Sequel Shows are still a relatively new concept in television. I’ve seen four so far, and I’m overall unimpressed. Here’s a look at my thoughts on the genre.
Sure, “Degrassi: The Next Generation” was done well. It was arguably better than the original for several seasons. It had a well blended mix of modern teen drama and 80s nostalgia that even someone who had never seen the original could appreciate. Unfortunately, it devolved pretty rapidly after the third season; becoming an angst fueled nightmare that seemed to have forgotten its roots.
“Rugrats: All Grown Up” was a promising concept. It took cartoon characters that were beloved and aged them in an Era where cartoon characters were known for not aging. And the characters remained recognizable throughout the process. Unfortunately, a group of preteens with the minds of infants doesn’t actually translate to interesting television. Kudos to them for trying though.
“Girl Meets World” hits all the same beats as its parent show. The nostalgia is on point, and the returning characters are exactly as we left them. Sadly, the new characters (those who need to carry the show) are shoved into an exact recreation of the original setup, right down to the nerdy kid with the bad hair and the funny name. It took more than a full season for the show to figure out its own identity, and for the new generation to actually be interesting enough to carry the show proper.
Today, “Fuller House” released on Netflix. Like every Sequel Show before it. I gave it three episodes before I passed judgement, knowing that nostalgia alone will convince me to finish the season. As expected, the first episode is full of nostalgic jokes and heavy handed exposition that it was nearly unwatchable. The internet over uses the word cringe; this was cringe worthy. Episode two was marginally better, but fell into the same trap as “Girl Meets World” and rehashed the exact same situation as the original. Episode three finally found a leg to stand on, and I found myself almost forgetting that it was a sequel. The heavy handed jokes were still there to remind me, but there was actually something happening alongside them.
The conclusion I’ve reached so far is that the people making these Sequel Shows don’t seem to understand balance. Nostalgia only gets you so far. And while the formulas for the old shows were established and working, these new shows need their own identities. Not just that, but like children, they need to grow naturally from the parent that spawned them. If you forget your roots then you exist in a void, and that’s hard to maintain. But if you try to rebuild the past then you can never flourish as your own being.
What do think? Can Sequel Shows be great? Or are they doomed to mediocrity?
All opinions are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Deck Ape...or anyone else. Arrr!