Nostalgia is strong in TV, movies and comics these days. From the unprecedented return of the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast aboard the Enterprise-D to a new Babylon 5 animated movie to comedies like Frasier, The Connors and even Saved By The Bell the legacy of the 80’s and 90’s is well-represented in this third decade of the twenty-first century.
But with all of these grand returns, there are others that are pretty far off or on no one's radar for a reboot. We pick a few of our favorites at Cereal Creatures and consider how we might bring them back if we could wave a magic wand.
Buffy: The Vampire Slayer
The Chosen One and Scooby Gang should definitely return—as a continuation of the original Buffy/Angel universe. Some of the comics were good, but start however many years after the finale. The world has been safe from monsters, vampires and all things that go bump in the night, protected by all the girls who were powered up in the final episode. Then, out of nowhere, everyone loses their slaying ability—except the last vampire slayer, Buffy. The recent Wolf Pack series showed Sarah Michelle Gellar could jump back into an action role like it was 2003 if she chose to. I’m sure some of the Scooby Gang would also be willing to return in a reunion event. Yes, you’d have to find an explanation for why the vampires have aged, but honestly no one complained about David Boreanaz from Buffy Season one compared to Angel Season Five. If SMG chose not to continue in an ongoing series, she could easily be sidelined via story narrative that would let her come back or possibly just kill Buffy off. In some ways, that is the most poetic way for Buffy’s story to end. After all, it happened at least two times before. Like many of the series that have already returned in all their nostalgic glory, the greatest interest would not necessarily be the continuation of the Buffyverse stories, rather to answer the questions of “what happened to x?” and “did they live happily ever after?”. And like most of the other series on our wish list, the Buffyverse is rich in possibilities, but the ultimate satisfaction would require the return of the Slayer herself to kick it off.
Unlike the other series on our wish list, Universal Monsters isn’t a tv show with lots of episodes or even a series of movies with hard continuity. It’s loose at best and our heroes (or villains, depending on how you see them) are more concept than character. And herein lies the problem with every attempt that Universal has made to bring back some of their oldest and heaviest hitters. As a writer of the monsters, I have to use archetypes that don’t outright copy Bela Lugosi or Boris Karloff. Our characters may share some of the characteristics but are equally nods to the public domain versions. Universal is not limited in this way, yet they consistently, in every attempt, act like they are. In every reboot, reimagining, re-whatever, there has yet to be a Frankenstein monster that is the Karloff version, same with Dracula, the Bride, the Invisible Man, etc. Why? Do they think a character from the 1930’s—born from black and white—is too cliche and boring for today’s audiences? Batman and Superman would like a word, please. Is it the likenesses and having to pay the actors’ estates? Even the Halloween Horror Nights entries are wholly re-imagined versions of Universal’s own characters. It makes no sense in the eyes of a fan. Maybe it does to the accountants.
If I were given carte blanche with the Universal Monsters, I would continue (yes, continue) the stories from the 1930’s in the modern day. No period pieces beyond flashbacks. No stylized crap. Just a plain old horror story set in the same continuity as Frankenstein, Dracula, etc. Most of the original monsters could still be around. Sure, you’d have to ignore some of the events from the later movies and maybe some, like Wolf Man or Invisible Man are ancestors, but Dracula, Frankenstein, the Bride, the Mummy and the Creature could all be the originals.
And don’t get me started on the Metaluna Mutant. The most neglected of the Universal Monsters adjacent characters, this alien could easily be part of a standalone movie or tv series, perfect for streaming. Yet, it seems that Universal has deemed these prize properties as past their expiration date.
Set in the year 2018 (that was a long time off when it debuted in 1993), the crew of a state-of-the-art submarine must boldly go under the sea and protect the oceans, colonies and random wayfarers. SeaQuest DSV (and the later time-jumped and retitle SeaQuest 2032) starred Jaws actor Roy Scheider and teen heartthrob Jonathan Brandis in a show that started off grounded in science, twisted to sci-fi and fantasy in its second season, then settled on sci-fi action in its third outing. Beyond the inconsistent tone (and trying a little too hard to become Star Trek in the sea at times), was the rotating cast of characters. Brandis and a fake dolphin, along with first officer Ford played by Don Franklin and Ted Raimi’s Tim O’Neill were the only characters to last all three seasons. Even Roy Scheider became a recurring character in the final season. Even the SeaQuest itself was destroyed and a successor built between seasons. Other characters just vanished with no explanation. And sadly, some of the cast (including Scheider and Brandis) have since died.
So, how the hell do you reboot this one? Easy, the final season was set in 2032, so set an all-new SeaQuest a twenty or so years later. The SeaQuest, even in 2032, was the most advanced boat in the water. It’s still believable that she’s still viable. And while some of the old cast can certainly make guest appearances, I would go with a new crew. The only exception would be to make the captain the son of Lucas Wolenczak as a nod to Brandis. For a reboot, I would keep with the sci-fi action theme of the final season with some of the science focus from the first. Of all the entries on our wish list, this one is the most unlikely to ever happen. As of this writing, SeaQuest is still streaming on Peacock and a Blu-ray was released of the full series in 2022. So, at least Universal thinks there’s some interest, but there’s been no indication of a return that would include any kind of new content.
Wait? The X-Files? Didn’t that get continued in a movie, two more seasons, two spin-offs and numerous comics and even audiobook stories? Well, yes, but I still want more. However, in this case I’d like to see new agents assigned to the X-Files with Mulder, Scully and Skinner recurring. I’d also want them to address the last episode of season 11 and fix the most egregious problem—no, not Scully. Monica Reyes. I understand people change, but making her a villain was completely uncalled for. It’s easily addressed though. I’m also up to revisit some of Mulder and Scully’s cases, but with all that’s happened in the last twenty years, there’s so much supernatural left to explore. The latest UFO/UAP revelations alone are ripe for mining and could be key story points in developing a new conspiracy. I’d be happy with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as the leads in another season, but if they’re not willing, I’m good with new agents taking the reins. The premise of The X-Files is so iconic in its ability to adapt to a new generation and hopefully its current stewards are planning the next chapter soon!
What would you like to see brought back? Do you prefer reboots/re-imaginings? Or, like us, do you want to see a continuation of the universes that you fell in love with?