random: condemned to repeat it
Anyone else sick of all the remakes, covers, re-imaginings, etc.? To go off on a slightly* geeky tangent, in the X-Men and Alpha Flight comic from 1986, the trickster god was offering mankind the opportunity to become like gods. One of the prices was that they would lose the ability to create anything new. I can’t help but find similarities to today’s culture. People in the entertainment industry are wildly successful, but that success is built upon essentially copying your neighbor’s answers or buying an old term paper.
Two things triggered this the other day: I was listening to one of my favorite online radio stations and I heard the Freemasons’ mix of “Uninvited” by Alanis Morissette. The original song was 1: perfectly fine and 2: isn’t the sort of thing you listen to and think, “You know what would improve this song? More cowb– BPM!” The same day I read about ABC’s plans to bring back “Cupid”:
ABC had been kicking around ideas with Rob Thomas, the original series creator who had gone on to other projects like “Veronica Mars.” The network executives said they were thinking about something like “Cupid,” when the light bulb went on over their heads: Why not just do “Cupid” again?
If that’s what a network executive considers a “light bulb idea,” it goes a long way towards explaining a lot of television today. Anyhoo, I’ll be over here sitting in my rocking chair ranting away at how “you crazy kids” don’t know anything about how good it was back in the day. I just miss the days when the entertainment industry created new stuff instead of just digging up old content and defiling its corpse. Ok, crazy old man rant over now.
* Shut up.
Y’know, [ABC] is doing a V reboot 🙂
I don’t mind the music covers so much, especially when the remake is a completely different musical interpretation. It would explain why a sizable chunk of my iTunes library is a collection of cover songs.
I’m less forgiving, perhaps to the point of revealing my own hypocrisy, when it comes to movies and to a lesser extent television shows. When Disney started remaking its movies in the mid-to-late 1990s, the first thought that came to mind was, “Really?” It then became a habit for them: That Darn Cat, the Shaggy Dog, 101 Dalmatians, the Parent Trap, and so on. And I’m not entirely clear if the forthcoming Witch Mountain movie is a remake or a sequel. And don’t get me started on those unnecessary animated direct-to-home-video sequels.
When ABC first announced they were bringing back Cupid without actually saying they were bringing it back, I thought, “Wait, didn’t they try this one already and it failed miserably?” I had to (A) rewind the video on my TiVo to be sure I heard it right and (B) look it up on IMDB. (That ABC is owned by Disney is not lost on me, and frankly I’ve never been happy about that acquisition.)
I’ll admit there’s something to be said for wanting to make a classic story accessible to a modern audience, but it seems to fail more often than not on the big and small screens.
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Let me know when they re-make “Green Acres.”
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@Esprix: “Green Acres” – too smart city dweller wanting to go rustic, far too fabulous wife who remains fabulous despite her surroundings, and a town full of characters who drive the smart guy crazy? They did remake “Green Acres” – they called it “Newhart”. Both shows were brilliant, IMHO.
Some song remakes are awful, but some are really good. Giant Drag did a cover of “Wicked Game” that thrills me. And I would argue that Gary Jules’s cover of “Mad World” is a definite improvement over the original. On the otherhand, of all the bad things she has done over the past 25 years, the worst IMHO that Madonna has done was to attempt a cover of “American Pie.” If I didn’t hate her before that, I certainly did once I heard it. (Want to tear up my pink card now? Get in line.)
As for TV, I don’t know what to do. It just gets worse and worse.
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In the past several years there have been covers of “Last Kiss” (Pearl Jam) and “Lady Marmalade” (a bunch of talentless MTV faces). If there were EVER two songs that didn’t need to be recreated…
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@Malnurtured Snay: Yes, and I consider the TV term reboot to be very different from remake. I suppose I shouldn’t have hated on re-imagining either. BSG proved that one can take elements from the original and come up with a brand new show with its own merit. That said, it won’t be the same without Marc Singer.
@Fredo: I am a little hypocritical since I was writing that while listening to Dame Shirley Bassey sing “Get The Party Started.” I’m less critical of certain music covers, but it seems that between sampling and filler tracks and modern one-hit wonders, they’re really overdone. You want to listen to a cover and feel that either it’s done the original justice or that it’s elevated the original somehow and you’d be able to easily listen to and enjoy both.
@Esprix: What @Kyle said re: Green Acres/Newhart.
@Gilahi: I can only take solace in the knowledge that the original songwriters and artists are getting paid for it. In some cases, paid very well. 🙄