It started with Boy Meets World. When Disney announced a sequel series, Girl Meets World, back in November of 2012, Cory and Topanga fans were over the moon. Who hasn't watched old episodes of Boy Meets World on YouTube, wondering what Ben Savage or Danielle Fishel were up to? And yes, Girl Meets World has turned out great — it was recently nominated for an Emmy, and has pulled in Perez Hilton for a cameo performance (what?). But then, there was news that Fuller House was in the works, and now Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And, all of a sudden, the TV series sequel landscape is on the verge of mimicking the world of movie sequels — a few great ones, a ton of flops.
Of course, these aren't the first shows to be remade again and modernized; remember Melrose Place? The 2009 reboot lasted just 18 episodes. Charlie's Angels? Yes, we found the movie(s) entertaining, but the 2011 television sequel went largely unnoticed. And then there's the newer stuff: Arrested Development, The X-Files, Twin Peaks. Show remakes are now definitely a Thing, with Indiewire claiming they're "becoming the new film franchise." The follow-up warning: "That's a very, very bad thing." Why? As Ben Travers writes, "Creative teams need to know when enough is enough; when something new is more valuable than something old; when an ending really is the end, and not just a signal to re-boot or spin-off." But with the promise of more money, more fans, Hollywood forgets there ever was an ending, bringing back long-lost loves in hopes of another chance. So, though we hated saying goodbye to Don Draper on Mad Men, those goodbyes are final. We've mourned and then moved on. Please don't put the show back in our lives, like an ex-boyfriend whose number we've already deleted. (Really, AMC, don't.) There's something bittersweet about endings. As anyone who has ever finished the seventh book of Harry Potter knows, when you get to the end of a particularly epic storyline and reach the maybe-happy, sometimes-sad ending, there is closure. And then you find particular joy in going back and rereading, rewatching, learning new things, or noticing new details. But the closure is there, and it's familiar and, yes, nostalgic. And that is enough. Some stories, sure, they can go on, and get revamped and rebooted and revived and still be somewhat entertaining (bring back Friends and it'll be fine — just another set of good-looking people going around New York City trying to find love). Others shows, though, were enough in its first incarnation, and dragging them back feels like a halfhearted attempt to take advantage of fans' nostalgia just to rake in extra cash. Characters are recycled over and over, storylines feel somewhat familiar, lessons learned become mantras, and story lines and loops become never-ending. "Closure could be a thing of the past," Travers writes. And, honestly, that sounds terrible.