We all love nostalgia. Well, most of us do, anyway (I hope to God we never go through a fashion era like the 2000’s again). However, the newest trend in nostalgia is one that I hope doesn’t have a future. Everything that once was old is becoming new as shows from the past continue to get reboots, taking up space and potentially denying the ability for necessary new content to thrive.
On the surface, reboots seem cool, right? The ability to potentially modernize a cast and crew for the current times, show the progress through life of characters we once grew up with. But in order for there to be a reboot, something either has to go or not ever be created. Most importantly, if television and media have always had this issue of not showing enough stories from various communities, how could reboots help to serve that purpose when their initial existence was part of the problem?
Look no further than Roseanne. A show that should have been left with her raggedy ass real life politics back in the ’90s. But instead, they let the xenophobe come back with a new storyline to terrorize us for weeks until the show’s cancellation, only to be brought back once again without her but with the whole original cast and a few new faces. We have also seen the reboots of Will and Grace and Murphy Brown, with NYPD Blue’s reboot right around the corner.
Truth is, I’m tired.
Now, don’t get me wrong, cause I bought into the hype when they were talking about rebooting our shit, which seemingly hasn’t happened yet — hmmmm… Living Single was in talks as was Martin, and we get Beyonce in The Lion King (which we deserve for all these white reboots taking up space). But many of us were wrong for buying into the hype, and I believe it was Erika Alexander (Maxine Shaw) who made it clear that it’s not time for reboots. It’s time for new content to reflect our times. She is totally right. Reboots have had their day. It’s time to showcase the narratives that have always existed but continued to be blocked.
This next section is for the Blacks and others who do have the power to create some change. START CREATING SOME DAMN CHANGE. This isn’t as much of a call out as much as in CHECK IN. I love seeing what Issa Rae, Michael B. Jordan, Jordan Peele, Lena Waithe, Shonda Rhimes, and others are doing with their access. They are creating shows with characters across sex and gender lines, giving truth to the stories that have always existed but never been told.
As a writer and soon to be author, I’ve seen SO MANY white young adult books become movies. They scoop them up like Skittles during Halloween. Yet, you have so many Black creatives releasing books, making lists, being critically acclaimed and struggling to get optioned. You have folks writing pilots and plays and web shows that struggle to get picked up by markets designated for us, WHILE THE NETWORKS PLAY RERUN, AFTER RERUN, AFTER RERUN. Folks can’t even get an email reply. Social media makes us so interconnected yet the DM that could change a life never comes.
IT SHOULDN’T HAVE TAKEN A WHITE GAY MAN TO GIVE US POSE WHEN BLACK FOLKS HAVE STUDIOS, NETWORKS, AND THEIR OWN TELEVISION CHANNELS. (THIS WAS A CALL OUT LOL)
We have this thing where we claim we want new content but remake the same plays and shows that have been done before with newer casts and light changes and edits. The greats are great for a reason and aren’t going anywhere. However, it is telling when we are afraid to showcase our own greatness from “the mouths of babes” — i.e new creatives who are writing some amazing scripts and shows. Almost every new show that unearths a different view of Blackness and Queerness and otherness has been praised, even by whiteness (who is still the main hater). So why aren’t we investing as much in our new talent as we could? Why are only some opening doors while others stare out the window, only to greet us with open arms should we find a different way in?
Girls Trip should have opened doors for more comedies. Black Panther should have helped greenlight a movie about Storm. Moonlight should have opened the doors for more narratives that touch on subjects of Black masculinity. Reboots are not the answer when there are so many stories we have to tell. Creatives deserve a chance.
It just takes one yes to create visibility and representation where there once was none. A starting point for us to do the actual work needed to break a conditioning that has denied the real existence of people we are only now starting to see on the screen.
It’s time to REBOOT the culture.