17 votes

What TV classics are significantly better than the remake?

What classic TV shows are so good that you are much better off watching the original, in spite of them being remade?

45 comments

  1. [7]
    envy
    Link
    Twilight Zone
    10 votes
    1. [6]
      UniquelyGeneric
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Agreed, while the latest remake had it’s moments, it was too heavy handed with it’s social commentary. The original did a better job of creating a catharsis of the protagonist’s flaws, rather than...

      Agreed, while the latest remake had it’s moments, it was too heavy handed with it’s social commentary.

      The original did a better job of creating a catharsis of the protagonist’s flaws, rather than creating inescapable traps of society. The originals ended with a moral, while the remake either had a hamfisted theme (“police bad”), or an ambiguous ending with no takeaway at all.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        babypuncher
        Link Parent
        I have a hard time imagining how something could be more heavy handed than the original Twilight Zone. I've seen similar complaints about recent incarnations of Star Trek. I'm beginning to think...

        it was too heavy handed with it’s social commentary.

        I have a hard time imagining how something could be more heavy handed than the original Twilight Zone. I've seen similar complaints about recent incarnations of Star Trek. I'm beginning to think that the currently toxic political context is causing people to have less of an appetite for commentary in their media.

        I haven't seen the new Twilight Zone though, so I can't say for sure what's going on there.

        10 votes
        1. [2]
          UniquelyGeneric
          Link Parent
          I think you might be right about the current political climate making every issue polarizing and mentally draining. There is literally an episode comprised of Trump manifested as a spoiled child...

          I think you might be right about the current political climate making every issue polarizing and mentally draining. There is literally an episode comprised of Trump manifested as a spoiled child who becomes president. While they could have explored more about the consequences of short-sightedness, or the sycophants who enable it, the episode felt like repeated reminders of "Trump acts like a brat, amiright?". In a world where Trump makes up most my news day, I don't need another reminder of the obvious.

          I suppose part of the issue with the new TZ was the format: it's twice as long as the original. So when you figure out the premise of the episode in the first 5 minutes, you have to sit through 40 more minutes of that same premise going through minute variations, which gets exhausting when there doesn't seem to be a larger point being made.

          5 votes
          1. Akir
            Link Parent
            One of my favorite bits of trivia about the original Twilight Zone (which I imagine is completely apocryphal) is that they did a writing contest for scripts, where the best ones would be produced....

            One of my favorite bits of trivia about the original Twilight Zone (which I imagine is completely apocryphal) is that they did a writing contest for scripts, where the best ones would be produced. Who won? Nobody. Nobody could come up with a quality script.

            Writing a quality story is hard. Writing a quality story that is short is even harder.

            3 votes
      2. [2]
        DanBC
        Link Parent
        I'm surprised that's what you got from that episode, because you've missed all the other stuff it mentions - which is mostly not about policing.

        had a hamfisted theme (“police bad”)

        I'm surprised that's what you got from that episode, because you've missed all the other stuff it mentions - which is mostly not about policing.

        1 vote
        1. UniquelyGeneric
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I’m being a little pedantic: I realize the episode was made in the context of Black Lives Matter. However, other episodes seem to boil complex social issues to relatively simple themes. For...

          I’m being a little pedantic: I realize the episode was made in the context of Black Lives Matter. However, other episodes seem to boil complex social issues to relatively simple themes. For example, another episode that has men becoming aggressive clearly has hints of the #MeToo movement, but it mostly portrays most men as primitive apes lacking humanity or ethical considerations, despite the title being “Not All Men”.

          I’m not complaining about touching on social issues, the original Twilight Zone did it, too, and I think sci-fi can be a great medium to do so. The problem I mostly had was that it beat you over the head with the premise of the episode, but did little to offer as a moral lesson at the end, which I think the original excelled in.

          Edit: the finale of the reboot did actually call out many of my complaints, which makes it somewhat self-aware and intentional, but that doesn’t mean the other episodes necessarily stand on their own like other TZ classics, if they have to be taken as a whole with the finale’s explanation. That being said, I am looking forward to season 2 and mostly enjoyed the reboot overall.

          7 votes
  2. [17]
    cfabbro
    Link
    Are there really that many TV series remakes/reboots out there? Wikipedia seems to suggest not, although that list is clearly incomplete. And looking through it, the only other show (besides...

    Are there really that many TV series remakes/reboots out there? Wikipedia seems to suggest not, although that list is clearly incomplete. And looking through it, the only other show (besides Twilight Zone) where the original strikes as being better than the reboot is Magnum P.I. Maybe MacGyver and Knight Rider too, though the originals haven't aged well, and it's more just because the reboots really suck.

    But on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are quite a few remakes/reboots that are significantly better than the originals IMO, E.g. Battlestar Galactica, House of Cards (Spacey controversy aside), Lost In Space, Doctor Who (2005+), Outer Limits, and The Office.

    8 votes
    1. [4]
      nothis
      Link Parent
      It's absolutely crazy that Battlestar Galactica was rebooted twice, both previous versions looking like absolute trash yet somehow the final iteration is just about the best sci-fi television...

      It's absolutely crazy that Battlestar Galactica was rebooted twice, both previous versions looking like absolute trash yet somehow the final iteration is just about the best sci-fi television series ever made.

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        Apex
        Link Parent
        Firefly would like to have a word with you.

        Firefly would like to have a word with you.

        3 votes
        1. mat
          Link Parent
          Firefly isn't really sci-fi. It's cowboys in space. At best it's Science Fantasy like Trek/Wars/etc/etc/etc. BSG's final iteration relies on some sciencey stuff, tends to stick to the actual rules...

          Firefly isn't really sci-fi. It's cowboys in space. At best it's Science Fantasy like Trek/Wars/etc/etc/etc. BSG's final iteration relies on some sciencey stuff, tends to stick to the actual rules of science as we know it and when it doesn't, has minimal handwaving; whereas Firefly is happy to use space magic when it wants.

          Also Firefly is just not that good

          3 votes
        2. calm_bomb
          Link Parent
          I never liked Firefly and I don't get the hype on it. Seems more likeable to audiences in US... or so it seems to me. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I didn't find it good. After two episodes I...

          I never liked Firefly and I don't get the hype on it. Seems more likeable to audiences in US... or so it seems to me. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I didn't find it good. After two episodes I was bored.

    2. mat
      Link Parent
      I might argue that The Office wasn't really a remake/reboot in the normal sense. It was a transplant from one country to another and while I definitely think the US Office was great, I'm not sure...

      I might argue that The Office wasn't really a remake/reboot in the normal sense. It was a transplant from one country to another and while I definitely think the US Office was great, I'm not sure it was significantly better. It was different. But they were both good shows. See also: Shameless

      3 votes
    3. [2]
      hamstergeddon
      Link Parent
      I watched the first episode or two of Lost In Space and really enjoyed it until Dr. Smith starting being more a presence. It just felt like the situation everyone was in was challenging enough...

      I watched the first episode or two of Lost In Space and really enjoyed it until Dr. Smith starting being more a presence. It just felt like the situation everyone was in was challenging enough that we didn't need some sketchy bad guy running around making it worse. Just a family trying to survive on a hostile planet with an "evil" robot companion was interesting enough.

      Maybe her motivations went on to be explored and she became more compelling, but I just lost interest before I could find out.

      2 votes
      1. cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        They did, but they're not super satisfying motivations, IMO. It basically just boiled down to "she's a sociopath because her sister is perfect and her mom ignored her"... but she is a foil, and a...

        Maybe her motivations went on to be explored and she became more compelling, but I just lost interest before I could find out.

        They did, but they're not super satisfying motivations, IMO. It basically just boiled down to "she's a sociopath because her sister is perfect and her mom ignored her"... but she is a foil, and a useful one IMO, as she adds much needed tension to the human moments in the show. The original Dr. Smith was not as maniacal, but still very similar in being incredibly problematic for the family for various reasons.

        1 vote
    4. [3]
      elcuello
      Link Parent
      Is there really consensus to US version of The Office is better? I've never heard this. It's great on its own but not better.

      Is there really consensus to US version of The Office is better? I've never heard this. It's great on its own but not better.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        cfabbro
        Link Parent
        I never said there was consensus that it's better. IMO = In my opinion.

        I never said there was consensus that it's better. IMO = In my opinion.

        1. elcuello
          Link Parent
          Ahh I missed that. Carry on...

          Ahh I missed that. Carry on...

          2 votes
    5. [3]
      pseudolobster
      Link Parent
      That doesn't look to be all that complete. I can think of Roseanne, The X Files, ReBoot which I mentioned before, 90210, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and Fuller House that aren't on that list.

      That doesn't look to be all that complete. I can think of Roseanne, The X Files, ReBoot which I mentioned before, 90210, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and Fuller House that aren't on that list.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        cfabbro
        Link Parent
        Oh damn, ReBoot. The original was a staple of my childhood! I completely forgot about that getting a reboot. I wouldn't really classify X Files as a remake/reboot though, considering it features...

        Oh damn, ReBoot. The original was a staple of my childhood! I completely forgot about that getting a reboot. I wouldn't really classify X Files as a remake/reboot though, considering it features the same actors... it was more of a revival.

        4 votes
        1. joplin
          Link Parent
          Wasn't Rosanne also done with the same people? (At least until Ms. Barr went on her "ambien rant".)

          Wasn't Rosanne also done with the same people? (At least until Ms. Barr went on her "ambien rant".)

          1 vote
    6. [2]
      envy
      Link Parent
      You are not a fan of Tom Baker?

      Doctor Who (2005+)

      You are not a fan of Tom Baker?

      1 vote
      1. cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I actually enjoy all the original Doctor Who series, even the very first... but they are all a product of their times to varying degrees (esp regarding budgetary issues), and the 2005 reboot +...

        I actually enjoy all the original Doctor Who series, even the very first... but they are all a product of their times to varying degrees (esp regarding budgetary issues), and the 2005 reboot + subsequent series are undeniably better, more compelling television overall IMO.

        2 votes
    7. hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      I just wanted to hop in and say thanks to you and @nothis. Because of your comments, I started watching Battlestar Galactica a few days ago and, holy shit, it is way better than I expected it to...

      I just wanted to hop in and say thanks to you and @nothis. Because of your comments, I started watching Battlestar Galactica a few days ago and, holy shit, it is way better than I expected it to be.

      Also, still going to finish Transmetropolitan, promise.

      1 vote
  3. [3]
    pseudolobster
    Link
    The aptly named ReBoot

    The aptly named ReBoot

    6 votes
    1. Liru
      Link Parent
      The ReBoot reboot also had an episode that mocked fans of the original, rubbing extra salt in the wound. "Don't like it? You must be a manchild neckbeard who lives in their parents' basement."

      The ReBoot reboot also had an episode that mocked fans of the original, rubbing extra salt in the wound. "Don't like it? You must be a manchild neckbeard who lives in their parents' basement."

      4 votes
    2. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      The original is hands down better. The only way to improve it would be to re-render and remaster seasons 1-3 with the higher quality 3D assets from season 4. Keep everything else the same. That...

      The original is hands down better. The only way to improve it would be to re-render and remaster seasons 1-3 with the higher quality 3D assets from season 4. Keep everything else the same.

      That show is one of the main reasons I have a degree in 3D animation. not that I use it...

      4 votes
  4. [8]
    kodystriplin
    Link
    I don't think you could consider the new stuff 'remakes', but any Star Trek made after DS9 has disappointed me. It's not bad, just different from the stuff I grew up with.

    I don't think you could consider the new stuff 'remakes', but any Star Trek made after DS9 has disappointed me. It's not bad, just different from the stuff I grew up with.

    6 votes
    1. [4]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      LOL! No, IMO the new stuff is pretty bad. ;) I'm an oldschool trekkie too, who adores TNG-Voyager, absolutely loathes the new dumbed down, "action packed + gritty" movies (although all the movies...

      It's not bad

      LOL! No, IMO the new stuff is pretty bad. ;)

      I'm an oldschool trekkie too, who adores TNG-Voyager, absolutely loathes the new dumbed down, "action packed + gritty" movies (although all the movies are meh), Discovery and now sadly, Picard too. So I could go on a massive rant about why I think they're objectively bad (poor writing, manufactured drama, plot holes, poor characterization, over-the-top CGI and action scenes, weak ham-handed attempts at modern social/political commentary, etc) and why I subjectively hate them too, but I will spare you that. ;) /triggered

      7 votes
      1. [2]
        balooga
        Link Parent
        You're not alone! It's funny because '90s-era Trek was itself a reboot of sorts, and I think it's generally more watchable and revered than the original series. It holds up incredibly well today,...

        You're not alone! It's funny because '90s-era Trek was itself a reboot of sorts, and I think it's generally more watchable and revered than the original series. It holds up incredibly well today, particularly the HD remasters of TNG. The design, writing, and effects are so timeless it's easy to forget it was made 30 years ago.

        I don't particularly enjoy the TNG movies. They're so transparently desperate to be edgy Hollywood blockbusters. There are lots of reasons I enjoy Star Trek, but none of them involve Data swearing or Picard rampaging through firefights in the Enterprise corridors.

        DS9 was a great show too! On the whole I think I actually prefer it to TNG, but because it's serialized I don't return to it as often. I liked a lot of things about Voyager but it ultimately left me unsatisfied. It was saturated with potential when it began, and almost all of it was squandered. I'm not very interested in returning to it. Enterprise lost me completely, and I never came back around for any of the newer shows or movies. I've seen them, but I don't like them. None of them seem to capture the essence of what made Star Trek unique.

        Anyway, have you seen The Orville? If not, you should. It's an homage to '90s-era Trek and it's very well done. Of course the names are all different but it still feels more like Star Trek to me than the things that currently carry the official license.

        3 votes
        1. cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          The original series is pretty dated and hasn't aged particularly well, but is still fun to revisit occasionally. I also actually like DS9 slightly more than TNG too, but similarly don't return to...

          The original series is pretty dated and hasn't aged particularly well, but is still fun to revisit occasionally. I also actually like DS9 slightly more than TNG too, but similarly don't return to it as often. Voyager was decent and reasonably rewatchable too, but probably my least favorite of the three as well since I agree that its potential felt squandered. Janeway is a badass though and I love her. I gave up watching Enterprise about half-way through and never looked back... and it's been downhill ever since then. Discovery and Picard (so far) are straight trash. :(

          Anyway, have you seen The Orville?

          I have, and I love it. It isn't nearly as good as TNG/DS9/Voy, and can be a bit juvenile at times, with the social/political commentary a bit too on-the-nose compared to the more nuanced approach of TNG/DS9/Voy, but I will take what I can get at this point. Even with all its faults, Orville is still optimistic, brightly lit, not riddled with melodrama and over-the-top action-packed CGI, and the main characters are actually likeable (what a novel concept!)... so as far as I'm concerned, it's the the best new Star Trek show currently on TV. ;)

          2 votes
      2. kodystriplin
        Link Parent
        Haha, I was trying to temper my opinion but I completely agree. I would kill for a single new EPISODE of Star Trek that traded shiny CGI and intense shootouts for the TNG-era worldbuilding that...

        Haha, I was trying to temper my opinion but I completely agree. I would kill for a single new EPISODE of Star Trek that traded shiny CGI and intense shootouts for the TNG-era worldbuilding that still blows my mind.

        The Expanse and The Orville are the only shows that have really scratched that itch for me.

        2 votes
    2. ainar-g
      Link Parent
      It's just a “funny video”, but this is just… painful. I've heard people on the Internet saying that Orville, technically a Star Trek parody, is a better Star Trek series than Discovery.

      It's just a “funny video”, but this is just… painful. I've heard people on the Internet saying that Orville, technically a Star Trek parody, is a better Star Trek series than Discovery.

      4 votes
    3. [2]
      escher
      Link Parent
      Voyager is in this weird spot of being the worst of the old shows but having some of the best episodes out of all of them.

      Voyager is in this weird spot of being the worst of the old shows but having some of the best episodes out of all of them.

      1 vote
      1. kodystriplin
        Link Parent
        I totally agree. Yet I'd still watch Voyager over anything made post-DS9 any day.

        I totally agree. Yet I'd still watch Voyager over anything made post-DS9 any day.

        1 vote
  5. [2]
    mat
    (edited )
    Link
    Life on Mars, although that was more a transatlantic transplant than a remake. The original is excellent though. The Prisoner remake was painful and the original is a rock solid classic. The...

    Life on Mars, although that was more a transatlantic transplant than a remake. The original is excellent though.

    The Prisoner remake was painful and the original is a rock solid classic.

    The Avengers (not that one) remake in the 80s was OK but not a patch on the original. In no small part due to the lack of Diana Rigg.

    The Charmed remake was fairly awful. The original is OK but it ran a bit too long.

    There was a remake of obscure UK kid's show The Tomorrow People which, even though the original was pretty weak (although fun enough in parts), the CW managed to utterly screw the pooch on and made something really dreadful.

    I didn't really enjoy the remake of The Tick, although some people did, but the original was great.

    I never really saw the original Macgyver or Magnum PI but the remakes were so bad there's no way the originals can't be better.

    Oh, and just one more thing... I'd like to pre-emptively bet that if the rumoured remake of Colombo goes ahead, it's going to suck.

    3 votes
    1. envy
      Link Parent
      I just started watching this, based on your recommendation. It really is fascinating.

      Life on Mars

      I just started watching this, based on your recommendation. It really is fascinating.

      2 votes
  6. Douglas
    Link
    The X-Files: Not really a remake, but it felt very... tired for a continuation of the original. The audiobooks were fun to listen to, but just silly. The Odd Couple: The original show wasn't...
    • The X-Files: Not really a remake, but it felt very... tired for a continuation of the original. The audiobooks were fun to listen to, but just silly.
    • The Odd Couple: The original show wasn't great, but watching it back-to-back with the remake made it feel golden by comparison. Thomas Lennon just felt like Niles without Frasier, and it literally broke the fourth wall in that it showed you the side of the set where the "live" audience should've been.
    2 votes
  7. [3]
    mrbig
    Link
    1980s Tinker Soldier Spy is vastly superior to the 2011 movie with Dustin Hoffman.

    1980s Tinker Soldier Spy is vastly superior to the 2011 movie with Dustin Hoffman.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      envy
      Link Parent
      Thanks, I was hoping I might get a recommendation I hadn't already seen.

      Thanks, I was hoping I might get a recommendation I hadn't already seen.

      2 votes
      1. mrbig
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Oh, 1980s Tinker Soldier Spy is nothing short of a masterpiece, and it has the great advantage of a story that can actually be understood for those that pay attention (while remaining extremely...

        Oh, 1980s Tinker Soldier Spy is nothing short of a masterpiece, and it has the great advantage of a story that can actually be understood for those that pay attention (while remaining extremely mysterious). It also aged very well — just give some time to get in the mood.

        And Alec Guinness's performance is simply marvelous.

        Just a heads up: the portions of the first episode without subtitles are meant to be that way, that is how the show was broadcast. Further episodes will provide relevant information.

        If you like smart spy thrillers, you'll most certainly enjoy this one.

        If that's your cup of tea, this thread had some wonderful recommendations for spy shows.

        1 vote
  8. [4]
    Liru
    Link
    I'd like to turn the question around: what remakes are better than the original series?

    I'd like to turn the question around: what remakes are better than the original series?

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      envy
      Link Parent
      Maybe a separate post would be best?

      Maybe a separate post would be best?

      6 votes
      1. Liru
        Link Parent
        I was debating that, but decided that just a sub-thread could be good enough. Viewing it from a more casual user's point of view, I don't think I'd want to see a separate topic discussing the...

        I was debating that, but decided that just a sub-thread could be good enough. Viewing it from a more casual user's point of view, I don't think I'd want to see a separate topic discussing the exact opposite question of one that's already on the front page.

        1 vote
    2. envy
      Link Parent
      @Algernon_Asimov recommended The Orville as being just as good as the original Star Trek. After watching the show, I tend to agree.

      @Algernon_Asimov recommended The Orville as being just as good as the original Star Trek. After watching the show, I tend to agree.

      5 votes