Pop Culture Intervention

5 TV Reboots And Revivals That Prove There's More To Them Than Just Nostalgia

These TV shows deserve your attention — again!

At A Plus, we're addicted to pop culture, and Pop Culture Intervention brings that obsession to the soapbox. Through this series, we'll recommend what you should be watching, reading or listening to; explore how arts and entertainment affect us; and interpret the important messages contained within various works.

You may or may not have noticed some familiar titles coming to a small screen near you this fall, with reboots and revivals abound. This has left folks wondering if Hollywood is out of fresh ideas and one lingering question on all our minds: Is this a good or bad thing?

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The first distinction to make here is what the difference between reboots and revivals is exactly. As a New York Times article notes, there is absolutely a distinction. Reboots are old shows being remade for today with one or more of the following: new casts, settings, or characters. Revivals, on the other hand, are series that have been brought back with the same actors playing the same characters and set years (or decades) after the original left off.

We here at A Plus took a look at some of the reboots and revivals — ones that are either already ongoing, those arriving this fall, or those we will get at midseason — to see which ones are justified in existing. Not all will be doing it right, but these five are worth watching.

“Murphy Brown” (1988-1998; 2018-)

Murphy Brown, a CBS sitcom which originally ran for 10 seasons from 1988 to 1998, is revived this fall with Candice Bergen returning to play the titular character, an investigative journalist and anchor of a fictional newsmagazine show called FYI. Already groundbreaking for having a fortysomething star who was a feminist icon, remembered most for when she became a single mother after having a child on her own. Bergen, now 72, returns to reprise the role that racked up six Emmy wins, along with much of the original cast as well as with a few newcomers. 

The reason this revival is more necessary than most is the void it will fill in terms of tackling a slew of important issues. Yes, other shows do this, but Murphy Brown is unique in that it comes from a journalistic standpoint. As creator Diane English has said, it is the show's "top priority" to tackle current events such as the free press, the #MeToo movement, alternative facts, fake news, and the Trump presidency. This doesn't set it apart from the original — it has always done this — but it does present a different viewpoint to other shows, such as Will & Grace.

Murphy Brown premieres Thursday, September 27, at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

“Will & Grace” (1998-2006; 2017-)

A little more broad of a show than Murphy Brown, Will & Grace made quite the impact during its original run from 1998 to 2006. Following the topsy-turvy lives of a hilarious foursome — Will Truman (Eric McCormack), Grace Adler (Debra Messing), Karen Walker (Megan Mullally), and Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) — the series was a landmark one for the LGBTQ community. It wasn't perfect, no show is, but even former Vice President Joe Biden said it "did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody has ever done" in regards to LGBTQ rights. While always topical, it wasn't until the revival that things got political.

After a special during the 2016 presidential election that took aim at now-President Donald Trump, it was announced that we'd have this Emmy-winning cast back on the small screen and, come 2017, we got exactly that. During its first season back, Will & Grace felt like the original but tackled hot-button issues such as gay conversion therapy, Cake-Gate (this time flipping the argument around), gender fluidity, and much more. In many ways it was the anti-Roseanne, presenting us with a more liberal take on today's issues as opposed to its conservative-leaning competition. Luckily, we have not only this coming season but another to enjoy this these dynamic pals.

Will & Grace premieres Thursday, October 4, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

“Charmed” (1998-2006; 2018-)

Originally running from 1998 until 2006, Charmed followed the Halliwell sisters — Prue (Shannen Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs), and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), and Paige (Rose McGowan) — as a trio (Paige later replaced Prue) of witches known as The Charmed Ones who possess the "Power of Three" and the ability to protect ordinary folks from demons. With all its supernatural antics, the series garnered a cult following. For years we've been teased with a reboot and, come this fall, we'll finally see if the result will be able to spellbind us once more.

The reason to check out this reboot? It's a much-needed dose of diversity. The original — as good as it was — featured a cast that was mostly White. Now, in 2018, that's changing. Playing the trio of witches at center of Charmed's story (brought to us this time from Jane the Virgin creator Jennie Snyder Urman) are Madeleine Mantock, Melonie Diaz, and Sarah Jeffery as Macy, Mel, and Maggie — the Vera sisters — respectively. Mantock is of Afro-Caribbean descent while Diaz and Jeffery are of Hispanic descent. Not only that but Diaz's Mel is a lesbian, offering us an LGBTQ presence. We pray to the Book of Shadows that this reboot is breath of fresh air and its differences from the original capture the attention of viewers.

Charmed premieres Sunday, October 14, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

"Roswell" (1999-2002) | "Roswell, New Mexico" (2019-)

Roswell, which was developed by Jason Katims and ran from 1999 to 2002, followed the lives of three human-alien hybrids — Liz Parker (Shiri Appleby), Max Evans (Jason Behr), and Isabel Evans (Katherine Heigl) — living in plain sight in the town of Roswell, New Mexico, the site of the famed Roswell UFO incident. Though it spawned a cult following, the revival, this time developed by Carina Adly Mackenzie, will change quite a bit from the original.

This reimagining is more rooted in reality as the title is even more specific — this time called Roswell, New Mexico — and its story features an immigration twist on top of the alien twist we all expected, aging up the characters in the process. This time we will follow Liz Ortecho (Jeanine Mason), the Mexican-American daughter of undocumented immigrants, who returns to her hometown and reconnects with an ex-boyfriend only to discover that he is actually an alien and has been keeping that secret, a likely problem given the threat of a greater alien presence on Earth. The Vampire Diaries co-creator Julie Plec is directing the pilot, so there's that to look forward to as well.

Roswell, New Mexico will premiere midseason on The CW.

"Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" (2003-2007) | "Queer Eye" (2018-)

The original Queer Eye — featuring Ted Allen (food and wine), Kyan Douglas (grooming), Thom Filicia (design), Carson Kressley (fashion), and Jai Rodriguez (culture) — was super popular and even went on to win an Emmy, capitalizing on the wave of makeover shows in the aughts. It relied on the stereotype of gay men being experts in the various areas in the aim to make over a male contestant who was generally straight. It, like Will & Grace, was a massive pop culture moment for the LGBTQ community.

In 2018, Queer Eye was retooled with a new cast — Antoni Porowski (food and wine), Bobby Berk (design), Jonathan Van Ness (grooming), Karamo Brown (culture), and Tan France (fashion) — and a whole new feel. After two seasons within the calendar year, the show made quite a splash (even earning a few Emmys) and is set to air a third season in early 2019. As the new cast has said before, the original fought for tolerance and the current one fights for acceptance, and it's doing its best to do that from Yass, Australia to Gay, Georgia, and everywhere in-between.

Queer Eye returns to Netflix with new episodes in early 2019.

Cover image: Jordon Nuttall / The CW | Cliff Lipson / CBS

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