Since about 2000, television has been enjoying what is being dubbed The Golden Age of Television. Somewhere in the last 10 years, TV shows surpassed filmmaking by displaying superior content, creativity, and storytelling. People expect television to be better than it’s ever been and that has given us some of the greatest entertainment in years: The Sopranos, Lost, Man Men, Breaking Bad, The Americans, Veep, Empire and the list goes on and on.
However, recently, the TV industry seems to have taken on a new interest: remakes and reboots. From Girl Meets World and Fuller House to Prison Break, Will & Grace and 24: Redemption it seems that almost weekly a new reboot or remake is being announced. So why, in this the Golden Age of Television, where original content is so valued, do reboots and remakes seem to even get a second chance?
One simple reason that remakes and reboots are hot right now is because they get attention. Back in January Steve Carell accidentally tweeted that The Office was being brought back to NBC and Twitter nearly had a meltdown (it’s not coming back—it was a typo, according to Carell). Furthermore, the announcement of a possible Coach reboot (which never ended up happening) sent the Internet into a frenzy generating a decent amount of social media buzz. Whether people were happy with the news or not, it was something people were talking about.
More importantly to networks, these reboots, do, in fact, bring viewers. Some tune in because they were fans of the show and are legitimately happy to have it back; others view out of curiosity, and others hate-watch, upset that this remake even happened. The premiere of Girl Meets World on The Disney Channel drew about 5 million viewers and ran for 3 seasons. While Netflix doesn’t release numbers, the Fuller House remake is about to enter its third season, which says a lot about the confidence Netflix has in the show’s ability appeal to Millennials.
Or maybe, this may be the first signal that the upward trend of television might be slowly starting to shift. With an estimated 454 scripted TV shows in 2016 alone and so many networks getting in on original content, the market looks to be close to becoming saturated. How can networks attract an audience and keep that audience tuning in? A reboot could seem like an appealing way to stand out. Or maybe, this is the first sign that TV might be starting to plateau.
No matter what the case, television isn’t going anywhere. Even if we are starting to slowly move out of this Golden Age we’ve enjoyed for the past 17 years, that doesn’t necessarily mean a decline in quality. Furthermore, it may give all of us time to catch up on all of the 454+ shows that we simply weren’t able to keep up with. It will keep us entertained while we await the next Golden Age.