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Remakes, Reboots, and Remastered: The Lack of Creativity!

Another day and another announcement that one of our favorite films, television shows, or albums will be returning with another lifeline.  It appears new art isn’t anything more than old art recreated and repackaged as new art.  Come again!  It implies that artists, creatives, and tastemakers have become stale in their work, but more so, new artist are not proven themselves to be creative by creating original work.

The “it” thing seems to be rebooting our classic TV shows, along with remaking our cult classic films.  There has been some moderate success with some of the television shows that have been rebooted.  However, let’s attribute that to nostalgia.  Regardless of who it is, we all want to feel a familiar moment from our past, but only for a moment, not eternity.  And that’s where the problem lies.  Give a sample, not a smorgasbord.  That’s why a lot of these reboots don’t surpass a first or second season.  It’s even more upsetting and baffling to know that in late 2018 there were 121 reboots and remakes in the works.  The majority were set for a release between 2019 and 2020.  Who to point the finger at?  We’re not even sure.  Do we blame the content creators because it appears they lack the originality to create anything new.  Or do we point the finger at Hollywood studios?  There’s a possibility that writers are pitching new ideas, but the bigwigs aren’t interested in the gamble.  They want to piggyback on what’s worked in the past.  The familiar factor verses the risk factor.  Production cost a pretty penny, so why not generate for a guaranteed audience?  But aren’t the production companies and studios tired of hearing “we seen this before,” because it all seems to be a slight switch in the script, different cast, with a cameo from someone who appeared in the original.  That’s the makeup of a remake.   

On the music side of recreation, it works in our favor…to an extent.  All remakes of songs don’t go over so well.  When an album is remastered that’s a good thing.  Technology along with sound quality has grown immensely over the years, so why not take advantage of it right?  Within the last decade the quality of music has changed, so why not remaster the music to create a more solid quality sounding song?  Although some like to hear the needle rubbing the wax or the nuances that made the song what it’s probably become known for.  Remastering an album or song from the past prevents us from having to constantly adjust the volume.  It not only makes our listening pleasure better, but it makes life better.  On the downside, when an artist decides to have a volume two (reuse a previous album title) of a fan-favorite album, eyebrows raise with an unpleasant grin.  Fans are torn between not wanting what they love tampered with and the artist’s capability of outdoing what they love.  It’s a gamble that’s proven to work well and not work at all.

Art is timeless.  Art moves.  Art imitates our lives.  We love art.  However, the constant need to recreate what’s already been done and what’s already generated success speaks volumes.  What does it say exactly?  That there isn’t any originality.  We understand influence and inspiration from newbies, and how they may be inspired to recreate something similar from someone they admire, but all that does is portray the newbie to look like the B-side of the A-side. They love to say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but it isn’t.  These remakes and reboots come across as a high school athlete still holding onto their glory days.  There’s room for new characters and themes to grace our screens and there are stories that don’t already exist that need telling.  If the television and film industry would end the ongoing theme of remakes and reboots, that act would showcase and place value in the consumer, as well as the writers, directors, and producers.  Hollywood studios can start by backing more indie projects that ooze with unique and different stories and storytelling.  However, we still have to wonder if the level of creativity is low or is there a case of laziness running ramped?  At the end of the day, leave well-enough alone.  And yes, sequels are welcome, but they have to make more sense, and less press.  Cesar A. Cruz said, “art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable”but that’s not going to happen when the same art is repeatedly presented.  All that’s happening is a residual interest, which results in nostalgia and comparison.  And let’s face it, rarely is the remake or reboot ever as good or lives up to the original.

Brian Anthony
I can be your cup of tea or shot of Hennessy!