Giving Reboots the Boot

Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today to talk about the sad state of some “new” TV programming.

The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, is in bookstores now.   //

Reboots. They’re coming to your TV soon. Some arrived early, like “Fuller House”. Some are waiting in the wings, like “The Connors” (sans Roseanne). Some we cringe at the thought of: “Magnum P.I.” without a mustache. And some, like “Murphy Brown”, couldn’t be more topical.

Webster’s is constantly adding new words as they become part of the common language. “Selfie” recently got added. As did” twitter.” The Urban Dictionary goes further, adding buzzwords as they happen, like “fleek,” “bae” and “adulting.” Oh, and “buzzword” is also part of the lexicon.

“Reboot” is a product of the computer phenomenon. We rebooted computers when they got stubborn. Now it’s used to mean “revive.” “Resuscitate.” Like Frankenstein’s monster, TV shows come back from the dead. And like zombies, they can’t seem to die, even when cancelled.

I’m not exactly sure what this retro move is all about. It’s hard to believe there are no new ideas for shows floating around in TV Land. Netflix, HBO and the rest don’t seem to have trouble finding new and unique properties. BBC has given us the short series, not shows that strive to last over 100 episodes to make it to syndication.

It’s said that writers are 20 deep at the gates of studios, begging for a chance with fresh scripts and unique ideas. But, we’re talking profit here. TV execs want a sure hit. Advertisers are reluctant to invest in the untried. They are banking on nostalgia from older viewers and pulling in a younger audience who have no clue what the original show was like.

I’m also peeved at trend-followers. A zombie show is a hit? Let’s saturate the boob tube with more of the same. Is one vampire show enough? How many superheroes can we pack in a network? Cops, SWAT, firemen, FBI, NCIS, law enforcement is covered. I have to say I like the new hospital shows where the administration is evil and the doctors are sly enough to save people despite the rules.


I recently found out why we’re inundated with reality shows. When the writers strike took place a decade ago, studios found it was cost effective to put real people in front of the camera and see what happened. Unscripted shows showed us the worst in humanity. Real housewives were phony, the Kardashians took off from Kim’s sex tape and big booty, the bachelor excited women with a rose and watched catfights erupt competing for a marriage proposal. I will admit I love “Amazing Race”, “Survivor”, “Project Runway” and “Top Chef”. I LEARN something from these shows. The rest are just communal voyeurism.

With the exception of “Murphy Brown”, I will not be watching reboots. I’ll turn the channel to PBS and fill my mind with knowledge.