Where Has All the Creativity Gone?

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Full HouseLast year, shortly after NBC announced it’s intended revival of Heroes, I wrote a column about shows I thought were much more deserving of a revival than one which peaked in its first season. One of the shows on that list, Twin Peaks, is now scheduled for its own revival as well. This is something I can get behind. However, it seems like within the past year all networks have been doing is announcing revivals or remakes in one form or another.

It’s not that remakes have been unheard of until now. The Hawaii Five-O remake has been doing fairly well for years. Other attempts – Knight Rider, Bionic Woman, Charlie’s Angels – haven’t been so lucky. I suspect H5O‘s success had more to do with it’s cast than nostalgia.

It seems like remake plans are everywhere these days. CBS just launched an Odd Couple remake starring Matthew Perry, and plans are in the works for revivals of Coach, Full House, and The X-Files, not to mention that Heroes reboot. MTV just announced last week they plan to revive their claymation program, Celebrity Deathmatch.There are also reports indicating a TV version of Galaxy Quest is in the works, which just seems like blasphemy.

I’m not saying every remake or reboot is a terrible idea. I’m actually looking forward to Shadowhunters, mostly because I think television will be a much better medium for telling that story than a two-hour film. Twin Peaks and The X-Files also aren’t necessarily bad things – and there are a lot of other shows that I’d like to see get limited revival series, either to catch up with where those characters are, or just to offer closure we may not have gotten previously.

What I am saying is, why does it feel like every single series lately is a remake, reboot, revival or reinterpretation? How many different versions of The Wizard of Oz are currently in the works? And at one time, three different networks had plans for a Beauty and the Beast inspired series, though only the CW has actually produced theirs. Has Hollywood really run out of original ideas?

I don’t have a real answer, but the obvious one seems to be ‘yes,’ and this issue doesn’t just affect television. Take a look at films being released this year (or the ones currently in development). You will find a number of familiar titles: Star Wars, Jurassic World, Mad Max, Terminator, The Crow, and the list goes on. These aren’t just one-off films that someone has decided it’s time to remake – these are large movie franchises being completely rebooted or extended.

Star WarsNow don’t get me wrong, I completely geeked out over the new Star Wars trailer last week, and am as excited as any other lifelong fan. I’m not quite as excited about Jurassic World, but seeing as Chris Pratt has been added to my list of favorite action heroes, I’ll be going to see that too. But the question is, where is this generation’s Star Wars? When was the last time there was a truly original mega franchise like Star Wars? Why are we building onto the ones already in existence and not coming up with something new? I’m not talking about a film series based on YA novels, but something completely new and original.

You could perhaps make an argument for the Marvel Cinematic Universe attempting to be this generation’s Star Wars – and in some ways you’d probably be correct – but those films are still not entirely original, as they are based on the comics. That’s not to say that a television show or movie based on source material isn’t as good as something original. I am a HUGE fan of the MCU and everything associated with it, plus a lot of what I consider the best shows on television right now were adapted from some sort of source material – Game of Thrones, Daredevil, Arrow, even Justified was based on a novella by Elmore Leonard.

One could possibly argue someday Avatar and its sequels could fill this void, but it’s taking so long just to get one more movie made, let alone three more. And let’s be honest, how original is Avatar really? Sure the effects were great, but we’ve all seen Pocahontas and Fern Gully.

Which then brings up another debate: How original is anything anymore? Even the stories that may seem the most original to us are built using elements of storytelling dating back centuries – the Hero’s Journey for example, which can even be found in Star Wars. There are no truly 100% original stories anymore, as everything is inspired by something, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to be as unique as possible.

So where is all the creativity in Hollywood? Why are they just remaking films from our childhoods? At this year’s Oscars the two front-runners for Best Picture – Boyhood and Birdmanwhich ultimately took home the prize – were both original screenplays, showing creativity and originality can be rewarded. However, neither one of those were box office hits like Star Wars is expected to be. Are they falling back on the tried and true popular films because they were so popular the first time around that it’s less of a risk? Fans all over the world will tell you how bad they thought the Star Wars prequel trilogy was, and yet there were still people waiting in line for every film.

I don’t have an answer, and probably never will, all I know is that I cringe a little more every time one of these remakes is announced, and a little piece of my childhood dies every time there’s a bad remake of something I once loved dearly.

6 thoughts on “Where Has All the Creativity Gone?

    cindyrsoe said:
    April 27, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    “all I know is that I cringe a little more every time one of these remakes is announced, and a little piece of my childhood dies every time there’s a bad remake of something I once loved dearly”

    I agree with you 100%, Charissa. It is truly disheartening.

    Liked by 1 person

    theveryspecialblog said:
    April 22, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    I was so excited about the Twin Peaks reboot and then David Lynch dropped out! I totally agree that there’s way too much reboot action these days. I’m definitely excited for some of them, like Jurassic World and Star Wars but I feel like the fact that those will be added to already existing film series makes it less obnoxious that they’re not totally original stories.

    Liked by 1 person

      CJ Dawn responded:
      April 29, 2015 at 10:24 am

      I agree. I am much more excited for Star Wars and Jurassic World than I am for the remake of Mad Max. While it still feels a little like their cashing in on the public’s love for these established franchises, at least it’s something we don’t mind seeing more of. I was more interested in Mad Max when I thought it was a continuation, then I realized it was a re-imagining of the original and I lost interest, even though I love Tom Hardy.

      Liked by 1 person

    IAmDonovan said:
    April 22, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Harry Potter would be this generation’s Star Wars, I’d say. It was new and cool and produced life long fans. I guess since they were books first, I see your point.
    I don’t mind reboots of things like Beauty And The Beast, especially the one already in the works and casting because it was an original animated story that now will be live-action. It’ll be different. However, I do agree that only one reboot is needed. Besides, there’s already that show called Beauty And The Beast, right? That’s the same?
    As for Boyhood and Birdman, I firmly believe that the only reason they won the awards they did was because both were made in a creative way. I’ve seen both movies and neither were a stand out (in fact, I quite disliked Birdman).
    I do agree with you though that there is a sad lack of creativity nowadays. I mean, how many cop shows are on TV? Though I watch none, I can list 5 off the top of my head and there’s no way that they’re all completely different. However, I guess in this world of uncreativity, it just makes the reboots of old things that were creative more exciting.

    Liked by 1 person

      CJ Dawn responded:
      April 22, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      I completely agree with you about Birdman and Boyhood. They weren’t even close to my top films in the Best Picture category, and I too wasn’t a big fan of Birdman at all. I did think the story was unique though, and I did love the cinematography – I liked how they made it look like the entire movie was a single shot. I appreciate that it was original, but it wasn’t my kind of film overall.

      Ironically (maybe?) the Beauty and the Beast that’s on TV now is basically just a cop show. It’s actually a reboot of the series with Ron Perlman from the early 90s, so it’s a reboot/remake on two different levels. At the time it came out there was at least one other series that was going to be based on the fairy tale in the works, but nothing ever came of it. I’m actually looking forward to the movie, every casting announcement that comes out has me more excited about it.

      I don’t think remakes or reboots are bad in any way, especially the ones that are done well. I just wish there were more things that we could point to in modern day and say “That’s really original and clever.” Inception was that way, but I don’t think I’ve had a reaction like that to a movie since that one.

      Like

        Catherine said:
        May 4, 2015 at 1:02 pm

        It think what it boils down to is profits. Should a production company take a risk on something completely new or do a sequel of something that already has a proven fan base? Even my beloved Pixar has fallen into the sequel trap – sometimes it works (Toy Story 3) and sometimes it doesn’t (Cars 2). But, even when the result is a sub-par movie, it tends to gross more than a one-off film no one has heard of just because of the buzz going into it.

        Like

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