Not too far back on the blog, I gushed about the BBC series Sherlock, and said that while I hoped American TV wouldn’t rip it off, it was probably inevitable. And about a year later: Elementary.
Yeah, I could rant — again — about how we need to stop ripping off British TV, or how we really should stop making shows and movies that are just remakes and reboots of other shows and movies… but for once, I feel I don’t need to. Because Elementary has gone ahead and made that point for me.
Go watch the pilot — it’s available free on iTunes, I think — then go watch S1E1 of Sherlock (it’s on Netflix). Both shows have the same central conceit — bringing the Sherlock Holmes stories and characters into the modern day — but a side by side viewing shows that one manages to do it in a way that’s creative and compelling, and the other just falls flat.
I’m not totally against remakes, and I understand why Hollywood keeps green lighting so many of them — a certain amount of brand recognition supposedly translates into more profit, and Hollywood isn’t about making quality entertainment — it’s about money. Good movies and TV shows are an accidental byproduct. But if we’re going to insist on using old source material for the next few years yet, can we at least make some effort to try to do a decent job? It is possible, as Sherlock points out.
So what reboot or remake do you think did a decent job? Which ones failed miserably?