Our mission at SAW is to foster conversations about this thing we all love (or love to hate): film/TV. Many of our features are designed with you in mind. Your opinions, to be more to the point. You have ’em. We want to hear ’em.
Question of the Day (QOTD) is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a film/TV-related question that we put to you, the reader. The comments section below is like the feedback box at work; except, in this example, we actually read what you write and care about what you have to say.
This week, I’d like to turn your attention to an area of discussion that I think can generate some interesting discussion: sequels, prequels, and/or spin-offs, specifically in television. There is rarely a sequel series that matches the heights of its predecessor (none come to mind off the top of my head), and spin-offs rarely work (There are more Joeys than there are Frasiers). Every now and then, there’s a sequel series that truly knocks it out of the park and manages to live up to its predecessor (and in some ways surpass, looking at you Better Call Saul).
So the question I ask today is: What television series would you want sequels (or prequels or spin-offs) to?
To get things rolling, I’ll give you my choice: Family Ties (1982-89). Here’s the opening theme song in all its glory:
Family Ties was pitched to NBC as “hip parents, square kids.” The series was heavily based on the cultural and political divide of the 1980s where the younger generation tended to side more conservatively as opposed to the older generation’s more liberal viewpoints. This made for great comedy gold, particularly with breakout star Michael J. Fox. Fox made a grand return to TV a few years ago with The Michael J. Fox Show, a heartwarming family comedy that really managed to find its stride in the nine episodes that never made it to air.
My sequel series to Family Ties is a simple one: you swap the premise: “square parents, hip kids.” We’re currently experiencing something of another cultural divide with the so-called millennial generation. Kids today have more liberal viewpoints and it is the parents who are more conservative. Bring Fox back as Alex P. Keaton and center the show around his offspring and family. What would he think about his daughter going to a Liberal Arts school? What if his son spent his money vicariously? The rest of the Keaton household can make guest appearances to add in some more family conflict/dynamic.
The only thing holding back this idea would be the lack of involvement from Gary David Goldberg, who sadly passed away back in 2013. His creative genius was at the forefront of both Family Ties and his other Fox-led comedy series Spin City. Without Goldberg leading the development process, I doubt that any other creators or writers could manage to capture the spirit of what made Family Ties work. It was a series that took modern issues, presented arguments from both political viewpoints, and then made jokes aimed at both sides. However, the jokes were never cruel or petty, like you might see nowadays on the internet. They were serious, yes, but lighthearted and actually funny. Both viewpoints could laugh it off and move on.
I’d watch a sequel Family Ties series in a heartbeat if someone was able to capture the essence of the original series in a bottle and update it for the 21st century.
So what about you, folks? What are some TV shows you’d like to see continuations of?
I’ll see you in the trenches.