Will Smith isbut this time it’s a drama. What got me thinking … what other sitcoms could be updated for the modern age with a compelling, characterful, dramatic remake?
Technically every story could be done as a drama, but some would work better than others. Bel-Air, the Fresh Prince reboot that Smith produces for, furthers the dramatic potential of the original 1990 show by exploring the terrifyingly relevant tensions of being a disadvantaged black kid in modern America. However, many other sitcoms are based on a premise that is inherently silly or in a static situation that offers a lot of potential for humor but doesn’t leave much room for dramatic necessities like character development or interesting plot twists.
Let’s exclude the comedies that already have dramatic equivalents – the whole point of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is that the familiar cop show dynamic is turned into a sitcom. People like Get Smart and The Last Man on Earth also broadcast certain genres.
Other comedies would lose their spark if played directly:, or M * A * S * H for example find the inherent absurdity in very real situations like the tech industry, the militarization of space and war. There is drama in these settings, but the satirical black comedy adds punch to these shows. It’s a whole thing if you don’t laugh you’ll cry, kind of.
In shows like Transparent, Fleabag or, the line between comedy and drama is much less clear these days. And I’m not saying comedy can’t be smart, poignant, and devastatingly emotional (a lot of sitcoms are all of those things, including the Fresh Prince mentioned above). But there are plenty of comedy shows old and new that bury a compelling premise under a perpetual cycle of gags or lose all evolution when the show is reset week after week. Here is a random selection of comedies ripe for reinterpretation that take a closer look at the characters and themes. Suggest more ideas in the comments and let us know what you think!
The popular 1978 sitcom Taxi, famous for its cast of Danny DeVito, Tony Danza, Carol Kane, Christopher Lloyd and Andy Kaufman, won a number of Emmys in five seasons on ABC and then NBC. The story of a New York taxi outfit would look very different today in times of ridesharing like rivalsNot to mention self-driving cars and coronavirus quarantine. A new version could tackle the dramatic rivalry between taxi unions and Uber drivers on the streets.
Kevin can wait
Years after the long-running show The King of Queens ended, Kevin James returned to familiar territory with the 2016 sitcom Kevin Can Wait, where he again played a slobby club with a beautiful woman. So far, so soon. But then something very strange happened: between seasons, the producers killed Donna, the woman. Co-star Erinn Hayes was dropped in favor of a reinforced role for Leah Remini, who previously played James’ wife in King of Queens. Whether this made the show funnier is hard to say as it was canceled after the second season. But the unexpected death raises some dramatic questions: Who killed Donna? Who is this guy who manages to find a number of beautiful women? A newly started Kevin Can Wait has all the requirements for an exciting suburban Whodunnit.
Let me finish Netflix’s The Ranch plays Ashton Kutcher in a traditional two-camera sitcom sitcom. It’s super-traditional or super-clichéd, depending on your tolerance for such things. But the basic premise for a stranded soccer star to return to his family’s failing farm is really dramatically compelling. Amid the torrent of horrific one-liners, it’s basically the classic film Junior Bonner in which Steve McQueen plays an aging rodeo star. The best thing about The Ranch is Sam Elliott and Debra Winger’s heartbreaking and deeply real performances that could easily carry a drama.
The Munsters *
Admit it – how good would that be as a real horror story? Legendary fictional monsters chasing the modern world with a heartwarming – or should that blood-curdling – love story at its core. Choose the salmon trail and choose the gore and you have a tingling story on your hands. you just knows Ryan Murphy thought about it.
* Or The Addams Family, whichever you prefer.
In case you rememberIf it doesn’t fold up into weird supernatural knots, you can see where I’m going with it. A Wall Street millionaire, Hollywood movie star, and scientist set out on a three-hour tour to find themselves stranded on a desert island. Who sabotaged your boat? Why is every attempt to escape thwarted? And what eerie motivation drives the lurking mysterious figure known only as … Gilligan?
Alternatively, the entertainment industry could come up with some original ideas. But if you’re reading this, Netflix, I have an amazing idea for a characterful makeover of My Mother The Car with a big budget and character. Call me!
New film calendar for 2020 and 2021 after coronavirus delays
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