Are TV revivals more ‘Charmed’ than reboots?


With the resurgence of TV revivals and reboots it’s time to figure out which one is better.

TV revivals have become very trendy in recent years with fans excited to see original casts return to their screens. However, The CW’s reboot of Charmed begs the question whether viewers are interested in seeing the same idea with a new cast.

Reboots tend to be hit-or-miss especially for The CW. In recent years, they have successfully brought The Flash back with a new speedster but have always paid homage to the original. However, their remake of popular soap opera Dynasty proved to be a misstep with negative critical reviews and an elusive 0.1 in the Nielsen ratings one week.

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However, the network plans to keep trying with reboots of Charmed and Roswell debuting next year. While the latter has managed to garner up some interest, the former has been met with an intense apathetic reaction. Perhaps it’s because the series ran for so long and didn’t end too long ago but fans seem more averse to this reboot than any other in recent years.

It could also be the network’s outright refusal to acknowledge the original cast and their accomplishments. The CW has allowed the new cast to make some decisions on social media which fans see as disrespectful. Most recently it was a deleted tweet by Ser’Darius Blain and a Twitter interaction between Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, and reboot director Brad Silberling.

The lesson here is networks who plan to reboot a beloved series need to find a way to honor the original. Calling the new Charmed a “fierce, funny, feminist reboot” only implies the original wasn’t any of the above.

However, there are a few reboots which are successful. Hawaii Five-0 has been a long-running procedural for CBS with a strong fanbase. One Day At A Time is a critically acclaimed and diverse remake of a beloved sitcom. Star Trek: Discovery was met with initial apprehension but managed to find its footing by the end of its first season.

It seems like these shows all had an uphill battle to face in their introduction though. All of them were criticized by original fans, who ended up enjoying the new take on their old favorites. With a new direction, these reboots have a more likely chance to achieve longevity because they can tell new stories.

TV Revivals tend to generate more positive buzz than anything else. Even if the storyline is lacking, like the new X-Files or Prison Break, fans seem excited just to see their favorite characters on-screen again. In fact, other networks seem to be more excited about bringing actors back than they do about introducing a new ensemble.

It’s because of this sentiment, NBC has recently been throwing around the idea of bringing back some of their beloved comedies. Will & Grace was a huge hit for the network, and it’s been rumored The OfficeCheers, and 30 Rock could be next. Yet Will & Grace highlights a problem shows like Roseanne and Girl Meets World have, their initial viewership is strong but eventually it falls. Those premieres tend to be rating juggernauts until the dust settles on the viewers who plan to stick around.

Yet other TV revivals, like Twin Peaks, Psych, and Cobra Kai actually improved on their viewership week to week. A large part is because the creators took a long time to find a new way to reinvent people’s’ favorites. Showtime has said their cult series helped their streaming service achieve a record-breaking amount of sign-ups while Cobra Kai launched YouTube Red on the map.

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Ultimately, reboots seem to be high risk but high reward when it comes to fans. The show can be met with deep dislike early on and be ignored, or earn the network a satisfying new hit using a distinguished brand. TV Revivals often burn out quickly, but they’re a sure-fire hit for at least one season. Right now, nostalgia sells and it seems unlikely for either TV revivals or reboots to go away anytime soon.

Will you be watching Charmed? Or are you more interested in a revival of a beloved sitcom? Tell us in the comments below!