Television Whitenoise: Nostalgia TV

Why do you want them to continue old TV shows that you used to love? For me it is not so I can see the same old story rehashed with actors who look like beef jerky versions of their younger selves – the number of reboots and remakes and satisfies that meagre craving.

When Twin Peaks came back it may have checked some nostalgia buttons for me, but the thing I loved about it was that, as you can always expect from Lynch, it struck out into new territory. Twin Peaks stands out for me as the peak TV from the last ten years.

Watchmen brought us something new for that universe. The old story about Moore and his disagreement with televisual or movie adaptations had validity in terms of creator-owned intellectual properties, but doesn’t detract from the choices made by the creators of this show, some of which have been brilliant.

I am hoping that the wrapping up of the story of Dr.Manhattan leads to new territory if gets picked up for a new season. It did enough of a balancing act between the source material and the new direction for it to be interesting an compelling.

Is The Man In The High Castle nostalgia fuelled too? Maybe – it feels like it to me. It could be the Philip K Dick connection, or the subject matter (despite it providing the distance needed to frame an exploration of present day issues). The ending seemed as inevitable as a Titanic Iceberg. It left me wondering if the ending was forced, and if they had more seasons planned, because it could have gone in some very different directions. I feel like this show side-stepped issues of Star Trek Nazi World cartoonishness, but it felt rushed in the last few episode. Were they midway through filming when they got the cancellation notice? If not then it fell a little foul of the wrap up loose end issues of a prematurely curtailed series.

What happened with the split Reich and the German iteration of it? So much more to explore. The dismantling of the Reich in the US could be used to dig into a whole bunch of interesting issues around emancipation and US war crimes, and corruption. Science fiction at heart is never about the future or the alternative world, it is just a mirror to where we live, and what would provide a better vehicle than this show?

Arrested Devleopment’s reboot never worked that well for me. The funnies seemed rooted in a time when the humour was different, but you also have this comedy of errors that just seemed to be in free-fall from the start, suddenly trying to arrive at some kind of conclusion. It just seemed unnecessary.

Franchise reboots are tricky beasts. You have to check the boxes of existing fans and provide an entry for new fans, and you also have to work with the notion that after the Marvel Universe everyone wants an endless ongoing series of interlinked films. Star Wars can’t make everyone happy. The framework is one of those behemoths of modern filmic mythology that tries to turn every innovation into a diet of same, but knows that in order to survive it needs to stir in some different. Royal Families are the model they are trying to match themselves too – occasional new blood to prevent the whole structure from crumbling under not enough variety.

A natural death is needed. An end to the cycle. New myths. Nostalgia can be satisfied by new shows using old shows as manure – that would make me happy enough.

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