C'mon, Get Happy

When I posted a clip from The Partridge Family last week, I didn’t realize this was in the works:

“The Partridge Family” is back.

Reveille and Geffen Records have partnered with original “Partridge” format rights holder Sony Pictures TV to develop a modern version of the 1970s series…

Idea to revive “Partridge Family” came from discussions between Fair and Reveille managing director Howard Owens on ways they could develop a family show centered around the music business. “We decided to take a shot at acquiring the original rights and resurrecting the show with a new spin,” Fair said.

I like The Partridge Family — created by Canada’s own Bernard Slade, it was much, much smarter than The Brady Bunch, with a genuinely good cast. But unlike Battlestar Galactica, which was a show with a great premise that was never fully exploited, The Partridge Family pretty much did what it set out to do, a light comedy about a musical family. I read the above item and I think, what would have been wrong with creating an original family show about the music business? Apart from just trying to leech off the original series’ nostalgia value, there doesn’t seem any particular reason to remake it.

Which is the problem that most non-Galactica remakes have; there’s usually nothing inherent in the original premise that makes it absolutely necessary to do a remake, and most of these shows would be better off following the wise advice of that unfairly-maligned ABC executive and creating new, technically original shows that look to the earlier shows as a model. For example, it’s pretty clear now that when Ben Silverman wanted to bring back cheesy ’80s action shows, he’d have been better off making a new show inspired by that style instead of remaking Knight Rider. If there is one thing TV teaches us, it’s that it’s usually better to rip off a show and create something technically original, instead of just remaking it outright. Cheaper, too.


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