With so many hit TV shows running up against each other, it appears that networks are realising that to reach the top of the ratings they need to bring something new and different to the small screen – by bringing back the old.
The second half of 2012 has seen the emergence of nostalgic shows such as Puberty Blues, Dallas, Young Talent Time, Prisoner, Melrose Place and even news of the Brady Bunch being remade in the USA, but it makes you ask why are they bringing back the classics? Is it that the current shows are being marketed to teens and young adults, and aren’t capturing that older audience at the same time? Or are networks predicting the end of the talent show era?
The first answer lies in the fact that since the launch of Australian Idol in 2003, talent shows have not only featured on our screens, but dominated them. This year alone has seen X Factor, The Voice, I Will Survive, Australia’s Got Talent and Everybody Dance Now (to name a few) and Australians are in need of a change. With the cancellation of Everybody Dance Now, and I Will Survive’s poor ratings, it is obvious that viewers are wanting variety; and networks think that nostalgia is the answer.
And they’re definitely onto something. Take Puberty Blues for example. It was a hit film back in the early 80’s when today’s older generation either grew up watching what they would go through in their teenage years, or grew up in time with the girls in the film. By bringing it back as a series some decades later, it sparks curiosity in that same older generation as it gives them the opportunity to relive their teenage years by triggering that nostalgic feeling, while for todays teens it gives them the opportunity to see what it was like in that era and grow up with those same girls again as the generation before did. It reaches a far broader audience than other shows have the ability to appeal to.
Likewise, there is so much content being brought in from around the world, whether it is the actual show or just the formatting. But they aren’t necessarily hitting our screens as fast as people like, and as a result, are being downloaded before reaching our shores. By bringing back the old classics and playing with the element of nostalgia, it removes the chances of shows being downloaded before they air and forces viewers to instead tune in when they air for the first time, bringing a fresh element to the screens.
These shows are being brought back for a reason – they were a hit in their heyday, so why wouldn’t they be the same today? The networks bringing them back need to be careful, though. There is a risk in trying to successfully remake something that was loved by so many people, just as much as there is a risk of flooding the market with remakes as has been done with talent shows.