POINT: Reboots Should Get the Boot

"cartoon" by sandrieliribeiro is licensed under Creative Commons.

by Ethan Gathman and Chester Wilson III

In the coming year, the following (canceled) television shows are slated to be remade: “Animaniacs,” “The Jetsons,” “Ren and Stimpy,” “Rugrats,” “The Wild Thornberrys,” “Carmen Sandiego,” “Thundercats,” “Muppet Babies,” and “Hey Arnold!” That’s a lot of remakes — and those are just the cartoons.

Hollywood’s focus on their abundance of reboots is doing more harm than good to their original content and their networks as a whole.

In 1992, Ted Turner purchased Hanna-Barbera Productions and established his own library of animations he called The Cartoon Network — the first 24-hour single-genre channel with whose main theme was animation — and quickly garnered success. Turner’s network made way for massive experimentation in animation style and subject matter, from a wide variety of themes, media, and tones.

In the 2000s, the network produced award-winning shows like “Samurai Jack,” “Powerpuff Girls,” “Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends,” and “The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy,” among others.  This was the golden age of television.

As the 2010s approached and these programs drew to a close, Cartoon Network hoped to draw audiences by remaking once-popular shows. But this seems like a cheap marketing ploy. Directors at Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network (and others) want the ratings and respect that they had in the ‘90s. Instead of making new quality programs, they seem to be throwing every ‘90s cartoon at the wall to see what sticks.

Reboots present a problem for the television shows attempting to gather a viewership, especially for new creators.  The ratings of newer shows suffer directly under this model because the networks air them either too early or too late in the day to accumulate a fan base. This prevents the shows from accumulating the viewers, or even coming close to the revenue of other shows.

It would be unfair to say that all revival series are bad. “Samurai Jack” has definitely proved its quality. The original run for “Samurai Jack” was from February 2001 to September 2004. Many fans were disappointed with the show’s finale. In 2017, the series was brought back for a limited run on “Adult Swim” — Cartoon Network’s late-night lineup. The revived series gave the story a better ending — a dream-come-true for many.

While there may be benefits to rebooting a show, like completing the story or finishing a character arc. But for shows like “The Jetsons” or “Thundercats,” whose endings were not open or unsatisfactory — what’s the point?

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