Reboots Can Be More Than Nostalgia

She-Ra from the new show, glowing and confident, compared to She-Ra from the 80's.

We are currently in the midst of a reboot renaissance, with everything from Gilmore Girls to Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego receiving updated reworkings.  The old saying, “everything old is new again,” has never been more true.

While many of these reboots are designed to appeal to the adults who grew up watching the originals, a few have transcended this “nostalgia baiting” to become something new and, dare we say, better than the original.

Shows like She-Ra and The Princess of Power and the soon-to-be-released ThunderCats Roar have enough name recognition to get parents and the blog-o-sphere to take an interest because these reboots were not created for those nostalgic viewers. 

With drastic changes to design, tone, and story these new shows are just that, new. And they are all the better for it. That newness comes from the show’s creators. These talented artists and writers are able to find the essence of what made the original popular and then spin that out to something that is relevant to today’s savvy kids.

Where the original She-Ra was a spin-off of a show created to sell toys by a committee of ad men and marketers, the new She-Ra is a creator driven show developed by Noelle Stevenson, a celebrated creator with a unique, personal point of view….and someone who did not grow up watching the original.

Instead of approaching the show with a marketing mindset, Noelle set out to tell a modern story full of diversity and inclusiveness that happens to be set in a land of magical warriors and talking unicorns. 

She-Ra characters from the 80's compared to the new characters.

As the Washington Post points out, “She’s kept much of She-Ra’s sprawling cast of heroes, improving upon them by adding depth to their personalities and bringing them to life with a vastly improved voice cast.”

“While recreations or revisits of childhood classics can often feature tone-deaf elements that make us cringe in 2018, the new Netflix adaptation of the Masters of the Universe character from artist and writer Noelle Stevenson is way more likely to make you jump for joy.” Leah Marilla Thomas - Bustle

Unfortunately, not all reboots are created equal and She-Ra seems to be one of the few unabashed triumphs when it comes to successfully connecting popular shows from the past to today’s youth. 

As Sara Bernstein points out in her Buzzfeed revival review, of the 80’s sitcom, Rosanne, so many recent reboots take a popular property from the 80’s or 90’s and give it a facelift without adapting the core ideas of the characters or the stories for our modern times.

“Despite some good writing and great acting, in some vague way, it just wasn’t the same. The whole thing felt like an empty echo of what used to be living characters who mattered to me.” Sara Bernstein – Buzzfeed

Add in the fact that most of the youth watching these revivals have no connection to the original source material and it’s easy to see why a fresh coat of paint on an old idea is not enough to engage kids who crave to see themselves and their world represented in the media they consume.

As She-Ra and the Princess Of Power tries to teach us, beauty and power needs to come from something much deeper than a mere cosmetic transformation.