When it comes to developing new television programs, nostalgia is now the norm. Countless shows have undergone remakes, reboots and revivals, with more being announced every TV season. While some match up — or even surpass — the quality of the original, there are a dozen duds for every good one. The latest revamp is FOX's "Fantasy Island," which centers around a mysterious tropical paradise where people come to live out their fantasies — for a price. The original drama with the same name aired from 1977 to 1984 and starred Ricardo Montalbán and Hervé Villechaize. Roselyn Sánchez stars on the new "Fantasy Island" redo. To celebrate the show's premiere on Aug. 10, 2021, join Wonderwall.com as we rundown some of the best — and worst — remakes of classic shows.
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"One Day At A Time" premiered to rave reviews on Netflix in 2017. Based on the classic sitcom of the same name that ran for nine seasons in the late '70s and early '80s, it revolves around a Cuban American family living in Los Angeles comprised of a single mother and Army veteran dealing with PTSD, her kids and her Cuban mother. The original series broke new ground with its positive portrayal of a single-mom household, and the remake took it one step further by tackling issues like mental illness, immigration, sexism, homophobia, gender identity and racism that Latin people living in the United States face. Both shows received multiple Emmy Awards during their runs, and the new version was celebrated for its lead performances from stars Rita Moreno and Justina Machado. Fans were outraged when the remake was canceled by Netflix after three seasons in 2019. Due to the passionate reaction, a fourth season was aired on Pop before it ended for good.
In 2015, CBS revived another beloved sitcom when it aired "The Odd Couple" starring Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon. It marked the seventh adaptation of Neil Simon's 1965 play, which famously sparked a television series in the '70s that aired for five seasons. The original was never a massive ratings winner, but it did receive a slew of Emmy Awards. The "Friends" star helped develop and executive produce the most recent remake, which follows Matthew as the slovenly Oscar Madison and Thomas as his obsessively tidy roommate, Felix Unger. It managed to run for three seasons, but it never earned the same critical or award acclaim as its predecessor. "It's hard to believe that it will ever feel anything other than remarkably familiar and derivative of better properties with better casts," RogerEbert.com wrote of the poorly received redo at the time. "I say with confidence that this is the most pointless remake that I've ever seen," added CinemaBlend's review. The show became another effort from Matthew that failed to live up to his "Friends" legacy.
"Battlestar Galactica" was a short-lived science fiction series that ran in the late '70s shortly after franchises like "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" jump-started a golden era for the genre. Cheesy dialogue and dated special effects did not wow critics, but it did inspire a loyal fanbase that made the property a cult classic for decades before Syfy decided to give it a much-needed update for the modern era with a 2004 remake. In fact, it is often considered the greatest remake — as well as one of the best sci-fi programs — in TV history. Following the human crew of a spaceship in search for a new home while being pursued by an android race known as Cylons, Mary McDonnell, Edward James Olmos and Katee Sackhoff led the Emmy Award-winning series, which also nabbed a Peabody Award, the Television Critics Association's program of the year award and placement on Time's list of the 100 best TV shows of all time. In 2019, The New York Times placed the show on its list of the 20 best TV dramas since "The Sopranos," a 20-year period many critics call "the golden age of television."
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Another campy sci-fi favorite of the late '70s got the modern treatment with 2007's "Bionic Woman" remake for NBC. The original made a star out of lead actress Lindsay Wagner and was one of the most watched shows on television when it aired. Unfortunately, neither the reboot nor British star Michelle Ryan sparked the same fanfare. It revolved around bartender Jaime Sommers, who's saved from death after receiving experimental medical implants. While adjusting to her new cybernetic powers and raising a rebellious younger sister, Jaime agrees to work for the Berkut Group, the quasi-governmental private organization that performed her surgery. New York Magazine called it an "unnecessary reimagining," while USA Today said, "[Michelle] Ryan delivers almost every line with the same, steady whine, squeezing whatever energy there might have been out of an already tiresome premise." Production of the series was halted due to a strike by the Writers Guild of America, causing only eight episodes to air, and low ratings led the network to cancel the series during that time.
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"Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" was a revolutionary reality series when it premiered in 2003. It featured five gay men on primetime television who tore down cultural boundaries while giving makeovers — from food and hair to décor and clothing — to straight men who desperately needed them. More than a decade later, Netflix rebooted "Queer Eye" with a new band of men who captured the hearts of viewers with their tear-jerking human interest stories and undeniable charisma and chemistry. It became the first reality breakout for the streaming platform, winning eight Emmy Awards (with another six nominations in 2021) and turning its five hosts into household names. The show's rave reviews have continued through its five-season run, with The New Yorker writing, "The reboot is fine company in several contexts, for instance, when it is lending ambient zhuzh to your home while you're picking up around the place. Half-watching any of its eight episodes, the viewer feels its aspirational anima infuse the room." It has been renewed for a sixth season to air in later 2021.
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"Charlie's Angels" is one of the most famous shows from the late '70s and early '80s. It brought in high ratings, shooting stars Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd onto Hollywood's A-list, and spawned a blockbuster film franchise in the early '00s. So it came as no surprise that ABC eventually rebooted the series about the crime-fighting adventures of three women working for a secret agent agency. Unfortunately, stars Rachael Taylor, Minka Kelly and Annie Ilonzeh failed to inspire the same buzzy response as the original, despite the help of Drew Barrymore as an executive producer. The show's darker tone received poor reviews and even worse ratings, with NPR writing, "It feels like pre-chewed food: intended for easy digestion, it comes out (1) unappetizing, (2) textureless, and (3) devoid of character." It was pulled from the air after seven episodes, never airing the final episode that was filmed before production was halted.
The WB's "Roswell" gave the famous urban legend about an alien crash-landing in New Mexico a young adult spin with a love story plot centered around a local high school student and an alien marooned on Earth posing as her classmate. The teen soap was a big hit when it aired for three seasons in the late '90s and early '00s and served as a breakout project for star Katherine Heigl. The CW decided to give the show another go with "Roswell, New Mexico," which premiered on the younger skewing network in 2019. Both shows are based on the young adult book series "Roswell High," but the newer adaptation has been celebrated for veering away from the melodrama and taking the characters out of high school. It received a glowing response for focusing on a world where aliens are vilified and feared, bringing in political commentary surrounding the current state of immigration in the U.S. Stars Jeanine Mason and Nathan Dean Parsons won over a new generation of young viewers with their chemistry, helping the show get renewed for a forthcoming fourth season, already outliving the original.
"Get Out" and "Us" mastermind Jordan Peele decided to resurrect "The Twilight Zone" for the 21st century with a new anthology series that premiered on streaming platform Paramount+ in 2019. The original program ran for five seasons on CBS from 1959 to 1964 and revolutionized horror television forever. Rolling Stone and TV Guide have both named it as one of the greatest shows of all time, and it inspired a 1983 movie and two poorly received reboots in the '80s and '00s. It's no surprise more stories about characters finding themselves dealing with often disturbing or unusual events were crafted for a new generation. Sadly, the critical response was middling and viewers never caught on to Jordan's vision, with NPR writing, "The new 'Twilight Zone' is a little uneven, but so was the old one. It doesn't lack experimental energy or visual imagination; it just seems to be still developing its story voice." Sadly, it never got a chance to find its voice as it was scrapped after two seasons.
New life was breathed into megaproducer Aaron Spelling's teen drama "Beverly Hills, 90210" with the 2008 reboot — titled just "90210" — for The CW. Much like the original, it depicted the lives of a group of friends living in the upscale California community of Beverly Hills as they transition from high school to college and into the adult world. The first series became a pop culture phenomenon when it aired in the early '90s, growing into one of the highest rated shows on FOX and turning its ensemble cast, which included Luke Perry, Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling, into superstars. The show is also credited with popularizing the teen soap genre that many other successful television shows followed, so it was only a matter of time before a redo was developed. While the new version never created the same buzz as its predecessor, it still sparked a devoted following that made it one of the network's signature shows as it ran for five seasons.
"Beverly Hills, 90210" was such a sensation that it also inspired the massively successful spinoff series "Melrose Place." The soap opera follows the dramatic, over-the-top lives of a group of young adults living at a fictitious West Hollywood apartment complex. Their campy exploits made it appointment television for seven seasons and catapulted star Heather Locklear into a television icon. Once "90210" took off, a reboot of "Melrose" was sure to follow, and in 2009, it did. Featuring a new ensemble of stunning 20-somethings including Ashlee Simpson, the show premiered on The CW to much buzz. Unfortunately, younger viewers just didn't seem interested in the drama and the show experienced extremely low ratings — even after Heather returned as manipulative Amanda Woodward in a supporting capacity. Critics weren't kind either, with The AV Club writing, "It's hard to say anything substantive about a show that seems to have as a major goal being awful," and USA Today adding, "What you'll find instead is your typical CW collection of pretty, hard-bodied young things, most of whom can't act their way out of a Birkin bag." It only lasted 18 episodes, not making it beyond a first season.
"Hawaii Five-O" was the longest running police drama in American television history thanks to its 12-season run from 1968 to 1980. It also won multiple Emmy Awards and remained one of the most watched shows during its heyday. That's not an easy legacy to live up to for any reboot, but CBS decided to take a gamble in 2010 with a new series centered around a special police major crimes task force operating at the behest of the governor of Hawaii. Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan led an ensemble that quickly made waves with viewers, scored incredible ratings and received praise for its modern take on the original. While the procedural never became an award show favorite, its steady viewership made it a Friday night staple for the network — it ran for 240 episodes over the span of nearly 10 years.
MacGyver — a crafty science nerd who famously used nothing but a Swiss army knife and duct tape to get out of numerous sticky situations — was one of the most popular TV characters of the '80s. Richard Dean Anderson played the titular character for seven seasons, and while it was never a major winner with viewers or critics, it developed a loyal following and became a piece of pop culture iconography. CBS rebooted the show in 2016 with Lucas Till in the lead role, clearly hoping to recapture the same success as the "Hawaii Five-O" redo. Sadly, the new version never had the same "it" factor that made the original so bizarrely watchable. Reviews were not kind to the newer "MacGyver," with We Got This Covered writing at the time of its premiere, "The new 'MacGyver' is an ill-conceived, sterile reimagining of a series that is such a product of its time that it shouldn't have been updated in the first place." While it never held a candle to its origins, the show clearly built enough of a fan base to keep the network happy, as it lasted for five seasons despite the negative reaction.
When streaming platform Peacock announced a reboot of the sitcom "Saved by the Bell," there seemed to be an overall sense of dread. The original Saturday morning favorite was appointment television for an entire generation of teens and tweens who helped turn its ensemble cast of young actors into celebrities. It also spawned two spinoff shows. That said, its cheesy content was never well-received by critics and many felt it was one property that could not live beyond the '90s. All that changed when the new version premiered in 2020 as a meta satire of the original's lame humor, calling out the class, race and gender issues that plagued television shows at that time. Featuring a far more diverse cast of unknowns, the new class at Bayside High did the inconceivable and topped the reviews of its predecessor, with the San Francisco Chronicle writing that it "manages the hat trick of giving a socially relevant point of view and being cuttingly funny while honoring our collective warm memories of a not-very-good vintage series." Peacock has renewed the comedy for a second season.
Based on the classic Archie comic, "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" is one of the most successful teen comedies of the '90s,. It ran for seven seasons, turning star Melissa Joan Hart into a major name, and spawned two television films, an animated series and endless amounts of merchandise. A much darker Sabrina comic series was launched once the TV show wrapped, and, following the success of The CW's "Riverdale," it was only a matter of time before the young enchantress reappeared on the small screen. When "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" premiered on Netflix in 2018, long gone was the cheesy comedy and laugh track of the original. Instead, it focused on edgy horror, violence and sex to appeal to a generation raised on social media. Many praised the series initially for its modern interpretation of the source material, as well as a solid performance from star Kiernan Shipka. Unfortunately, fans quickly lost interest in the show due to its convoluted stories, long episodes, poor pacing and bizarre tonal shifts. This Sabrina never lifted her broom to the same heights as her predecessor, with Netflix canceling the series after only two seasons.
You can't discuss the '80s without bringing up "Dynasty." The soapy shenanigans surrounding the rivalry between wealthy families the Carringtons and the Colbys helped define an era of excess as it thrived as one of the most popular television shows of the decade — it even ranked as the most watched show on TV at one point. It ran for nine seasons full of catfights and one-liners, making it one of the small screen's most beloved guilty pleasures. The pressure was on when The CW announced a remake for its 2017 season led by the talents behind "The OC" and "Gossip Girl" and starring a diverse cast. The new version hasn't had nearly the same impact as the original, but it has won over enough of a devoted following to make it a Friday-night priority for the network. The Guardian has called the series "an unashamed fun-ride of a reboot that's trashy as hell." It's been renewed for a forthcoming fifth season.
Another piece of '80s iconography is KITT the talking car, the breakout sensation from the drama series "Knight Rider." The camp classic, which ran for four seasons, also gave David Hasselhoff his first major role — a crime-fighting former police detective with a technologically advanced sports car. The series was never a standout among critics, but the kitschy goofiness won audiences over. When NBC attempted to remake "Knight Rider" in 2008, it went with a more serious tone and focused on edgy CGI to avoid the guilty-pleasure aspect of the original. Unfortunately for the network, star Justin Bruening lacked the appeal of The Hoff and viewers missed the fun of the first program. As The Hollywood Reporter wrote in its review at the time, "Everything that made the original fun and unique has effectively been scrubbed away from this new edition that's all about high-tech gadgetry, speed and sex and only the tiniest shred about story and personality." Three months after its premiere, NBC reduced the show's episode count; it was scrapped after the first season.
Jay Hernandez had big shoes to fill when he was chosen to star in a remake of the hit '80s crime-drama series "Magnum P.I." in 2018. The original ran for eight seasons and was frequently one of the most watched shows on television. It made a huge star out of lead actor Tom Selleck and won numerous Emmy and Golden Globe Awards during its run, including one of each for Tom. Decades later, CBS decided it was time for a new Thomas Magnum — a sports car-driving private investigator and former Navy SEAL who solves crimes in Hawaii. It's become a Friday-night staple for the network and has been renewed for an upcoming fourth season. While it hasn't captured the same magic as the original, even critics agreed it was a welcome addition to CBS's slate of procedurals. "There's promise that the show will add a little fun to TV's current lineup of detective series," wrote USA Today when the show premiered. "'Magnum' isn't trying to be too serious or important: Just a nice guy, some nice cars and a bit of wild adventure."
"Lost In Space" was one of the first science-fiction shows to capture the hearts of television viewers as it followed a pioneering family of space colonists known as the Robinsons who struggle to survive in the depths of space for three seasons in the late '60s. The shows was canceled due to its expensive production costs but has amassed a cult following in the decades since. It even inspired a big-budget theatrical film in 1998 that failed to make a huge dent at the box office. Netflix decided to breath new life into the property in 2018 with a fresh series that moves the original setting of 1997 to 2046 and features a new ensemble of actors to portray the Robinsons. It's clear the streaming platform spent a ton of money on the show's production value, with critics praising the new visuals and the Television Academy nominating it for multiple special effects Emmys. That said, it never amassed the same buzz as the original and critics weren't sold on the story, with Indiewire writing in its review, "'Lost in Space' loves its science, but it hasn't advanced enough to prove all that memorable in the here and now." Netflix canceled the show after three seasons; the third is set to air in late 2021.
"Charmed" became one of The WB's signature shows in the late '90s and early '00s, running for eight seasons and building fandoms for stars Alyssa Milano, Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, and, later, Rose McGowan and Kaley Cuoco. The CW decided to revisit the story of the most powerful trio of good witches, who also happen to be sisters, when it remade the series in 2018. The jury is still out on the new version, with original star Alyssa telling Us Weekly she felt the reboot was "disrespectful" for not including her and her castmates and Holly tweeting, "I will never understand what is fierce, funny or feminist in creating a show that basically says the original actresses are too old to do a job they did 12 years ago." That said, the show has been renewed for an upcoming fourth season and critics have shown appreciation for its feminist approach to storylines as well as its diverse cast. "'Charmed' certainly has the potential to grow into the show it wants to be, but don't come into this new series looking for nuance or even that electrifying thrill of seeing women using undeniable power to make the world a better place," wrote Vulture in its mixed review of the new "Power of Three."