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Reboot this: Classic TV shows we'd like to see remade

January 14, 2012 |  3:14 pm

All in the family reboot
The mania for remaking classic (and sometimes not-so-classic) television shows continues to pick up speed. In recent years, series such as “Hawaii Five-O,” “Beverly Hills 90210” and “Battlestar Galactica” have been successfully revamped for the small screen; others, such as “The Bionic Woman” and “Charlie’s Angels,” quickly bit the dust.

That hasn’t stopped networks from ransacking the past for ideas, however. So many old shows are either in production or development for coming seasons — “Dallas,” “The Munsters,” “Bewitched,” “The Rifleman,” “In Living Color” — that the L.A. Times TV staff decided to imagine creative ways to reimagine and reboot some beloved series.

What shows would you bring back to life? Offer your own dream reboots in the comments.

The Waltons 2012

ORIGINAL: Close-knit extended family grapples with Great Depression.

UPDATE: Close-knit extended family grapples with Great Recession.

SPECIAL TWIST: John-Boy supplements his blogging income by running a meth lab.

DREAM CAST: Michael Cera (John-Boy), Jack Black (John Walton Sr.), Ian McKellen (Grandpa)

SAMPLE EPISODE: In a very special “Waltons 2012,” John-Boy is skeptical of a mysterious preacher (Al Sharpton) who entrances the residents of Walton’s Mountain. Meanwhile, Grandma (Ellen Burstyn) tries to hide her addiction to prescription meds.

All in the Family

ORIGINAL: Archie Bunker is a working-class stiff in constant conflict with his hippie daughter and son-in-law, forced to face changing attitudes about race and gender.

UPDATE: Archie Bunker is a working-class stiff and faithful member of the tea party in constant conflict with his Occupy Wall Street activist son, his daughter-in-law the lefty blogger/locavore, and his wife Edith, who teaches literacy to illegal immigrants. After a local man-in-the-street news crew gets treated to one of Archie’s rants, a conservative news network offers him his own talk show.

SPECIAL TWIST: Political issues are ripped from the headlines.

DREAM CAST: Woody Harrelson (as Archie); Janeane Garofalo (as Edith); Ryan Gosling (as the son) and Ellen Page (as his wife). John Goodman guest stars as Archie’s boss, a conservative media kingmaker.

SAMPLE EPISODE: Archie is enraged when he comes home after a long day at the studio to find the house swarming with Ethiopian refugees whom Edith has brought home to help launch their daughter's hemp-cupcake business.

Shield THIS!

[formerly “The Shield”]

ORIGINAL: Renegade police detective Vic Mackey is one of the LAPD’s most effective forces. He’s also one of the most dangerous, using unethical methods to trap criminals and anyone who gets in his way. Eventually, his illegal deeds catch up to him, and he is demoted to a lowly desk job.

UPDATE: Mackey’s fortunes have grown dim — he’s now a crossing guard at an elementary school. But he’s given a chance to redeem himself when the school district, troubled by an outbreak of criminal activity at an inner-city high school, hires him to go undercover as a phys-ed instructor. The trouble is, the young perpetrators are just as crafty as the thugs Mackey used to battle on the force, and he must try to restrain himself from knocking heads together.

DREAM CAST: Michael Chiklis (revisiting his role as Mackey), Gabe Kaplan (as Principal Kotter), Zac Efron (as the high-school gang ringleader)

SAMPLE EPISODE: Mackey fills in as a substitute football coach when the regular coach falls ill, but winds up out of bounds when he discovers a locker room drug ring.

Little Loft on Prairie Ave.

[Formerly  “Little House on the Prairie”]

ORIGINAL: A traditional family experiences the hardships and joys of life on the American frontier.

UPDATE: A modern family experiences the hardships and joys of life on the frontier of urban revitalization.

SPECIAL TWIST: As part of the deal he made with the co-op board, Pa provides free fiddle lessons for all the toddlers in the building, providing a backdrop for big musical numbers featuring Laura and Mary.

DREAM CAST: China Anne McClain (Laura), Selena Gomez (Mary), Don Cheadle (Pa) and Sofia Vergara (Ma).

SAMPLE EPISODE: In defiance of the Olsen development company, the Ingalls help their neighbor Mr. Edwards (Lin-Manuel Miranda) save his family-run head shop.

Captain Kangaroo

ORIGINAL: Kindly grandpa type bustles about his Treasure House with puppet friends Bunny Rabbit, Mr. Moose.

UPDATE: Captain Kangaroo is an actual kangaroo, Bunny Rabbit a rabbit, Mr. Moose a moose.

SPECIAL TWIST: Webcams in Treasure House go 24/7.

DREAM CAST: A kangaroo, a rabbit and a moose, Martha Stewart (Mr. Green Jeans).

SAMPLE EPISODE: Moose eats all the crayons, ruining crafts time; kangaroo’s attempt to read aloud from “Make Way for Ducklings” comes to nothing.

ER 2012

ORIGINAL: Chicago hospital staff confronts crises in a busy emergency room.

UPDATE: Chicago hospital staff confronts endless paperwork in byzantine healthcare maze.

SPECIAL TWIST: Viewers can tweet their own healthcare nightmares for future episodes.

DREAM CAST: James Franco (Dr. Ross), Lindsay Lohan (Dr. Lewis).

SAMPLE EPISODE: The doctors rush to treat a patient (special guest star Michael Vick) who sustains massive crush injuries after a tower of insurance claim forms topples on him. Meanwhile, Dr. Lewis (Lindsay Lohan) tries to hide her addiction to prescription meds.

Once Upon a Thirtysomething

[Formerly "Thirtysomething"]

ORIGINAL: A group of yuppies navigate life and love in their late 30s

UPDATE: A group of yuppie Disney characters navigate life and love in their early 30s in New York City.


DREAM CAST: Jonathan Taylor Thomas (a human-version of Simba), Hilary Duff (Cinderella),  Macaulay Culkin (Lumier); and because Kris Jenner will be president of every network by this point: Kim Kardashian (Princess Jasmine),

SAMPLE EPISODE: Simba and Nala (Michelle Trachtenburg) struggle to find a suitable daycare for their daughter Janey because she likes to lick herself; and Lumier and pal Adam Beast (Ryan Reynolds) decide to launch an e-book publishing company, much to the dismay of Belle (Katie Holmes).

Manny and the Professor

[Formerly "Nanny and the Professor"]

ORIGINAL: A possibly magical and positively adorable British nanny shows up to help an absent-minded single dad control his mischievous kids.

UPDATE: A possibly magical and totally hip Irish nanny shows up to help an overly-committed British single mom control her technology-addicted kids.

SPECIAL TWIST: Whenever the Manny wants to get the kids, or their mom, off their screens and out into the real world, he simply snaps his fingers and their modem goes down.

DREAM CAST: Aiden Turner (the Manny), Emma Thompson (the Professor) and assorted kids from the first “Nanny McPhee” movie as the kids.

SAMPLE EPISODE: When the Manny cannot get his charges to stop playing “Left for Dead 2,” he enlists the aid of his friend George (Russell Tovey), who is an actual zombie.


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-- Scott Collins, Mary McNamara, Joy Press, Greg Braxton Yvonne Villarreal and Robert Lloyd