Television reboots are all the rage mostly because the entertainment industry prefers name recognition over original ideas. But there are some properties that truly deserve a re-look because they didn’t quite achieve their goal the first time around or they were cut short.
What Is It? This Saturday morning live action series from the 70’s followed the Marshall family (Rick, Will, and Holly) who fall through an inter-dimensional portal and enter into the closed universe known as the “Land of the Lost” populated by dinosaurs, the lizard-like Sleestak, the monkey-like Pakuni, and more.
When Did It Originally Air? NBC Saturday Mornings 1974-76, 3 Seasons Totaling 43 Episodes
Credits of Note: David Gerrold (Co-Creator / Showrunner), Sid and Marty Krofft (Co-Creators / Executive Producers), Actors: Spencer Milligan, Wesley Eure, Kathy Coleman, Phillip Paley
Where Did The Original Fall Short? A budget far too small for its ambitions, overly-cutesy family-oriented stories, bad acting.
Why Reboot It? Sure, this series was super-cheesy, even for its sfx-challenged era (though they did do a bang up job on the dinosaur stop motion). It also had plenty of cutsey and/or angsty family stories, and sometimes you just wanted to put a muzzle on the ever-whining Holly. But Star Trek veteran David Gerrold had been brought onboard early to flesh out the mythology of the Land of the Lost and also to establish an over-arching theme for the series. And he did just that which became the strength of the series and helped it rise above being just another kids’ show on Saturdays. The pylons that tied together and controlled the land, the tragic history or the Sleestak, the many visitors that passed through this universe all made for some interesting stories and a nice break from the family-centric episodes. Plus, Gerrold brought science fiction writers such as Larry Niven, Norman Spinrad, Ben Bova, and more into the fold to pen some to the episodes. So at a time when genre entries were sparse on the Prime Time schedule, this show offered a respite for sci fi-starved viewers.
The base that Gerrald established for the show is what a reboot should key upon, and it should follow as closely as possible to that. This could give us everything that 2011’s Terra Nova promised but failed to deliver on. The family drama should be played down because that’s not what the sci fi audience wants, but it doesn’t have to be completely dropped. And they should do something different with the Holly character, or completely change up the family dynamic. But with today’s technology, much of what the original strove for but fell short of could be accomplished with a reboot. The core premise is there and it has plenty of meat that could carry the show for several seasons. Done well, this is the type of series people are looking for these days and it could be carried off successfully with the right production team in place (perhaps bring Gerrald back) and with good casting.
Tried It Before: This show was actually rebooted in the 90’s for a Saturday morning run that lasted for two seasons totaling twenty-six episodes. It lacked the retro-charm of the original, though, and has since mostly faded into TV Oblivion. And the less said about the 2009 big screen revival starring Will Ferrell, the better.
Watch it Online: The entire series is available online at YouTube at this link if you want to give it a look for the first time or revisit past memories. You can watch the first episode here.