Encore! TV does it again with planned 'Full House' revival
NEW YORK (AP) — As TV networks plunder the recycling bin for old shows to revive, "Full House" must have been the final scrap at the bottom of the barrel.
Or so it would seem to those gobsmacked by news that Netflix is resuscitating the 1987-95 ABC sitcom — which, even for fans, is tenderly remembered as ephemeral fluff — for 13 new episodes revisiting the Tanners of San Francisco and re-titled "Fuller House."
As the "Full House" theme song posed jauntily, "Whatever happened to predictability — the milkman, the paperboy, evening TV?"
These days, "evening TV" is gloriously unpredictable in many quarters ("Louie," ''Game of Thrones," ''Mad Men" and Netflix's own "Orange Is the New Black," to name a bare handful).
But at the same time, television programmers are heeding the echo chamber's siren call, breathing new life (or trying) into old TV concepts refashioned as new.
Two years ago, Netflix revived the offbeat comedy "Arrested Development," which Fox had canceled eight years earlier.
CBS is in its fifth season of the updated "Hawaii Five-O," whose original CBS version left the air in 1980.
Last fall, TNT canceled "Dallas" after three seasons — and two decades after the original "Dallas" ended a 14-season run on CBS.
Let's not forget "The Odd Couple," which premiered in February on CBS. Starring Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon as the mismatched flat-mates, it is based on the 1968 film, which was based on the 1965 Broadway comedy, which inspired the long-running 1970 ABC sitcom (starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall) as well as the 1982 ABC flop featuring an African-American odd couple (played by Demond Wilson and Ron Glass).
And now let's look ahead:
— A reboot of the 1990-91 ABC thriller "Twin Peaks," set for 2016, was announced last fall by Showtime with co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost back on board for a new round of eeriness. Earlier this month, Lynch said he was exiting the project, but Showtime expressed hopes of salvaging the series with both principals participating.
— NBC is game for a new round of the 1989-97 sitcom "Coach." The network has ordered 13 episodes of what it is pointedly calling a "sequel," not a revival or, um, rip-off of the ABC original, with Craig T. Nelson again starring as Hayden Fox, former head coach of a college football team and now assistant coach to his grown son, who's the new head coach at an Ivy League school.
— MTV2 announced last week that it has ordered a pilot for the resurrection of "Celebrity Death Match," the ultimate-fighting spoof that pits animated effigies of stars against each other. The series originally aired on MTV from 1998 to 2002, then returned to MTV2 in 2005 for two more seasons, with such puppet face-offs as Ice Cube against Ice-T and Hillary Rodham Clinton vs. Monica Lewinsky.
— And don't forget "The X-Files," which will bring back agents Mulder and Scully (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson) after a dozen years' absence from the Fox airwaves for six new episodes set to air on Fox this summer. Will the truth still be out there?
It's worth remembering that "The X-Files" was a rarity when it premiered in 1993. It explored the occult, the paranormal and extraterrestrial life, as well as delving into the public's fear of science and technology, of government and themselves. It was a very long shot. But it caught on big and ran nine seasons and spawned two feature films.
Of course, by now it's an established part of TV history and pop culture, not to mention comfortably familiar. Whatever happened to predictability? No wonder it's among the TV shows poised for a comeback.
EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore