Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head
MTV/ Paramout+

Worst Reboots of Beloved TV Shows

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The Odd Couple
Hulu

Reboot Don’ts

Television reboots are tricky — they have to live up to the original while standing out on their own. They have to be unique but can’t stray too far from what audiences expect. Though some reboots and remakes have succeeded, plenty have missed the mark, suggesting that sometimes it’s best to leave the original alone.


Related: The 24 Most-Watched TV Show Finales

Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head
MTV/ Paramout+

'Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head'

Reboot of: 'Beavis and Butt-Head (1993-97)

Why It Was Awful: Though it might be a stretch to call a show featuring these two teen dimwits must-watch TV, in the '90s they were the animated stars of the most-watched show on MTV, merrily (and often stupidly) making fun of the era's biggest music stars. Thirty years later, they are unchanged — but their targets are tepid TikTok influencers and escape rooms. As the Guardian says, "Perhaps it would have been better to leave things be." 

MadTV
Amazon

‘MADtv’ (2016)

Reboot of: “MADtv” (1995-2009)

Why It Was Awful: Once just as popular, if not more so, than “Saturday Night Live,” the original MADtv series brought us some of the biggest names in pop culture, from Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key to Debra Wilson and Nicole Sullivan. The 2016 reboot left much to be desired. Entertainment Weekly called the show “Inconsistent and lacking any urgency.” 


Related: TV Shows That Wouldn’t Have Aired a Generation Ago

‘Baywatch’ (2017)
Amazon

‘Baywatch’ (2017)

Reboot of: “Baywatch” (1989-1999)

Why It Was Awful: A “Baywatch” movie hit the screen almost 20 years after the original TV series aired and got a less-than-stellar reception from critics, receiving a 17% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie, which stars Zac Efron, The Rock, and Priyanka Chopra, doesn’t deliver the silliness and endearing qualities of the original. The Guardian described the movie as “a limp big-screen update of the 90s TV show that doesn’t have the wit or stamina to stay afloat.”

‘Melrose Place’ (2009-2010)
Amazon

‘Melrose Place’ (2009-2010)

Reboot of: “Melrose Place”(1992-1999)

Why It Was Awful: While audiences gave the show a less-than-fresh 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, admitting the show was trashy and a guilty pleasure, critics' reviews were mixed on the show. The Washington Post called the show a “completely uncalled-for update of the original series.” It was canceled after one season.

‘Prison Break’ (2017)
Amazon

‘Prison Break’ (2017)

Reboot of: “Prison Break” (2005-2008)

Why It Was Awful: Labeled as an action crime drama, this reboot missed the mark, felt silly and confused, and left audiences wondering if the very delayed fifth season was necessary. The Hollywood Reporter described the reboot as “basically a collection of ideas that ‘Homeland’ passed on, if you can imagine that.”

‘Punk'd’
Amazon

‘Punk'd’ (2020)

Reboot of: “Punk'd” (2003-2007)

Why It Was Awful: This early aughts celebrity prank show was first revived in 2012 but only ran for one season. The show was picked up for a new reboot by BET in 2015 and Quibi in 2020, with Chance The Rapper as the host, but it still didn’t excite audiences. Chicago Tribune called it a failure, saying, “Even with each episode running no more than 7 minutes long, this ‘Punk’d’ still comes close to overstaying its welcome.“

‘Heroes Reborn’ (2015-2016)
Amazon

‘Heroes Reborn’ (2015-2016)

Reboot of: “Heroes” (2006-2010)

Why It Was Awful: The “Heroes” reboot was a massive disappointment to fans of the original series. It was messy, overly complicated, and didn’t have a cohesive storyline. The Los Angeles Times described the reboot as a complete failure, saying, “Ambitious is one thing, a big hot mess is quite another.”

​​’That ‘70s Show’
Amazon

​​’That ‘80s Show’ (2002)

Reboot of: “That ‘70s Show” (1998-2006)

Why It Was Awful: It would be hard for any reboot to stand in the shadow of “That ‘70s Show”’s iconic, eight-season run, but “That ‘80s Show” had several problems. Time said the show was “full of unlikable stereotypes who were already well-parodied cliches two decades ago.” Perhaps a better way to make people nostalgic for yesteryear is by focusing on the good of that decade instead. Hopefully, “That ‘90s Show” will have more success when it airs.

“Charlie's Angels” (2011)
Amazon

“Charlie's Angels” (2011)

Reboot of: ‘Charlie's Angels’ (1976-1981)

Why It Was Awful: This groundbreaking show was a massive hit with audiences in the ‘70s and starred Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith, and the late Farrah Fawcett. The reboot only ran for four episodes before ABC canceled it. With a shocking 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, The Independent UK said, “I never thought my eyes could hurt this much.”

“24: Legacy” (2017)
Amazon

“24: Legacy” (2017)

Reboot of: ‘24’ (2001-2010)

Why It Was Awful: Ranked as the longest-running American espionage show, “24” still delivered a reboot that fell flat. “Legacy” was missing Jack Bauer, played by Keifer Sutherland, and the reboot suffered for his absence. Empire Magazine said the prospect of “24” without Bauer felt like “The Sopranos” without Tony. The show was canceled after one season.

‘Bionic Woman’ (2007)
Amazon

‘Bionic Woman’ (2007)

Reboot of: “The Bionic Woman” (1976-1978)

Why It Was Awful: “Bionic Woman” only ran for a partial season and missed the mark when it came to being a campy homage to the original series. The show halted during the writer's strike of 2007, and as a result, only eight episodes made it to television before the show was canceled. USA Today said of the actress playing the titular character “[Michelle] Ryan delivers almost every line with the same, steady whine, squeezing whatever energy there might have been out of an already tiresome premise.”

‘The Odd Couple’ (2015-2017)
Amazon

‘The Odd Couple’ (2015-2017)

Reboot of: “The Odd Couple” (1970-1975)

Why It Was Awful: Given that “The Odd Couple” is a story that has seen many iterations, from stage to screen, audiences and critics alike agreed that this show was a stale revival of something done several times successfully before and was, therefore, tedious and unnecessary. The Guardian described the show as “sort of everything that is wrong with network sitcoms these days.”

‘The Fugitive’
Walmart

‘The Fugitive’ (2020)

Reboot of: “The Fugitive” (1963–1967)

Why It Was Awful: “The Fugitive,” first a hit show in the 1960s and then a successful movie in 1993 starring Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, and Julianne Moore, flopped as a remake for Quibi — a short-form streaming platform. The show was doomed from the start, with a plan to release episodes lasting only 6-9 minutes. Entertainment Weekly called the short-lived series “a frantic, miserable remake.”

'Gossip Girl’
Amazon

'Gossip Girl’ (2021)

Reboot of: “Gossip Girl” (2007-2012)

Why It Was Awful: “Gossip Girl”’s 2021 reboot, which is called a “continuation,” had everyone who was hooked on the original tuning in expecting something thrilling and fun, but the series still missed the mark. The show had many pitfalls, but like a lot of failed reboots, what made the original great was the campy nature of the show, which is nowhere to be found in the new series. Vanity Fair described the show as “all sleek and matte and cold.”

‘Ironside’
Amazon

‘Ironside’ (2013-2014)

Reboot of: “Ironside” (1967–1975)

Why It Was Awful: This police drama was canceled after airing four episodes — ratings for the reboot, which starred Blair Underwood as Robert Ironside, were incredibly low. The show has a dismal 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Chicago Sun-Times encouraged viewers to steer clear of the show, saying, “What do beehives, freshly painted fingernails, and Raymond Burr's old cop drama have in common? They're all things better left alone.”

Dragnet
Amazon

‘L.A Dragnet’ (2003)

Reboot of: “Dragnet” (1951-1970)

Why It Was Awful: “Dragnet” had several successful film adaptations over the years, but the television series remake, “L.A. Dragnet” starring Ed O'Neill and Ethan Embry ran for one middling season before changing the cast to an ensemble.  The show fell apart and was canceled five episodes into season two.


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