So first off, I managed to snag a new monitor the same evening thanks to my local Bookman's Used Book and Electronics, so shout out to those guys!
But on a more story-based topic, I wanted to look at the recent spate of reboots. Some have been really good, others... I won't go into. But either way, the trend isn't going anywhere and I though I'd give my two cents on the matter. Now, this is purely my opinion and I'm going to form it around the newest Netflix series to catch my eye: Carmen Sandiego.
Let me get this out of the way: it's not bad. The trailer for it left me with a weird feeling. Of course I'm hardly the target demographic, but that in itself is something I'd like to address in just a moment. Right now, let me get out the general impression. It's fun. It's made me laugh on more than one occasion. But at the same time, it feels like the story has had a few missteps.
In the larger context of reboots in general, I have a few questions for any series that comes out. Why this property? Who is your target demographic? Why that demographic? Let's look at this through the lens of Carmen. The demographic is obviously younger kids. Once the show gets past the origin story, it does as many Carmen shows have and makes with the world history. They visit an area, they exposit for a minute on the national food, flag, date of independence, etc... And yet, there's just a few throwbacks that any young kid watching wouldn't follow. Reference the VILE elevator and codename scenes (no spoilers!)
So then I wonder why this demographic. Obviously Carmen has always been aimed at a younger audience, but the property has some age on it. I don't think too many kids these days recall scanning through the World Book Almanac to type in answers on the MS-DOS version of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. One could assume they'd be just as excited about a new property as they would Carmen, so why bother? And a new property wouldn't have the baggage of Carmen's lore (or lack thereof.)
I guess I just have to wonder, why, if you're going to reboot, you would bother with using an old property anyway? I'm not a curmudgeon who hates all these reboots, don't get me wrong. But I wonder what the appeal is to the company making it? If you own the property, then of course, try to get the use out of it. But if you're buying or licensing it, I have to wonder why bother. Old fans are going to be put off by the changes (at least at first) and new fans have no inherent attachment to the franchise.
Oh gosh, is this just an indictment of the reboot culture that has overtaken Hollywood over the past decade? Eh... I'm not that deep. So I'll end with this. Reboots and reimaginings can be done well. Voltron is amazing. I really liked She-Ra. And so far, I'm digging Carmen Sandiego. There's enough there for old fans to appreciate while still delivering something new and not retelling the same stories. But so often it's easy to lose what made the original special, to just push forward with the hope that name recognition will get you ratings or box office dollars. How do you make sure you're on the good side of that dichotomy? Heck, if I knew that, I'd be blogging from my LA mansion right now.
If you liked this, I'm considering doing a review series on shows like I've done for the videos games I've reviewed. Let me know if there's any interest.
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Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.