does, however, include a strange cultural artifact named Jacko, and an 18 wheeler that turns into a combat chopper, so I guess we have something worth salvaging.
Jacko was originally seen here in the US compliments of Energizer commercials which had him screaming “GET ENERGIZER! OY!” at viewer which single handedly unraveled the delicate work that Paul Hogan had done for US – Australian relations. Why someone thought that this guy needed to be in this Mad Max caricature is beyond me, unless it was to make the show feel more “Australiany”.
I liked this show — so much as it was — because what kid wouldn’t appreciate having an armored 18 wheeler that split open (every episode, of course) to launch an attack helicopter after some bad guys?
Manimal is the quintessential definition of what it means to have lived in the 1980s. Feathered hair. Secret agents. Rain-slicked urban environments. Weird lighting that gave the original Star Trek a run for it’s money. Manimal is proof that nothing was too weird for Hollywood in the 80’s.
Scene: A physician by day, a shape-shifter by night, he helps the cops solve the unsolvable crimes. Somewhere there’s comic relief (is if more was needed) and a weekly love interest. No, that’s the entire plot summary. Yes, I am serious.
Let’s move on.
See, the 1980’s were a great time for taking a single idea and building a show around it, no matter how limited in scope it might seem when you, you know, thought about it for a few minutes. Knight Rider was about a Trans Am butler. Airwolf was about conditioning us to Jan Michael Vincent’s squint and for introducing Ernest Borgnine to a new generation of viewers. Street Hawk was about a guy riding a motorcycle and wearing a helmet to hide his identity.
Street Hawk was created to supply America’s youth with a reliable and exciting source of radical stuntwork, like an urban version of The Dukes of Hazard. Since the motorcycle in question was supposedly “all terrain” (it handled particularly well on cheese), it always managed to find every ramp to jump in the greater metropolitan area where the series took place. There may or may not have been an explosion in the background more often than not. I can’t really remember but next time I’m at a flea market I’ll see if I can’t find the VHS box set of this show to verify.
I guess if Hollywood needed the next blockbuster meant to appeal to the nostalgia of 80’s kids, but with a hip, 21st century flare, They could cram all of these shows into extravaganza and call it “Street Hawk Highwayman: Rise of the Manimal Automan from the Otherworld” and get Robert Downey Jr. to star. I hear he’s got fond memories of the 80’s.