In Defense of the “Reboot”
4 Netflix Productions That Do It Right
I’ve reached the age where I will do one of two things in response to a remake of stories that I grew up on. The first response is generally the more common response that is tainted by nostalgia and is ridiculously presumptuous “This reboot is going to be trash!” Or “Why would you ruin a classic?” Or “Hollywood is lazy, why can’t they be original anymore!” What those of us who engage in this type of kvetching fail to realize is that there are only about seven unique plot types that storytellers use to successfully captivate audiences:
- Overcoming the Monster
- Rags to Riches
- The Quest
- Voyage and Return
I’m sure that as you were reading that list there were various examples that came to mind. No matter how you slice it every story fits into one of those seven categories.
Furthermore, the consummate complainer also fails to realize that the rehashing of characters and stories actually has a positive cultural impact and has been done since man started storytelling.
In ancient times, myths and legends about specific characters were carried on for hundreds and thousands of years and many of those stories live on today. When we think about a character like Odysseus, for example, we know the fantastical things that he did were not historical records about a real man, but rather, his story gave us a glimpse into the way that the ancient Greeks looked at humanity and the world around them.
No one bats an eye or protests the fact that James Joyce’s Ulysses, Miguel DeCervantes’s Don Quixote, or J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit are all adaptations of Homer’s Odyssey. So I am advocating that my fellow reboot-complainers embrace the practice of rebooting old stories as the act of taking a snapshot of our humanity for posterity.
Some great examples of reboots that have captured my imagination the way they did when I was a kid can be found on Netflix. I’m not mad at these new iterations for two reasons. First they all have POC cast members or voice actors and second they are really well made.
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle
Human child Mowgli is raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India. As he learns the often harsh rules of the jungle, under the tutelage of a bear named Baloo and a panther named Bagheera, Mowgli becomes accepted by the animals of the jungle as one of their own, but the fearsome tiger Shere Khan doesn’t take a liking to him. But there may be greater dangers lurking in the jungle, as Mowgli comes face to face with his human origins.
POC Cast/Voice Actors
Rohan Chand as Mowgli
Naomie Harris as Raksha
Voltron: Legendary Defender
Teenagers transported from Earth become pilots for robotic lions to fight in an intergalactic war. The Paladins of Voltron must learn to work as a team to assemble the robot Voltron and use its power to conquer the Galra Empire.
POC Voice Actors:
Kimberly Brooks as Princess Alura
Steven Yeun as Keith
Cree Summer as Witch Haggar
Keith Ferguson as King Alfor
With the help of three human allies, the Autobots once again protect Earth from the onslaught of the Decepticons and their leader, Megatron.
POC Voice Actors:
Kevin Michael Richardson as Bulkead
Sumalee Montano as Arcee
Tania Gunadi as Mike Nakadai
Ernie Hudson as Agent William Fowler
Tony Todd as Dreadwing
Carmen San Diego
A master thief who uses her skills for good, Carmen Sandiego travels the world foiling V.I.L.E.’s evil plans — with help from her savvy sidekicks.
POC Voice Actors
Charlet Chung as Julia Argent
Dawnn Lewis as The Chief