Monday, March 18, 2013

Are We Tired of Remakes Yet?

Are we running out of new ideas? Does everything these days have to be a retread?

The hottest rock albums in the month of March are coming from the likes of Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton and Dave Grohl (and we won't mention Bowie and his planet-trippinge but critically acclaimed new album). Over on the Indie charts, we've hearing Nick Cave and former Smiths' guitarist Johnny Marr. The Zombies (of the mid-60s screed "She's Not There") just played Austin's legendary, hipsterish South by Southwest festival. 

Veronica Mars wins the lottery.
On TV, nothing seems to fade away, especially low-rated or ancient shows that have a cult following. "Arrested Development" will return for a season on Netflix. Sony Pictures is turning "Good Times" into a feature film -- does that mean we also get the return of Jimmy Walker? Dy-no-mite! Both J.R. Ewing and Larry Hagman recently departed "Dallas" (one was shot for a second time, the other had a shot liver), but "Dallas" seemingly lives forever on TNT.

And now we hear that creator Rob Thomas has launched an Internet campaign to make a feature film from his ratings-challenged but adored series, "Veronica Mars," the teen-detective drama that launched Kristen Bell to popular consciousness. Using the crowdsourcing Web site Kickstarter, Thomas raised $3.3 million from fans of the cult darling. A movie is in the works for 2014, with video on demand likely to follow.

Some are heralding the campaign as a start of a revolutionary funding technique. Here are the ingredients -- get the star and producer of a popular but long-departed TV show to agree to participate (both Bell and Thomas are commited to "Veronica Mars," the movie). Post something about it on one of those mushrooming crowdsourcing sites that allows regular people the opportunity to invest in something they adore. And watch the mega-millions lottery ticket come in a winner.

So, does that mean we'll soon see other creaky TV shows go for the same juice? "Bewitched" has already been done as a 2005 flop, even with Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman. Does anyone remember the "Get Smart" movie in 2007? Who holds a flame for the  "Charlie's Angel" movies versus the original series? You may love Cameron Diaz but she's no Farrah Fawcett.

"21 Jump Street" worked but only as a turn-the-plot-on-its head, Twister Game of a comedy that bears no resemblance whatsoever to the original. For the few who may remember, "The Brady Bunch Movie" and "Addams Family Values" worked by being similarly jaded.

What we're saying is that there are no guarantees that getting a bunch of people with money to burn to spend it to see their sweet but long-gone TV show rise from the dead is the right idea. If "Veronica Mars" flops, no one will be ringing Kristen's bell to see the sequel. Investing in a good idea is a bold move but here's a thought: How about something fresh off the shelves, not a piece of moldy bread. 

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