Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

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    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
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Nostalgia: My Childhood Returns to Haunt Me

Posted by Ben Erlichman on July 14, 2011

This post isn’t about ghosts or goblins or freaky things chasing me through my dreams (which happens with decent regularity, usually dinosaurs from Jurassic Park). No, this is about society’s decision to reboot everything about my childhood and bring it to the forefront once again, specifically on the big screen.

When I was growing up, I latched on to four legendary heroes that appeared every Saturday morning on my favorite cartoon: Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo, and Raphael. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Turtle Power.

These lean, mean, green, fighting machines were true heroes: infallible, incredible, undefeatable. Their epics sprawled all over the world, into other dimensions, and even across time itself.

To pay homage to their awesomeness, Hollywood saw fit to attempt several reboots of the concept, including the 2007 edition that, in my opinion, made them look like a bunch of frogs hopping from building to building in the previews. To be fair, I haven’t seen the movie, but I didn’t go out of my way to try to see it either. It doesn’t look too impressive.

I consider myself a TMNT-America* purist: I loved the original series, played most of the video games, and collected dozens of action figures. (*The turtles originated in some comics form Japan which I’ve never seen or read, and thus I’m a fan of the totally Americanized version). I enjoyed the first two TMNT movies (featuring live-action puppets and dudes in turtle suits), and the third one… well, they made a third one. I even have a green arm band with Raphael’s face and red bandana on it that I wear when working out or doing athletic things because, hey, Turtle Power.

But now, TMNT is getting ANOTHER reboot. According to imdb.com, we can expect a 2012 TMNT television series featuring Sean Astin as the voice of the angstiest turtle, Raphael.

Huh?

Really? Samwise Gamgee is going to voice the turtle with the baddest attitude around? I think I died a little bit inside when I found that out. What’s more, there are murmurings, “whispers in the dark” if you will, that there will be another TMNT movie in 2014. I guess we’ll see how all of this plays out, huh?

Unlike the turtles’ legacy, which as of now seems to have lost a bit of its original luster due to recent installments, there is hope for our favorite team of five (six?) interstellar heroes whose powers were originally derived from ancient animals that somehow got turned into gigantic robots in primary colors (plus pink and black): The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.

They also had some INSANE intro music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pQYtmb-f0w

I devoured every episode of that show. I collected the action figures again (though fewer of them) and now, I have two AWESOME Power Rangers T-shirts from Hot Topic, courtesy of my mother, who loves me very much.

If you recall, the Rangers started as five high school-aged friends whose names I still remember without having to look them up online: Jason (Red), Billy (Blue), Zach (Black–yes, he was the black guy, and also the Black Ranger, but hey, it was the nineties), Kimberly (Pink), and Trini (Yellow–another racial stereotype, perhaps? The Asian girl is the Yellow Ranger?) Those were the original five Rangers. Then along came Tommy, who played the evil (but conflicted) Green Ranger. He eventually joined the Rangers once they broke their arch-nemesis Rita Repulsa’s spell over him.

Then, somehow, the Green Ranger’s powers ran out (I think it had something to do with a green candle that ran out of wax?) and Tommy was temporarily off the show until Zordon made him the new White Ranger (who instead of riding a giant dragon around rode a giant saber-toothed cat, which was cool, but not as cool.)

Note how their outfits coordinate with the color of their Ranger costumes.

After the first movie, though, stuff started getting too weird for me, and I watched the show clear up to Power Rangers in space, which is when they started traveling the galaxy picking fights with aliens, sort of like Star Trek, but with murderous intentions.

"To seek out new life and civilizations...and then destroy them completely."

All told, the Rangers, it seems, have come full circle. Haim Saban, the guy who owned Power Rangers initially when it came to America (again from Japan), has bought it back from Disney (which explains how it got so goofy) for $100 million and will air 20 new episodes with competitor Nickelodeon. When Saban owned Power Rangers initially, it was awesome. It was the stuff dreams were made of. Then it fell by the wayside. I haven’t seen the reboot, but hopefully it does justice to the original series? Who knows?

I don’t have time or space to go into the dozens of other remakes and reinterpretations of cartoons (like GI Joe, Spiderman, X-Men, etc.), but suffice it to say that only one series of reboots has consistently exceeded my expectations thus far: Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. But that’s a whole other topic for a different post. :)

There are no words to describe this.

What are some of your favorite old TV shows that have gotten remade in the last 10-20 years? Were the remakes good, bad, ugly, or otherwise? Do share, please.

Tune in next week for an interview with Arpit Mehta, who self-published a book of his own poetry.

-Ben

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8 Responses to “Nostalgia: My Childhood Returns to Haunt Me”

  1. rakkav said

    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have various childhood favorites and various opinions about later reboots. But you would never believe what childhood favorite has had far and away (I mean by light-years) the most influence on me for the most tangential of reasons (the resulting character is about to appear in a co-authored book) or what the reboot is. Take a look at this strange but true story, if you’re so inclined:

    http://www.rakkav.com/greendoor/pages/chrisalan.htm

  2. Well, since you posted a pic of the Star Trek crew, you might as well know I was a HUGE fan of that show when it was on TV!!! I thought Captain Kirk was a little too full of himself, but I was hooked on the cute Chekov. ;-) OK, so this is the girl version of what you are remembering Ben, but believe me, there have been so many spin-offs from that show, who can keep count? Either Hollywood likes to recycle great ideas (doubtful) or their appealing to this generation’s parents who watched it as a kid and want to share the joy with their little ones. “Nostalgia” equals “money.” I think Hollywood needs some new ideas…I’ve got a book they might be interested in…. ;-)

    • rakkav said

      Considering that William Shatner wanted to play Captain Kirk as a sort of Horatio Hornblower of space, and considering the several possible MBTI codes suggested for Capt. Kirk, I’m not all that surprised that he was “full of himself”. Love him or hate him, that’s one thing that made him one of a kind. :)

      • I didn’t hate him…but I sure didn’t like his “player” mentality. I suppose his ego gave him the mentality to “boldly go where no man has gone before!” LOL! Great for leading starships — not so great in a relationship!!! But little boys (and big boys) don’t think that way!

  3. Okay, I officially feel old. Ben, you must not be much older than my children. Elaine, I agree with you about Captain Kirk and can’t help but view William Shatner now as Denny Crane, Denny Crane. You’ll understand my meaning if you ever watched Boston Legal. And, at the risk of sounding like a cliche, what goes around, DOES come around. Like their Hollywood counterparts, Broadway producers continually strike out with audiences with new plays so what do they do? Bring back the “revival” of popular musicals and other plays – over and over again. Because there are NEW audiences to enjoy them. Blessings, and thanks for the post, Ben!

    • Don’t feel bad JoAnn—my kids are even older!! And yes, old musicals can be awesome! I was watching Music Man last night and laughing at jokes that are still funny!

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