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Who owns the show?

Everything old is becoming new again.  This fall, there will be more “reboots” of old shows for fans to enjoy.  Reactions have ranged from excitement to horror, anger to mild dismay.

One of my personal favourites, Murphy Brown, is returning with a nearly completely original cast.  Phil the bartender and Eldin the painter will be absent due to the actors’ deaths.  But everyone else is now thirty years older, making this The Golden Girls of CNN.  And while a news staff of senior citizens may have some cheering, it could get “old” fast.

Buffy fans were momentarily elated at the thought of The Vampire Slayer’s return until it was revealed that the original cast would not.  Of course, you might remember there were slayers discovering their powers all around the world as the series ended.  So why go back to the old crew?

Others in the works include Magnum P.I., Frasier, and Alf Charlie’s Angels may return (yet again) with new angels since the originals are either dead or in their 70’s.  And Party of Five is coming to Freeform without Scott Wolf or Neve Campbell.  But in the most truly political twist, instead of being dead, the parents have been deported to Mexico.

However, the re-boot that’s caused the greatest upset is Charmed – a drama about a trio of sisters who are witches fighting evil.  And ironically, the ire is not from the fans, but from its former star.

Holly Marie Combs starred as the middle sister and was incensed that it was be re-written without the original cast.  She claims that it implies they are too old to play the roles now.

Well, Holly, the show was about young women maturing and discovering who they are with these powers.  You’re nearly forty-five.  Grow up already.

She also claims that the new writers are “capitalizing on [the previous team’s] hard work.”  Yes, Holly, they are, as you capitalized on every female actress who came before you.

Combs was also offended that the marketing campaign calls the re-boot “fierce, funny, feminist” – as though the original series was not.  That’s like claiming that “Black Lives Matter” is suggesting that white lives don’t.  Promoting the positive in one thing doesn’t automatically imply the negative in another.

Most of all, while fans will always associate Combs with the show, Charmed does not actually belong to her.  As she’s admitted, she was just part of a team.  Should the writers, editors, directors, costumers, lighting technicians, and make-up artists also be insulted that they weren’t re-hired for the new version too?

The point of the re-boot is to approach a story or concept in a different way, at a different time, or in a different place.  Some might even say that Charmed was a younger re-boot of Bewitched.

Hollywood loves re-interpreting something old.  That’s why there have been seven different 007’s and dozens of adaptations of Romeo and Juliet.

And Charmed was good.  But it was no Shakespeare.