OpinionTelevision & Film

Shows They Haven’t Remade Yet

BANNER_Opinions2013

 

What’s that, you say? You’ve seen it all before? Well, of course you have!

When Hollywood has resorted to adapting board games into movies – Battleship and Candy Land – and taken amusement park attractions and turned them into movies – Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion – what is there that’s left? Is there nothing that’s sacred?

Ah, but wait! There in the distance. Waiting in the wings… more remakes! Akira (the American version), another Batman reboot, a Spider-Man reboot, a new Lone Ranger (please let this one die… Johnny Depp as Tonto with werewolves? REALLY?), and who knows what else…

The complaint is made over and over again: Hollywood is creatively bankrupt. And a case can be made that they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel by adapting board games and trying to tell some kind of story. But if the studios are going to go that route, if they’re going to put their money into repeating what’s already come before (All of this has happened, and will happen again.), then they should at least try to adapt something that had a story to begin with. Right? Maybe?

So in the spirit of good, clean fun, let’s suggest ten science fiction intellectual properties that haven’t been touched yet (much):

10. “Man From Atlantis” (1977) – a pre-“Dallas” Patrick Duffy starred in this short-lived series about the lone survivor of Atlantis, Mark Harris, who finds new purpose in helping Dr. Elizabeth Merrill and C.W. Crawford in their oceanographic explorations, much of it spent aboard a high-tech submarine. The new Man From Atlantis – directed by someone like maybe… Jonathan Frakes – could take its cue from the storyline involving rich super-billionaire Mr. Schubert, who schemes to melt the polar ice caps. It’s got the perfect Hollywood chemistry: an evil corporate CEO, an environmental message, and a man without a shirt! Even better, he can sparkle a bit in the sunshine. Starring Stephen Moyer from “True Blood” and Rosario Dawson as Dr. Merrill.

9. “Lost in Space” (1965) – sure, it’s been done as a movie already, but it wasn’t really that good. And the new version should be (ahem) “edgier and grittier” and take its cue from the pilot. You have seen the pilot, haven’t you? Actually, it was the second pilot that made the airwaves. The original didn’t have the robot or Dr. Smith. But the first aired episode is much darker in tone than the show’s later years. It wasn’t about the kid and the robot and the buffoon of a doctor. It was about the doctor sabotaging the Jupiter 2, then getting stuck on board the ship. Very much like the movie re-make, but this time let’s keep Smith a Smith and not a Smith-Bug. Starring Bradley Cooper and Ryan Reynolds (why not?) along with Tim Curry as Dr. Smith.

8. “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” (1964) – this is another series from Irwin Allen, and it features the first privately-owned nuclear powered submarine, the Seaview. All sorts of possibilities here. This time, the Seaview is rescued from the scrap yard, refurbished and sent on a quest to find a sunken treasure ship, only to find one of the largest and most dangerous sea monsters ever! Starring Bradley Cooper, Selena Gomez as a female “Sharky”, and David Hedison returning in his role as now-retired Captain Crane.

7. “Starhunter” (2000) – it’s not as farfetched as you might think. A bounty hunter searching for his missing son, in the midst of an unruly sector of space… what could go wrong? You make Dante Montana a really Cool Hand Luke type. Boba Fett without the suit. Because now Boba has emotional baggage, Daddy issues. Montana has that same emotional baggage, only it’s flipped the other way. Starring Josh Lucas. Just because.

6. “Space: 1999” (1975) – Come on! Who wouldn’t think an Eagle on the big screen would be the coolest thing ever?! The biggest challenge is going to be the title. Obviously, we’re way past the party of 1999, and no base on the moon. So the movie version will probably be something like Moonbase Alpha, which will free up the time frame to be anywhere in the future. Which also gives the writers more latitude in figuring out the science of a catastrophe that sends the moon hurtling out of the solar system. It’s an intriguing premise, but you have to sell it with solid science now. (Except JJTrek didn’t have good science, and it did boffo at the box office… so maybe… nah.) Starring Thomas Gibson as John Koenig, Tricia Helfer as Dr. Helena Russell, and John Hurt as Professor Bergman.

5. “Time Tunnel” (1966) – you know, Irwin Allen is getting a lot of play on this… this one has a lot of potential for sequels, mainly because the two lead characters are trapped bouncing around through time. So you don’t necessarily have to get them home by the end of the movie. The challenge would be making this not like “Quantum Leap” and more like The Bourne Identity or some other kind of spy thriller. Not only do Newman and Phillips get trapped in an historic event, but they also have the moral dilemma of changing it or not. The Kennedy assassination is too easy by now, but there are plenty of places to jump into time and make a huge change. Maybe in a nod to “Star Trek” they could accidentally delay the US entry into World War II. Then they have to fix it somehow. Of course, you might have to trap Anne with the two fellas, now that we’re all “equal rights” and everything. Starring Jon Favreau, Neal McDonough, Angie Harmon, and Sam Neill.

4. “I Dream of Jeannie” (1965) – OK, technically it’s not science fiction, but it involves an astronaut! Right? If you really wanted to make it science fiction, set it in the future and Tony Nelson could find Jeannie on Mars or something. But in this day and age when fairy tales are the new sparkly vampire, why not a riff on Arabian Nights? Jeannie could be played by April Bowlby or Pink – yes, Pink – and Tony could be played by Michael Weatherly, with Jason Bateman as Major Healey and Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Bellows.

3. “Ark II” (1976) – another one of these environmentally-friendly Hollywood pictures, Ark II could incorporate not only the post-apocalyptic dystopia that gives a film its “grittier and edgier” elements, but also the cute factor of an intelligent chimpanzee (played, of course, by Andy Serkis). Add a little teen angst among the team, and make sure the Ark looks like a cross between a Star Wars sandcrawler and a Deep Space Nine runabout, and you’re good to go. Plus, there’s a chance to see savage humans in the wild. Because naturally, we’re going to devolve if the Big One hits. Right?

2. “Jason of Star Command” (1978) – Sid Haig is still alive, so you could bring him back to reprise his role as the villain. Dragos returns! Seriously. Star Command, headquarters to the good guys and on the same asteroid as the Space Academy, is all that stands in the way of the evil Dragos and his plans to conquer the galaxy. This and its parent show “Space Academy” would be possibilities for a set of interweaving story threads that cross over into the two titles. And Sid Haig! Plus we get a chance for some Wesley Crusher type to say “Camelopardalis!”

[Check out this review of the complete series on DVD]

And of course, no list would be complete without them:

 

1. “Elektra Woman and DynaGirl” (1976) – oh, come on, Hollywood! Why hasn’t this one been done yet? Really? Battleship? But no love for Elektra Woman? This is the ultimate. Lois Lane in a cape. With super powers! This time, Glitter Rock, the Empress of Evil, and The Sorcerer & Miss Dazzle all combine forces with The Pharoh – because adding that fourth villain works so well, doesn’t it? (Just ask Raimi…) Starring Natasha Henstridge (or Kristanna Loken or Jeri Ryan) and Jayma Mays. With Kevin Smith as Frank Heflin. Gold!

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

4 thoughts on “Shows They Haven’t Remade Yet

  • I loved “I Dream of Jeannie” as a kid. I was not happy to go into the first grade. It severely cut into my tv time.

    Reply
  • I love the choices – voyage and Space: 1999 especially – both could be updated and play well if done right. I’d also add the 70’s show Search with Hugh O’Brian and Burgess Merideth.

    Reply
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century?

    Reply
    • Main reason I hadn’t included Buck Rogers is because we’ve been hearing rumblings for several years that some project was in the works. At one point, James Cawley was working with Sony and the Dille estate to develop a web series, but that fizzled.

      Now we have word that Angryfilms will be working on a new adaptation of the original novel.

      Reply

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