We’ve had the time of our life – and now we’re going to have it again, with Lionsgate announcing a “Dirty Dancing” remake.
Also, just this week, a remake of “Outland” was announced, Jaime King and Alex Vega joined the “Mother’s Day” reboot, Chace Crawford started training for the new “Footloose," shooting began on the revamped “Straw Dogs” …
I’m not gonna do my usual railing against the remake. It itself feels like a remake.
Suffice it to say that it was also announced this week that “Brewster’s Millions” is getting the screen treatment — for the eighth time.
What this got me thinking was about the other pre-existing properties that producers and filmmakers might exploit.
You know, beyond the wholesale strip-mining of fan favorites, board and video games, trading cards, that secret chicken-soup recipe your grandma wrote on a napkin and stored in her kitchen drawer.
If Hollywood’s willing to pour millions into developing such tenuous projects, why I wonder don’t the creatives and suits pick over the bones of the hundreds — nay, thousands — of TV pilots not picked up over the past half-century?
These are concepts that were developed at length, scripted, shot and edited.
That they didn’t catch on could be as much to do with the timing or the marketing as any inherent lack of quality.
The best place to start would have to be Lee Goldberg’s 1991 book “Unsold TV Pilots: The Almost Complete Guide to Everything You Never Saw On TV." The book’s a fun and fascinating read. Most of the time I was laughing as I wondered how some of these ideas ever made it in front of the cameras.
A sitcom based on the life of Oprah?
TV dramas based on “Diner” and “The Last Detail”?
A series about a cop reincarnated as a farty dog that was called — seriously — “Poochinski”?
We can thank our lucky stars they never saw the weekly schedule.
But every few pages, Goldberg’s little blurbs about failed pilots had me thinking, “Hey, not bad."
Well, at the very least, fresher than most of the snooze-worthy “we’re doing it for the brand recognition” remakes announced day-in, day-out …
— “Microcops” (tiny alien cops control people and animals)
— “The Annihilator” (newspaper man becomes fugitive after discovering aliens are replacing people with robots)
— “Infiltrator” (maverick scientist has accident so that when he gets angry he becomes a metal avenger)
Just check out Scott Bakula’s robot hand!
And, for the exec who’s not so big on, ya know, reading, Goldberg’s book inspired TV specials.
You can catch ‘em on YouTube.
“The Man With the Power”?
Just tell me they couldn’t get audiences into theaters just as readily as a new “Mother’s Day” or “Outland."