The pretender to the throne

The pretender to the throne
The proper man from U.N.C.L.E

In a reply to another post regarding the possibility of someone writing further Discworld novels I finally realised that I was against the idea. This set me thinking as to a theory which I have long held. I call it he time and the place.

There is a new tendency to re-boot old TV series and films. Newly minted Pop stars cover classic songs and some long for an author to take over writing the Discworld novels. All this is because the songs can be improved with modern music technology. Films can also be improved via CGI and a new generation of actors putting their own slant on things.

Sometimes it works (Star trek Re-boots and Mission impossible.). At other times the revamped film or song is a complete flop. I have not watched the Man from UNCLE and I am sure it is a great film. For an audience new to the concept it may be riveting. I just remember the old series as a part of my childhood.

I am sure many people will say I am wrong but I have never seen a re-boot (Film and TV) which has IMPROVED on the original. I must stress that this is a personal view. The reason for this, at least for me, is the nostalgia and context.

You might argue that the new films are for a wider audience and a more mature one. This means that they must have more action (Read violence), Romance, (Read sex.) and great special effects. Hey guys for me the graphics may have  been rubbish but in my imagination did all the work. Modern films do not require much imagination. We certainly didn’t need sex and violence.

ITV recently re-booted ‘Thunderbirds’. The original contained puppetry that was laughable and plots that would make most scriptwriters today wince. But was it anything to do with technical issues? Not for me. Saturday was fry up day. Burgers, chips and beans. And Thunderbirds while eating.  It was a time and a place and that was Saturday lunchtime. The new series had great graphics and the CGI allowed many Deus ex Machina moments which would have been impossible with puppets but it never approached the excitement of the original.

Dr Who too was reinvented sans dodgy sets and Monsters which were part of the original. The editing and spooky electronic music more than made up for the technical deficiencies in the original. Also the first few series of the revamped Dr Who had several storylines heavily hinting at Gay romances (Russell T Davis living vicariously through his storylines?) Now I have nothing against gay people but does an issue like that belong in a series like Dr Who where the title character never expressed views on sex at all. He was an alien. Again the younger me watched this without even thinking about the characters sex lives because it was for kids. Also it had to have an overriding story arc running through each series which got very confusing if you missed a few.

The recent remakes of Judge Dredd and Total Recall didn’t do too well either. There was also a new version of an old 70’s TV series called ‘The Tomorrow people’ It was about a group of youngsters who were the next step in human evolution. They could teleport and were telepathic and used these powers to benefit mankind. The new (American made.) version seemed to be an excuse for much fist fighting and guys getting their shirts off. The new storyline would have confused the younger me totally. It was spread over many episodes while the original were self contained three or four part plots. They missed the point entirely.

You might say that I am just an old fart complaining that things are not what they used to be. You are right. The originals were part of my life in more ways than you can imagine. Technically they were awful but CGI and special effects maketh not a good series.

You may enjoy new versions of old series and films but the presence of the originals on You Tube, and the hits they receive, prove that many agree with me.

As for the Discworld, Sir Terry Pratchett is dead and in my opinion the time and place for that is over too. Rest in peace Sir Terry while generation after generation rediscover your novels and make them part of their time and place.

The Tomorrow People, Dr Who and Thunderbirds original series.

Thank you Matthew O’Mara for starting the train of thought which led to this post.