The premiere of ABC’s “V” — and TV’s mostly woeful track record for updating beloved TV series — has us taking a closer look this week at “classic” TV series that just might be able to make a comeback, if done correctly.
Monday, we took a look at “Greatest American Hero,” “WKRP in Cincinnati” and “Small Wonder.” Tuesday, it was “Hart to Hart” and “Vega$'” turn. Wednesday, “Forever Knight” and “Daria.” Next up …
“Magnum P.I.” (1980)
Original: Former Navy Seal Thomas Magnum lives rent-free on the Hawaii estate of wealthy author Robin Masters and gets unlimited use of the owner’s Ferrari 308GTS. Though caretaker Higgins regards Magnum as a freeloader, the handsome hero is an active private investigator who spends his time solving crimes and romancing the local bikini-clad ladies. Along for the ride are two of Magnum’s buddies from the Vietnam conflict, helicopter pilot TC and club owner Rick.
Reboot: Former Navy Seal Thomas Magnum still enjoys most of the benefits of his predecessor (free rent), though the car is now an Audi R8 Spider convertible. Caretaker Higgins, himself a former agent of MI6, utilizes his skills and resources to take a more active role in assisting Magnum with solving cases. Rick is less smarmy and more useful than in the original. TC is now a hot Asian chick. Possibly gay. Or is that too much diversity for one character?
Recast: Jason O’Mara (“Life on Mars”) as Thomas Magnum. Ian McShane (“Kings”) as Higgins. Nicholas Brendon (“Kitchen Confidential”) as Rick. Kelly Hu (“X2”) as TC.
“The Famous Teddy Z” (1989)
Original: Teddy Zakalokis dreams of escaping the family business (a Greek bakery) and of being a big shot Hollywood agent. Unfortunately, he’s stuck at the bottom of the Tinseltown ladder–working in the mail room. Even his fellow mail room employees snub him, including his crush Laurie Parr. This all changes when Teddy gets in a fistfight with the agency’s biggest star, Harland Keyvo. Keyvo is so impressed with the youngster’s cojones he makes Teddy his agent. Teddy is suddenly thrust into the fast paced world of industry sleazebags and discovers it’s not quite everything he’d dreamed of.
Reboot: “Entourage” meets “Ugly Betty” and “The Player” with a little of “The Loop” thrown in. Teddy finds himself as the agent for big name but slightly off-kilter leading man Chase Duvall. Laurie Parr is now the assistant to an agent resentful of Teddy’s quick rise. She has aspirations of her own and is a combination of friend, rival, crush and confidant; something like Joan on “Med Men.” Teddy’s never sure where he stands and if she’s aiding him or undermining him. (It’s a little of both, whichever benefits her the most.) This satire is more dark humor than broad comedy, with the titular Teddy Z frequently beat down and humiliated by the industry he steadfastly adores and admires.
Recast: Seth Gabel (“Dirty Sexy Money”) as Teddy Z. Rachelle Lefevre (“Twilight”) as Laurie Parr. Scott Speedman (“Felicity”) as Chase Duvall. Samm Levine (“Freaks and Geeks”) as the rival agent.
We’re not saying we saved the best for last, but our series concludes Friday with our updates of “Bosom Buddies,” “Manimal” and “Misfits of Science.”