What makes a reboot good?

I asked around on Facebook when I first decided to undertake this project.  I identified two key factors:

1. Maintaining the spirit of the original.  This is pretty hard to describe or explain but when somebody does it right, you can tell.

2. Including nods to fans of the original.  The best example of this is Uhura’s green roommate in Star Trek.

A friend added:

3. The central character (in this case, Buffy herself) needs to be recognizable as the same person she was in the original.  (Please note: When I refer to “the original” I actually mean the show, not the movie.)

I’m open to other ideas.   What do you think?  What are the key ingredients for a story that treads familiar ground but does it in an interesting way?

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4 Responses to What makes a reboot good?

  1. Leather Jacket says:

    I don’t really think the central character needs to be “recognizable” as from the original … unless I don’t understand what you mean by that. Maybe in Buffy’s case, but let’s face it: sometimes, the original got it wrong.
    Look at the Reboot of Batman (Christian Bale version). The 1966-ish Batman was largely a buffoon, way too milk-and-cookies and … well … just not that hot. Not even in the 60s. The first movie Batman (Michael Keaton) may have been able to do The Dark Knight justice, but I just never could buy him as a Billionaire Playboy. And Clooney’s Bats was a joke.
    Christian Bale had it all: the darkest of dark knights, the sexiest of billionaire playboys.
    Now, some may say that’s in keeping with the original *comic book* character, which it is, but Batman Begins wasn’t a reboot of the comic book. It was a reboot of the movie series.
    It’s much easier to reboot something that got it wrong. When you try to reboot something that got it right, you have your work cut out for you.
    (My opinion, of course.)

    • Kiba says:

      I think you make a good point. (Or many good points? It was a pointy comment.) Buffy herself in the movie is, in my opinion, all wrong. In the show, especially through season 3, she’s just right. (I start to have issues with her from season 4 onward but that’s my problem more than Buffy’s, probably.) I think what I’m looking to do is take Movie!Buffy and show how a younger version of her (since there is the age continuity issue between the movie and the series) could turn into TV!Buffy. I’ve very carefully chosen the origin story as the story I’m telling, because there’s enough between the movie and the shows for me to go on, but there’s also plenty of room to play.

      I don’t actually think Christian Bale is much like the old 1940s Batman at all – sadly, Adam West was closer. But he is like Frank Miller’s Batman, whom I think of as the “real” Batman – the rightest Batman. I guess any iconic character has many possible variations, and there’s always one that any given person will feel is the one that got it right the most.

  2. IMMORTAL says:

    So I actually have broken a lot of this down myself. For kicks-I threw together an outline for a Buffy universe web series.

    I think tone is pretty much the most important thing. I’m usually not into reboots. I think the one I enjoyed the best was the A-Team. Completely kept the spirit of the original while updating it for today’s audience. If this doesn’t have the right shades of light and dark-comedy and drama then no matter what else you do right, it won’t feel like Buffy.

    If you are doing an origin you are setting up a mythology. This is something I think the movie did not do well. You might want to craft it using the Hero’s Journey: http://www.listology.com/list/heros-journey-campbell-and-jung-revised Even if you are not completely true to it, it also will help keep the pacing on track.

    • Kiba says:

      I think you’re absolutely right about tone. I feel like it’s one of the most important things, and one of the ways in which the movie really fails. It has too much silly and doesn’t spend enough time/energy on the drama – a drama which is very present and I think resonates deeply, if done right.

      Re: The Hero’s Journey, I think taken as a whole it’s too big for this story. My story only covers Departure. And then the show gives us the rest – the show actually follows the rest very neatly. Even the parts of the show I don’t like fit.

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