As we’ve discovered in recent years, not every show from the past is meant to be remade. Sometimes a series just catches lightning in a bottle, and will never reach those heights again. For example, Charlie’s Angels worked in the ‘70s because those first four actresses had special chemistry. Despite this obvious fact, TV producers keep trying to remake the hits. With that in mind, we’ve got some Black TV favorites that we think would fit great in today’s television landscape. Here are the 10 shows we want to see rebooted or revived.
Those last two seasons of Empire were a mess. Then COVID-19 hit, leading to the show never getting a proper ending. FOX needs to give it the Dexter treatment, and bring it back for one last season that captures the magic of Season 1. Even better, follow Will & Grace and The Conners, both of which just ignored their lackluster finales, picking up the new series like nothing happened. Get the gang back together, then just pick up the story from the end of Season 3.
This is one of those shows that only works with this specific cast, so new people can move into the building to shake things up, but we still need Marla Gibbs and Jackée Harry. If you go back and watch 227, it still holds up ok. That’s not something a lot of ‘80s sitcoms can claim. Mary and Sandra can still be hanging out on the stoop gossiping about the tenants, while waiting for a special visit from Mary’s successful daughter Brenda, who makes a few guest appearances.
The Golden Girls
Here us out. This awesome idea is courtesy of my colleague Shanelle Genai. An all Black Golden Girls starring the legendary Loretta Devine, Jenifer Lewis, who is definitely Blanche, Dionne Warwick and Marla Gibbs. Four older Black women, who have seen some things, and kept their bond all these years would be a fascinating watch. TV needs more content for Black women of a certain age. I love everything about this and really want it to be a real show.
Roc was so ahead of its time. After starting as a traditional sitcom, it pivoted to delivering live performances each week, incorporating current events into the story. It also used comedy to tackle hard issues like poverty, race and drug addiction. A new Roc could be like a live anthology with four new amazing leads every few episodes. There’s so many talented Black actors who could be stars in this format.
The Famous Jett Jackson
The premise of The Famous Jett Jackson is tailor-made for a world where superhero movies are the norm. Jett Jackson was a young actor who wanted a normal life, so he had production for his action series moved to his hometown, with the line between reality and the Silverstone show sometimes blurred. In a modern day Jett Jackson, he can be a real superhero, masquerading as a fictional superhero. The tragic death of lead Lee Thompson Young has likely kept Disney from remaking this, but if they acknowledge the original, this show is perfect for Disney+.
Young Sheldon is one of the most popular shows on TV. It consistently gets decent ratings, and CBS gave it a three season renewal, which is unheard of for scripted programs. Part of that success is due to The Big Bang Theory connection, but also, people think this kid genius is funny. With that in mind, Smart Guy would be an ideal alternative. Find a new adorable kid to play the genius and bring back Tahj Mowry to be his teacher/mentor T.J.
One on One
Since this was all inspired by Bel-Air, we had to have at least one comedy turned drama. One on One follows Breanna (Kyla Pratt) as she moves in with her dad Flex (Flex Alexander), a former NBA player turned sportscaster. The story is rife with drama, as the two don’t really know each other, and now Breanna is forced to adjust to a new life while dealing with her confrmed bachelor dad.
In Living Color
In Living Color was the Black sketch comedy alternative to Saturday Night Live. We don’t even have space to list all the stars that came from the show. SNL may have found a new life in the last few seasons, but it’s still never learned how to talk about race. It also has a nearly 50 year format that hasn’t changed. A new In Living Color could introduce everyone to a fresh crop of comedians with something interesting to say. Surely, there are a whole new generation of Wayans just waiting in the wings.
This classic needs an update, if for no other reason that I need to see what Max and Kyle are up to. My brilliant colleague Shanelle Genai suggested that we get the daughters and nieces of the four main characters, with them just stopping by for occasional visits. This would work great since some things about dating haven’t changed, while some clearly have. Khadijah and Synclaire’s reactions to online dating or sexting would be priceless.
A Different World
If ever TV needed a vibrant celebration of HBCU life, the time is now. While that is happening on All American: Homecoming, comedies are always able to tell stories that dramas can’t, because viewers are disarmed by the humor. This is the easiest one to reboot, as you just need a couple of original cast members to lead a new crop of Hillman students. There’s one caveat, Whitley and Dwayne must still be together. Even if they’re not on the show, they should be off living happily ever after.