Ask Dayton 76 – Yesteryear: Rebooted
I would love to hear your thoughts about the following shows, and, if you could, which one (only one) of these would you reboot and who would you cast in it?
Like many geeks and nerds in my age bracket, I grew up on the science fiction television shows of the 1970s and 80s, with reruns of 60s leftovers thrown in for good measure. Many a Saturday afternoon was whiled away watching blocks of Star Trek, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and/or Lost In Space on the local UHF station (WTOG, Channel 44 Tampa/St. Petersburg for the win, baby!), followed by Creature Feature with our host, Dr. Paul Bearer, intro’ing old sci-fi and horror movies. All of this came on the heels of a Saturday morning filled to overflowing with cartoons or live-action fare like Ark II, Jason of Star Command, or Land of the Lost.
Then there was the prime time stuff: Planet of the Apes, The Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica, or Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Let’s face it: with few exceptions, a lot of this stuff just doesn’t stand the test of time, but back when I was in single digits? THESE SHOWS ROCKED BALLS.
Of course, if it was nice outside, all that shit was forgotten as we hit the pool or the park. Then I figured out what girls were. TV, what TV?
As for those listed by this week’s fearless questioner, my experiences with them varied:
Quark – I only saw a few episodes of this one. Garbage collectors in space headed up by Richard Benjamin sounds like it should work on paper, and I’ve seen a few episodes here and there in recent years, and it’s basically a funny idea that falls short in execution. That said….how ‘bout those Bettys, eh?
Sigmund and the Sea Monsters – I remember watching this here and there, but I don’t remember much about it. Other than Land of the Lost, I never really watched much of the Sid and Marty Kroft shows. Still, I think we all can agree that “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters” is the most epic name for a band. Ever.
Space: 1999 – Of the five shows from the original question, this is the one I watched most and the one for which I still have fond memories. The premise – the Moon is blown out of orbit by a nuclear explosion and goes sailing through space from system to system and getting into all sorts of trouble – was laughable. The acting was stiff a lot of the times, and a lot of the plots were lame as fuck, particularly in the second season. Despite all this, I love the look of Moonbase Alpha, and my other car is still an Eagle transporter, bitches.
Space: Above and Beyond – I watched a bit of this one, too; especially the first episode with R. Lee Ermey playing a drill instructor for space Marines. That’s right: SPACE MARINES. FIGHTING ALIENS. How do you fuck up something like this? To be honest, it wasn’t so much that they fucked it up as they just bored me for most of the one season the show was on the air. By the time stories finally started to grab me, the writing was on the wall and I didn’t see much point in investing any more time and energy. Too bad, as the show had the same kind of potential that always seems to get squandered whenever a network tries science fiction.
Thunderbirds – I’ve only ever really seen a handful of episodes from this one, and for whatever reason it just never grabbed me. I do like other Gerry Anderson shows, though, such as UFO and the aforementioned Space: 1999. I guess the whole creepy puppet thing just never floated my boat.
Now, for the second part of your question: Faced with picking only one of the five shows to be rebooted, I’d go with Space: 1999. Come on; we all know this is a great idea, right? In fact, it’s such a fucking awesome idea that somebody’s already doing it! The plan is to call it Space: 2099 and revamp the basic premise to a so-far unknown degree. I haven’t heard much about this one recently, but I’d definitely watch it whenever it finally shows up.
Who would I cast? I have no idea what the reboot producers are thinking, but give me Bruce Greenwood as Commander Koenig, Joan Allen as Doctor Russell, and John Noble as Victor Bergman to round out the main stars. If we have to bring back Maya, the shape-shifting alien from the original show’s second season, I suppose we could go with Lynn Collins (Dejah Thoris from last year’s John Carter) or Kerry Washington, because DAMN. In fact, I’m totally open to recasting the main characters without regard to their predecessors. Substitute Blair Underwood for Greenwood, Angela Bassett for Russell, and/or Giancarlo Esposito for Bergman. Knock yourselves out.
Just don’t fuck up the Eagles. That’s all I’m askin’.
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He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.