Today we look at the past via…the present! Classic shows have been getting the Reboot, thanks to the power of streaming, repeats, and social media. Roseanne will return at the end of the month, and Murphy Brown is reportedly returning to air this month. Wet Hot American Summer has returned to us twice, first as a prequel and then as a ten-year reunion. And in that vein, audiences are loving the past, in times…Decades Ago: Stranger Things stokes the love for the ’80s (much in the way as the novel Ready: Player One did!) If it can be idealized, it’s here. So, how will nostalgia dominate today’s competition?
Another Period brings today’s malaise via turn-of-the-century satire. Jokes about The General Slocum, New York City’s greatest loss of life until 9/11, has never been funnier. And neither has rape, misogyny, or politics. Everything Sucks is set in a different century, but it Netflix’s latest darling, featuring a set of disaffected, sweet youths in the ’90s. They’re different, but they’re both right: everything does suck.
Fresh Off the Boat is the ’90s coming-of-age tale of the Huangs, a Chinese-American family pursuing the American Dream via barbecue in Orlando, Florida. Based (loosely) on Eddie Huang’s memoir, we often find ourselves more interested in the foibles of Louis and Jessica. Red Oaks finds a young man a decade earlier, enjoying what life has to offer while working at a New Jersey country club.
Fuller House is version two of 1987-1995 schmaltz comedy Full House, reuniting the original cast with a recycled plot. Now DJ is raising her kids as a single parent with the help of her sister and best friend, just as Danny raised his kids with the help of his brother-in-law and best friend. Will & Grace is a continuation, picking up in present time, after leaving the four buds behind in 2005.
The X-Files also picks up sometime later, revisiting Mulder and Scully after 2002. Twin Peaks: The Return, meanwhile, brings back the full cast after the show promise it would see us in 25 years. Both shows are dark, but Twin Peaks especially so.