Shows ruined by revival/comeback

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Richard Charles Skryngestone
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Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Richard Charles Skryngestone »

The textbook example of this has to be Only Fools And Horses. The final shot of the Trotters walking along the 'yellow brick road' passed into almost myth.

But those episodes years later(after Buster Merryfield had died) were mediocre at best, and ruined the Greatest Ending Ever of a television programme.

I'd also include Red Dwarf in this. The finale of Series Six was obviously not meant as a Final End. But everything from Series 7(coming 4 years after Series 6) on has been subpar. Is it still trundling along on Dave?

I have to give credit to Cleese and co. for turning down what was obviously big money to do a Fawlty Towers Series 3. it would most likely have completely spoiled the earlier episodes.
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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Ian Wegg »

Richard Charles Skryngestone wrote:I have to give credit to Cleese and co. for turning down what was obviously big money to do a Fawlty Towers Series 3.
Indeed. Credit also to David Renwick who was aware of the danger when he finished One Foot...

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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Simon36 »

Mind you, I’m always a bit baffled by this idea that by only doing 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers it meant it never slipped in quality. Within that 12 there are, in my opinion, more duds than seems to ever be acknowledged.. The Wedding Party is awful, 80% of The Germans isn’t very good, and I don’t think A Touch of Class is up to much. I think series 2 was far stronger. Whether a third series would have seen it reach its peak or lapse again is something we will never know, but I’m sure it would have become very repetitive, as it was already in danger of being.

The Shine on Harvey Moon revival was a dud, although Nicky Henson made a good shot of playing Harvey. It just didn’t gel, and it showed a lack of inspiration from the off with continuity being ditched in favour of bringing back old characters rather than inventing new ones. It should have worked but just didn’t; I think returning to half hour episodes made it too lightweight.

The Minder revival didn’t set the world on fire, nor did Doomwatch. The 80s Saint which which cancelled after two episodes... the 90s Van der Valk, The New Professionals.... is it ever a good idea?

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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Billy Smart »

Simon36 wrote:is it ever a good idea?
Yes - Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads!

Not often, though, I grant you.

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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Brock »

The Brittas Empire was quite clearly intended to finish at the end of Series 5, when Brittas is crushed to death by a falling water tank. The writers Richard Fegen and Andrew Norriss left at that point (as did Julia St John, who played Laura). The remaining two series are generally considered sub-standard and the end of the final episode is just embarrassing.

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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Spiny Norman »

Quite comparable to movie sequels in a way.

Further Up Pompeii (1991)?

Actually the Fawlty Special idea that Cleese mentioned in an interview wasn't all that bad. Fawlty at the airport, getting a taste of his own medicine.
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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Mark »

Simon36 wrote:Mind you, I’m always a bit baffled by this idea that by only doing 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers it meant it never slipped in quality. Within that 12 there are, in my opinion, more duds than seems to ever be acknowledged.. The Wedding Party is awful, 80% of The Germans isn’t very good, and I don’t think A Touch of Class is up to much. I think series 2 was far stronger. Whether a third series would have seen it reach its peak or lapse again is something we will never know, but I’m sure it would have become very repetitive, as it was already in danger of being.

The Shine on Harvey Moon revival was a dud, although Nicky Henson made a good shot of playing Harvey. It just didn’t gel, and it showed a lack of inspiration from the off with continuity being ditched in favour of bringing back old characters rather than inventing new ones. It should have worked but just didn’t; I think returning to half hour episodes made it too lightweight.

The Minder revival didn’t set the world on fire, nor did Doomwatch. The 80s Saint which which cancelled after two episodes... the 90s Van der Valk, The New Professionals.... is it ever a good idea?
For me, all the "Fawlty Towers" episodes were gems, my least favourite would be "The Kipper And The Corpse", it was good but of dubious taste ( a bit like the "Summer Wine" episode "Getting Sam Home").

"The Germans" is my favourite, all of it (would I be right in thinking you only like the Alarm drill scene?).
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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Mark »

Billy Smart wrote:
Simon36 wrote:is it ever a good idea?
Yes - Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads!

Not often, though, I grant you.
But you could argue it worked because it hadn't been all that long since the original, and made in the same way, a bit like "The New Avengers", which, although not as good as the 60's series, was still excellent and felt like the same series.

Otherwise, I can't bear remakes/revivals, all the ones mentioned plus "The Prisoner", "Survivors", "The Tomorrow People", "Randall And Hopkirk", all in the revival bin!

Let sleeping classics lie.

"Still Open All Hours", the writing is still as good as ever, but the production lacks the BBC quality look of old, for instance, on the last series at least, some of the closing scenes outside the shop seemed to have been done in the studio, with the same final shot on location, rather than the separate closing scenes filmed on the original, and also the loss of film on location.

The only other thing which is a shame, is the nice idea that Arkwright and Co are still there, never changing, lost now, with the revival.
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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Billy Smart »

Mark wrote:But you could argue it worked because it hadn't been all that long since the original, and made in the same way
Crucially, the ethos of Whatever is different, though. Its a programme about the compromises and decisions of early middle-age, rather than the opportunities and frustrations of being a young men.

The early seventies was, I think, the first time that comedy comebacks started to make an appearance, of which there were a spate - Steptoe, Till Death, Sykes,Likely Lads and later on Bootsie & Snudge and The Rag Trade on ITV.

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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Spiny Norman »

I wonder which is worse: A revival/comeback, or a US pilot/remake?
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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Mark »

Spiny Norman wrote:I wonder which is worse: A revival/comeback, or a US pilot/remake?
Both are instantly bin-able.!
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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Simon36 »

Mark wrote:
Simon36 wrote:Mind you, I’m always a bit baffled by this idea that by only doing 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers it meant it never slipped in quality. Within that 12 there are, in my opinion, more duds than seems to ever be acknowledged.. The Wedding Party is awful, 80% of The Germans isn’t very good, and I don’t think A Touch of Class is up to much. I think series 2 was far stronger. Whether a third series would have seen it reach its peak or lapse again is something we will never know, but I’m sure it would have become very repetitive, as it was already in danger of being.

The Shine on Harvey Moon revival was a dud, although Nicky Henson made a good shot of playing Harvey. It just didn’t gel, and it showed a lack of inspiration from the off with continuity being ditched in favour of bringing back old characters rather than inventing new ones. It should have worked but just didn’t; I think returning to half hour episodes made it too lightweight.

The Minder revival didn’t set the world on fire, nor did Doomwatch. The 80s Saint which which cancelled after two episodes... the 90s Van der Valk, The New Professionals.... is it ever a good idea?
For me, all the "Fawlty Towers" episodes were gems, my least favourite would be "The Kipper And The Corpse", it was good but of dubious taste ( a bit like the "Summer Wine" episode "Getting Sam Home").

"The Germans" is my favourite, all of it (would I be right in thinking you only like the Alarm drill scene?).
No, that’s the most interminable bit! I find it a lousy episode which aims very low, but I accept most people love it. Likewise, I think Kipper and the Corpse is one of the best, although like most episodes it has a limp ending. The only episode with a really good pay off at the end is The Hotel Inspectors.

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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Mark »

Billy Smart wrote:
Mark wrote:But you could argue it worked because it hadn't been all that long since the original, and made in the same way
Crucially, the ethos of Whatever is different, though. Its a programme about the compromises and decisions of early middle-age, rather than the opportunities and frustrations of being a young men.

The early seventies was, I think, the first time that comedy comebacks started to make an appearance, of which there were a spate - Steptoe, Till Death, Sykes,Likely Lads and later on Bootsie & Snudge and The Rag Trade on ITV.
Yes, the nostalgia angle in "Whatever" was a very attractive and relatable idea, the social changes that happened while Terry was away, and the threat he poses to the settled Bob, tempting him back to the old ways.

One of my favourite scenes is in "Moving On", Bob driving Terry around and pointing out all their old haunts, now gone, very powerful.

I still think it was close enough to the original to have the desired impact, things just aren't the same after a lengthy gap, such as "Liver Birds" or the Clunes remake of "Reggie Perrin".

"Sykes" was mostly remakes of the B/W episodes.

Although I'm a big fan of the long running "Doctor" series, "Doctor At The Top" suffered to some extent, because the characters had grown older and part of the series hype centred around the idea of 'No more Nurse chasing and Rumpy Pumpy' ( an essential ingredient of the original) there was even an episode about Collier having a Vasectomy.

I still liked it though, as I always liked the characters, and the writing was still there.
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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Mark »

Simon36 wrote:
Mark wrote:
Simon36 wrote:Mind you, I’m always a bit baffled by this idea that by only doing 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers it meant it never slipped in quality. Within that 12 there are, in my opinion, more duds than seems to ever be acknowledged.. The Wedding Party is awful, 80% of The Germans isn’t very good, and I don’t think A Touch of Class is up to much. I think series 2 was far stronger. Whether a third series would have seen it reach its peak or lapse again is something we will never know, but I’m sure it would have become very repetitive, as it was already in danger of being.

The Shine on Harvey Moon revival was a dud, although Nicky Henson made a good shot of playing Harvey. It just didn’t gel, and it showed a lack of inspiration from the off with continuity being ditched in favour of bringing back old characters rather than inventing new ones. It should have worked but just didn’t; I think returning to half hour episodes made it too lightweight.

The Minder revival didn’t set the world on fire, nor did Doomwatch. The 80s Saint which which cancelled after two episodes... the 90s Van der Valk, The New Professionals.... is it ever a good idea?
For me, all the "Fawlty Towers" episodes were gems, my least favourite would be "The Kipper And The Corpse", it was good but of dubious taste ( a bit like the "Summer Wine" episode "Getting Sam Home").

"The Germans" is my favourite, all of it (would I be right in thinking you only like the Alarm drill scene?).
No, that’s the most interminable bit! I find it a lousy episode which aims very low, but I accept most people love it. Likewise, I think Kipper and the Corpse is one of the best, although like most episodes it has a limp ending. The only episode with a really good pay off at the end is The Hotel Inspectors.
Agree about "Hotel Inspectors", great ending, but the Drill scene is hilarious, Basil getting more and more worked up about the distinction of the alarm sounds and the logic of the guests standing around waiting for the next drill, it's killingly funny!
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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

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Mark wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:I wonder which is worse: A revival/comeback, or a US pilot/remake?
Both are instantly bin-able.!
Red Dwarf certainly proves your point. But that can't be the only one that had both. Steptoe? Till death?


Grace & Favour (revival of AYBS? in a different setting) doesn't seem too painful to watch.
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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Mark »

No that's true, I quite Liked "Grace And Favour", although I think they missed a trick by not having Mr Lucas turn up at the hotel as a Pools winner and giving Captain Peacock orders, as he was now a paying guest.

There was also US versions of "Dad's Army" and "Fawlty Towers".
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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

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Mark wrote:No that's true, I quite Liked "Grace And Favour", although I think they missed a trick by not having Mr Lucas turn up at the hotel as a Pools winner and giving Captain Peacock orders, as he was now a paying guest.

There was also US versions of "Dad's Army" and "Fawlty Towers".
Three attempts at Fawlty Towers, no less (one just a pilot and two full series). But no revival, so that doesn't count. (The Germans had a full Fawlty Towers series that never aired, but that Cleese thought was actually good. They left out just one episode, for some reason.)


Just imagine how horrible a Blackadder revival would be: Stiffly reheating the petrified characters... NO, it would NOT be great, it would be hell! (Even that had a US cover version by the way, but the Americans just couldn't take irreverant takes on history.)


The only one that was underrated IMHO was the 1999 BBC Python night. Jokes weren't brilliant but the items were good enough and the participants all seemed to be in the spirit.
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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by brigham »

I have to add that Are You Being Served became so dire towards the end of its original run, that a 'revival' could scarcely have been worse.
It WAS funny at first, I vaguely recall...

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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by SgtPepper »

The Fawlty Towers airport thingy (good word that) was going to include the plane being hijacked by terrorists. It would have come to fruition before 9/11 so he must be pretty glad he didn't do that.

The most ludricrous revival was the Liver Birds. Characters were suddenly exchanging brother's and mother's. As if they couldn't have worked the characters into the storylines without such nonsensical continuity. Poor continuity is one thing, but that was deliberate and pathetic.

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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Brock »

Mark wrote: I still think it was close enough to the original to have the desired impact, things just aren't the same after a lengthy gap, such as "Liver Birds" or the Clunes remake of "Reggie Perrin".
Perhaps an even better example of a failed revival is The Legacy of Reginald Perrin from 1996, which featured nearly the entire cast of the original series, but of course without Leonard Rossiter. The phrase "Hamlet without the prince" comes to mind.

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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Mark »

Spiny Norman wrote: The only one that was underrated IMHO was the 1999 BBC Python night. Jokes weren't brilliant but the items were good enough and the participants all seemed to be in the spirit.
It was certainly good to get some new material.
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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Mark »

brigham wrote:I have to add that Are You Being Served became so dire towards the end of its original run, that a 'revival' could scarcely have been worse.
It WAS funny at first, I vaguely recall...
Still entertaining, but it certainly seemed to be running out of ideas at the end, less about the running of the store and more about set pieces with the staff.
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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Mark »

SgtPepper wrote:The Fawlty Towers airport thingy (good word that) was going to include the plane being hijacked by terrorists. It would have come to fruition before 9/11 so he must be pretty glad he didn't do that.

The most ludricrous revival was the Liver Birds. Characters were suddenly exchanging brother's and mother's. As if they couldn't have worked the characters into the storylines without such nonsensical continuity. Poor continuity is one thing, but that was deliberate and pathetic.
It was rather confusing and paled in comparison to the original.
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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Mark »

Brock wrote:
Mark wrote: I still think it was close enough to the original to have the desired impact, things just aren't the same after a lengthy gap, such as "Liver Birds" or the Clunes remake of "Reggie Perrin".
Perhaps an even better example of a failed revival is The Legacy of Reginald Perrin from 1996, which featured nearly the entire cast of the original series, but of course without Leonard Rossiter. The phrase "Hamlet without the prince" comes to mind.
It is a mystery why they would think it could work without it's main character, it's true.
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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by spflog1 »

I've been impressed with the Clangers revival. I was worried they'd do a reboot but thankfully the storyline has just seen a continuation on from the old series. They've even continued to use stop-motion to animate instead of opting for the now ubiquitous CGI.

It's certainly true that some shows outlive their welcome as cast members change and writing becomes stale, moving away from the magic which originally made it work. I think it's fair to say Dad's Army and Hi-de-Hi! would fall into that category along with others already mentioned.

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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by brigham »

'Last of the Summer Wine' was idling along to such an extent that I started to think it was only being kept on out of respect for veteran actor Bill Owen.
I was amazed that further episodes were made after that familiar actor's death. An ideal opportunity to bring the series to a close, and offer a tribute to the man who made it so memorable was lost.

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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

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Mark wrote:
SgtPepper wrote:The Fawlty Towers airport thingy (good word that) was going to include the plane being hijacked by terrorists. It would have come to fruition before 9/11 so he must be pretty glad he didn't do that.

The most ludricrous revival was the Liver Birds. Characters were suddenly exchanging brother's and mother's. As if they couldn't have worked the characters into the storylines without such nonsensical continuity. Poor continuity is one thing, but that was deliberate and pathetic.
It was rather confusing and paled in comparison to the original.
It seemed to me that the changes could have been due to the use of a Boswell family in Bread and not wanting to cause confusion. I still fifn't like it though.

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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by stearn »

I began to assume Last Of The Summer Wine was a BBC experiment for the elderly - keeping them active to prevent the onset of dementia - and a pension scheme ruse. It certainly wasn't funny.

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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Juswuh »

Perhaps there should be a thread about shows which seem to continue because of inertia, i.e. they've always been there and just go on being there? I think all the old soaps have fallen into that category nowadays.

Getting back on topic, the revival of Crossroads was a non-starter.

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Re: Shows ruined by revival/comeback

Post by Spiny Norman »

To reverse the question: Are there actually any good comeback revivals?

There is a handful of movies that had a good or even better sequel, so it IS possible to beat the odds.
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