Despite something of a critical bollocking, Dwayne Johnson’s tongue-in-cheek Baywatch reboot is set to take on a huge portion of the summer box office takings.
And considering that it’s very much following in the footsteps of similar cult TV reboot success stories like 21 Jump Street, it proves that there’s definitely a market for all those other giants of the small screen, quietly waiting in the wings, ready to take that final big leap into blockbuster territory. In fact, there’s so many of these already in active development, that this feature got more and more difficult to research as it went along, with all of the best ideas seemingly already snatched up.
So, from that other well-known Hasselhoff project, to some straight-up risky bids, here’s a collection of potential big money reboots that we could see happening just about any day now.
Chances are, some executive somewhere is literally reading a script for a Hollywood reboot of this classic Hoff vehicle as we speak. There’s already been numerous follow-ons, from a post-apocalyptic mid-90s TV movie (set in the far-off dystopia of 2010), to the short-lived 2008 mini-series of the same name, but we’re still yet to see an update that does the cheesy 80s detective drama justice. And in a post-Baywatch movie world, why the hell not.
To those still somehow unaware of its set-up, Knight Rider saw a pre-beach body Hoff tackling the forces of evil alongside a hyper-intelligent (and practically indestructible) robot car called K.I.T.T., that, aside from pretty much doing most of the criminal-catching legwork, could speak and sling a one-liner faster than any able-bodied action hero could ever muster too.
If that’s not a great set-up for another self-mocking comedy right there, I don’t know what is. You could even cast Dwayne Johnson again and set up a whole Hasselhoff-centric cinematic universe. With the right script and voice talent, it could be the next big thing.
Cagney & Lacey
On a totally different, much more progressive note – Cagney & Lacey is the ultimate reboot-waiting-to-happen. With plans already in place for a female-lead Jump Street spin-off, and news hitting even just this week of an apparent Rihanna/Lupita Nyong’o buddy movie, female-focussed cop dramas are inches away from becoming all the rage. So why not give a nod to the 80s TV show that arguably got the ball running all those years ago?
All it takes is the right pairing and a slightly more driven plot than the likes of the otherwise hugely successful The Heat, and we could be onto another winner. It will probably have to beat those other rival projects past the post though, so a quick development is key.
Xena: Warrior Princess
Because there’s only so many buddy cop-comedies the market can manage, why not give new life to a totally different beloved female icon of the 90s instead? No, not Buffy (one exceptional case of a cult TV reboot being a terrible idea). Originally a spin-off of the Sam Raimi-produced, live-action Hercules series, Xena: Warrior Princess developed a totally insane cult following of its own, running for 6 Emmy-award-winning seasons and even earning its star, Lucy Lawless, one of the most memorable Simpsons cameos to date.
Especially with Wonder Woman set to open the door for a totally new breed of female warrior, a Xena movie could be a clever move for a studio looking to find their own way into the new-look swords-and-sandals trend. The lacklustre performance of the last several Hercules movies probably won’t do it any good, but considering just how much the original show totally outshone its male counterpart, there’s nothing stopping the Hollywood movie equivalent doing the exact same.
Albeit a bit of a bold choice, one 80s TV “classic” that could benefit massively from even just a mid-budget movie update, is the bonkers sci-fi drama Airwolf. Starring Rick & Morty fan favourite Jan-Michael Vincent in the midst of his short-lived heyday, it’s very broadly about an expert pilot’s adventures with his ultra-advanced black ops helicopter, pulling off some of the most insane and unusual aerial manoeuvres and dogfights imaginable.
There’s no ignoring the fact that t’s super silly and there’d need to be a lot retooling to the old-school cheesy plotting, but the very basic central idea definitely has a lot of potential.
And finally, an extremely recent piece of cult TV; Fringe was always so much bigger than the dwindling platform Fox gave it on the small-screen. Even though it only ended a handful of years ago in 2013, there’s so much room to give it a second-life (and hopefully an even more impressive run) at the movies.
Dealing with some of the densest and most exciting alternate-reality science-fiction, it not only had all the right characters, but all the right writers too, spearheaded by Hollywood hero J.J. Abrams and his then Bad Robot cohorts Alex Kurtzman (who directed the new Mummy) and Roberto Orci (who wrote Star Trek its sequel, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2).
Hell, if a big-money movie follow-up seems like too weird an idea so soon, Abrams and his team could even just chop and change the show’s best bits and muddle them into their growing Cloverfield universe somewhere instead. Either way, it would be great to see more of Fringe, no matter the capacity.