The big nerd news of the week, in case you just crawled out of a cave, is the imminent return of The X-Files. I don't want to jump to any conclusions here, but I did make a case for its return just a little more than six months ago, and here we are. Sure, it isn't coming back in quite the form or way I had hoped — I was pulling for a full-on reboot, or next generation-style take on the franchise; instead, we're getting the old stars back for a "miniseries event" — but still, I choose to believe I have magic powers that make things I want to happen actually happen, because that's the most entertaining possibility. In that spirit, I think it's high time that I abuse my newfound powers of making television shows reappear to revive some of my other old favorites, hopefully in a spiffy new form.
3) Friday the 13th: The Series
Let's start with the dark, gritty reboot of Friday the 13th: The Series that the world so desperately needs despite the fact that the demand for such a thing begins and ends with me, as far as I can tell. For starters, who else even remembers that there was a television show called Friday the 13th: The Series? Anyone? No? About what I expected. Well, there was, and it was pretty damn great for a syndicated basic cable show that has actual nothing to do with the film series with which it shares a name. I know that's a lot of qualifiers, and I'm not going to lie — the show does not hold up well to current-day standards. Still, the premise was pretty great — a pair of distant relatives inherit an antique shop that happens to specialize in selling cursed items. You know, your standard assortment of murderous dolls, Jack the Ripper's straight razor, the occasional monkey's paw, that sort of thing. And these young folk, not being the evil type, decide they have to track down and recover all this evil shit, with the aid of an old family friend who happens to be an occultist.
For its time, it was pretty damn dark for television, but today ... well, today you could really do justice by a show about a couple of luckless idiots who have the unenviable task of stopping a shitload of cursed artifacts from killing even more people. Put this thing on the CW and you finally have a reason for the network to let Supernatural go to the great beyond, which it should have done after season five ended. After all, it's a similar-enough premise and the lead roles are tailor-made for a couple of pretty, essentially dumb young actors to fill. Throw in a veteran, unappreciated character actor as the old occultist friend of the family — might I suggest Jared Harris, who you might know as the English guy who killed himself on Mad Men? — and you have a recipe for horror-TV gold, plus a chance to relive some of the scary, late-night moments of my adolescence.
2) Max Headroom
Stepping away from horror, how is it that no one has ever managed to bring back the cult favorite Max Headroom? The original show only lasted fourteen episodes more than 25 years ago, but its proto-cyberpunk vibe and subversive take on television's cultural hegemony have aged remarkably well. In the show's world, TV networks run everything, but a crusading investigative journalist and his accidentally created computerized alter-ego — the titular Max headroom — manage to fuck things up for them from time to time. The show tackled the surveillance state, black market organ-dealing and the corporatization of government years before those ideas reached mainstream consciousness, and it managed to do so with some pretty sharp satire mated to some pretty cheesy-looking CGI, to boot. Update it for the terrifying future we actually find ourselves in, swapping in Internet companies like Google for the TV networks, and you are on your way to something less prescient, but all too grounded in reality. The satire stays the same, but hopefully the CGI gets a facelift.
1) The Invaders
Jumping even further back, why hasn't anyone ever revisited the Invasion of the Body Snatchers-lite cult TV show The Invaders? I caught the show in syndication as a kid — my dad was a fan — and it creeped me out pretty damn well. The central premise was a secret invasion of Earth by shapeshifting aliens that were almost indistinguishable from normal humans, apart from a few odd things like their immobile pinky fingers (yes, I know that's silly, but it was the '60s, and budgets were tight). It's fair to say the show was probably an inspiration for The X-Files, and the subtext was thoroughly Red Scare inspired, but rampant paranoia, fear of the Other and the questionable belief of being in on a Big Secret are more popular today than ever. A spiffy new spin on the old chestnut — I'm thinking making the government the bad guys and trying to convince regular folks of all of this — could unite our paranoid, conspiracy-theory loving populace behind a new favorite TV show in record time, and do it all for super cheap. (Seriously, who even remembers this show besides me and my dad? I assume you could buy the rights for a handful of loose change and a ham sandwich.)
There are others, of course, but I'd be happy to see any of these three return to the air in a new, updated and improved form. They all had their issues — so did The X-files, as any but the most deluded, hardcore fans will readily admit — but a reboot is a perfect opportunity to fix those issues and unite old fans and new potential fans under the banner of a shiny new take on an old favorite. Plus, if any of these actually are resurrected I will be completely convinced that I do, in fact, possess a strange new superpower related to reviving old TV shows, in which case I'm happy to start taking bribes to bring back your old favorites. Feel free to share those in the comments so we can get a jump start on the fall 2017 TV lineup.
Find me on Twitter, where I tweet about geeky stuff and waste an inordinate amount of time: @casciato.
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