This year, a slew of nineties television shows have recently found a new life almost two decades after they initially went off the air. It all kicked off late in 2014, when David Lynch announced on Twitter he would be reviving Twin Peaks on Showtime. Then in January, Fox revealed that it will be rebooting The X-Files. From then on, nineties show after nineties show started making headlines: A new season of The Magic School Bus will debut on Netflix (after the streaming platform realized its viewers were streaming the original in droves). Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson broke the news on Twitter that they would both be starring in a new Baywatch movie. TVLine reported that Will Smith was in talks to reboot his breakout show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And the entire cast of Full House (sans the Olsen twins) is set to reunite for a sequel series called Fuller House, in which a now-widowed D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure) is raising her kids with the help of her family.
So what’s behind this recent surge of nineties nostalgia? Vogue’s Sarah Mower thinks the rise of nineties fashion on the runways comes down to simple math. “All you do is take today’s date, 2015, and subtract 25 (the age of today’s rising designers). Result: 1990, of course!” She argues that young designers reminisce about their hazily remembered childhoods and tend to draw inspiration from that time in their lives. The same logic may apply to our taste in TV and movies. Think about it: We all enjoy re-watching films we idolized when we were just kids, even if they no longer hold up as well as they once did. (My personal favorite is Death Becomes Her, which is really the definition of camp.) It’s human nature to look at the past through rose-tinted glasses, and we apply that romanticized memory to our dearly departed TV series. Have you tried watching an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air recently? That show would never make it past the pilot stage today.
But there are some people who do love re-watching these nineties series and, with the rise of streaming services, it’s easier than ever. Netflix in particular has become a savior of fan-favorite shows that were prematurely canceled. After bringing back Arrested Development in 2013, Netflix has since rebooted The Magic School Bus, Full House, and Wet Hot American Summer.
Of course, Netflix is only following the formula that has already proven incredibly successful in Hollywood. Every summer, we’re treated to sequels, remakes, prequels, and spin-offs of films we’ve seen in the past. The Spider-Man franchise perfectly mirrors this trend. The original movie only came out in 2002, and since then we’ve had three iterations with different web-slinging heroes: Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and the latest, Tom Holland. It makes sense that television, a medium that is increasingly attracting top film directing and acting talent, would eventually go the same way.
Plus, it’s lucrative for networks to bring back shows from the past because they already have an established fan base. Millennials have proven to be some of TV’s most passionate TV fans; they’ve succeeded in bringing back cult favorites including Veronica Mars and The X-Files after intense social media campaigns. When producers are weighing whether to invest in a new series or remake an old one, the allure of an already committed audience is simply too hard to resist. So while you may not necessarily tune in to watch a comedy about a widow raising kids with her kooky uncles, you’ll definitely tune in to Fuller House—just to see what Uncle Jesse has been up to after all these years.
Speaking of Uncle Jesse, John Stamos was one of the most vocal supporters of bringing back Full House. It makes sense that he would feel nostalgic for that particular era; after all, it was the show that launched his career. Since the cast began filming Fuller House, Stamos has been busy Instagramming on-set photos, and the reaction from fans has been overwhelmingly positive. Any of this sound familiar? The reboot story is basically the premise of Netflix’s original scripted show BoJack Horseman. In the animated series, BoJack is a washed-up actor who became famous after starring in a family sitcom called Horsin’ Around. After the series is canceled, his career tanks and the depressed equine actor constantly fantasizes about staging a reunion with his former castmates. But, contrary to real life, no one seems particularly interested in bringing Horsin’ Around back to life. If the show’s writers are paying any attention, we’re betting BoJack will get his wish come season three.
The post What Is Behind the Recent Surge of ’90s TV Reboots? appeared first on Vogue.
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