TV and Film Draw Profit from the Past

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Over the course of the last few years, pop culture has centered on nostalgia, as classic movies and television shows have been remade or rebooted in order to draw in fans both old and new.

Game shows of years past, such as the “$100,000 Pyramid” and “Match Game,” returned this summer for one season each. Hosted by Rich DiPirro and Alec Baldwin respectively, these reboots aired during primetime, taking the place of contemporary shows on ABC. Both shows featured celebrities as contestants, including TV personalities Martha Stewart and Rosie O’Donnell.

Popular streaming service Netflix has capitalized upon media consumers’ seeming obsession with the old, and has uploaded entire seasons of long-since-retired sitcoms like “Roseanne” and “Friends,” as well as classic movies such as 1984’s “Footloose” and Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster, “Jaws.”  

Last February, Netflix released a reboot of the sitcom “Full House” – which aired the last episode of its original run in 1995 – with “Fuller House,” and debuted the new series “Stranger Things” this summer.

“Fuller House” takes place roughly twenty years after “Full House,” and follows the story of D.J. and Stephanie Tanner and Kimmy Gibbler as they face the challenges of raising kids of their own. Throughout the show, actors from the original show – including Bob Saget, John Stamos and Dave Coulier – make appearances to remind viewers of the "good old days."  

Like “Fuller House,” “Stranger Things” has found popularity by appealing to the viewers’ sense of nostalgia. Although “Stranger Things” is not a reboot of an existing franchise, it is an original show that pays homage to the pop culture of the past in both subtle and explicit ways. Taking place during the 1980s in the town of Hawkins, Indiana, “Stranger Things” follows a group of children attempting to find a friend who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Each episode of the series references iconic 1980s horror films, including “Predator,” “Poltergeist” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”

“‘Stranger Things' is incredible. Its ability to tell a story while incorporating so many other iconic movies makes it enjoyable,” said sophomore Braden Bock.  

Nostalgia has also taken over the silver screen: remakes of “Poltergeist” and “Carrie” were box office hits when they were released in 2015 and 2013, respectfully.  

“My mother’s name is Carol Anne, and she was a teenager when the first ‘Poltergeist’ came out,” said sophomore Madeleine Ryan about her affinity for the remake. “My name is Maddie, I’m a teenager, and the girl in the new one’s name is Maddie.”

Other horror film reboots are on the way: new versions of “Friday the 13th” and Stephen King’s “It” are both scheduled for release sometime in 2017.

The 1984 comedy “Ghostbusters” was also rebooted earlier in the year. The Paul Feig-directed film stars an all-female team of supernatural exterminators, in direct contrast to the original’s male-centric cast – a fact that has generated controversy amongst fans of the original movie. Most, however, view the casting decision to be the right one:

“I really liked it, I would watch it again. I think the roles being played by women is definitely a step-forward – it’s something different,” said sophomore Fiona Connell.

2016’s entertainment industry has focused upon the old when releasing new material, and has largely been met with success. Whether through the jokes of Alec Baldwin on the re-vamped “Match Game,” or a recent trip to the theater to catch the latest rendition of one’s favorite ‘80s horror film, viewers are falling in love with their favorite classics all over again.