With the halt of many television productions due to the world epidemic of Covid-19, many people who enjoyed watching their favorite TV show were forced to binge-watch another show on a streaming service. With many TV shows that air on local channels like ABC, NBC, or CW stopping their filming of upcoming episodes earlier in 2020, many channels were forced to play replays of their popular television shows in the actual time slot of when the show originally aired.
As the world became normal again, many television shows picked up where they left off prior to the shutdown of the country. As local channels begin to play newer episodes of popular TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, All American, Law & Order: SVU, and the list goes on, it raises the question of the state of television now. Which, as country lockdown restrictions were being lifted and vaccines were rolling out, many TV shows viewers were watching revolved around real-life situations like Covid-19 or even the killing and aftermath of George Floyd.
Other than viewers not being able to escape from Covid-19 even while watching their favorite TV show, they seem to also not escape from the many reboots, revivals, and spin-offs of past TV shows. This raises the question of, Are we running out of TV show ideas?
Recently, actor and musician Donald Glover was very vocal about his opinion about the state of television today after seeing many people on social media state how tired they were about viewing boring stuff on tv. In the now-deleted tweet, Glover stated, “We’re getting boring stuff and not even experimental mistakes(?) because people are afraid of getting canceled. So they feel like they can only experiment w/aesthetics. [sic] (also because some of em [sic] know they’re not that good).”
Glover received some backlash due to his comment, but many people were more upset over him pointing out cancel culture than his critique on the current state of television at the moment.
Donald Glover is talking about shows literally getting canceled off the air and off networks. Not canceled by media and society. Please use your brains.
— Donald Gambino (@BecausetheLando) May 11, 2021
With Glover claiming the television industry is currently boring at the moment, that’s not particularly stopping the endless reboots, remakes, and spin-offs we are getting in the future.
Insider reported over 10 TV reboots, remakes, and spin-offs that’s been confirmed. Some of these reboots consist of 90s cartoons, cult classics from HBO and Showtime, and even some favorite teen drama American shows. This does question if these reboots are the reason the television industry is kinda running out of ideas.
But according to many TV and film experts, the reason for many reboots that are happening is a mix of branding, safety-conscious studios, and quality work based on older ideas but with new faces.
“Recently the industry has seen a solid string of success born out of rebooting or upgrading content from the past. This is a risk-averse strategy. You bank on content where people already have a sense of the characters, they have a sense of what the plot is, what the story is.” said pop culture expert Walt Hickey.
Many production companies rely on people already having a sense of character (or a plot). For example, the 2021 Rugrats reboot returning with the same characters, but a new animation style or the reboot of Gossip Girl, which will have a similar plot of rich teenagers and scandals, but we won’t see much of the original characters from the 2007 original.
The clear answer of if tv shows are running out of ideas isn’t quite clear. However, it’s pretty noticeable that many production companies are taking the safer route to make money and gain ratings by creating reboots, remakes, and spin-offs.
If you’re a fan of the reboots that could be airing on your television, you could be viewing a lot of them soon in 2021. No matter if you’re a fan of reboots or not, it’s still a good TV show for anyone out there to enjoy.