MTV recently broke ground by creating a new series about high school life. No, wait, they always do that.
MTV recently revived a classic 80s movie and turned it into a new series about high school life. You remember Teen Wolf, right? The hilariously bad coming-of-age Michael J. Fox movie where the teenage protagonist begins morphing into a lycanthrope, and discovers that his dad deals with the same thing? You know, the really, really obvious metaphor for puberty?
Yep, they remade it. Or rather, as is the popular phrase of the moment, they “rebooted” it, and it’s taken new form as a series of episodes—but there’s very few similarities between the 1985 movie and the 2011 TV show.
Both feature a protagonist named Scott and a best friend named Stiles; Scott turns into a werewolf sometimes. Remember anything else from the movie? Gone. It’s all different. Even Scott’s last name is different now.
Taking a cue from this re-imagining, here’s five of my own suggested 80s movie reboots, updated to fit a 2011 world.
Back to the Future
Let’s stick with the Michael J. Fox theme, because he’s a pretty easy target. The 2011 TV show takes place in San Francisco. Marty, played by Michael Cera, lives in the Castro, born to a gay couple who used a surrogate mother to conceive him. Marty takes frequent trips down to M5 Industries to hang around the Mythbusters set with Jamie Hyneman.
One of Hyneman’s more interesting inventions is the flux-capacitor-equipped Prius that is capable of time travel. When the show’s not filming, Marty and Hyneman take the vehicle to Naval Air Station Alameda, the only place in San Francisco where they can get a Prius up to 88 miles per hour.
Pilot episode: Hyneman appears at Marty’s Castro townhouse, frantic and worried. Since he never shows emotion, Marty knows something’s horribly wrong. Hyneman informs Marty that his life is in danger. They travel back in time to 1985 to stop one of his dads’ ill-conceived heterosexual marriages. In a bizarre twist, Marty’s surrogate mother falls in love with him.
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Might as well squeeze all the life out of the time travel theme, right? Bill and Ted (played by Alex Pettyfer and Joe Jonas, respectively) are two aspiring professional snowboarders who run a grow-op in Denver. Their plan is to get Shaun White to appear in one of their iPhone 4-shot snowboarding videos, but unfortunately, they need a totally triumphant snowboarding video to get Shaun White.
Ted’s dad works for the DEA and wants his son to quit the cannabusiness altogether. He’s planning to send his son off to a labor camp if he can’t make a profitable snowboarding video before the end of ski season. Fortunately, Rufus (Doug Benson) is sent from the future to inform the pair that they eventually bring peace to the world by being the ones who finally legalize weed.
Pilot episode: The local government wants to shut down dispensaries in Bill and Ted’s community, prompting them to use their iPad’s time-travel app to collect famous lawyers throughout history to have a debate against Harry Anslinger at the town hall meeting.
The Goonies are a group of pre-teen white-hat hackers split off from Anonymous and living in Astoria, Oregon. Led by an asthmatic 12-year-old named Mikey, they are facing pressure from the Secret Service to shut down their group, even though they’re just trying to expose security holes in major companies’ websites.
After finding a Power Mac in the attic and booting it up, the group discovers an email from Steve Jobs to Mikey’s contractor dad that includes blueprints for a personal underground lair beneath the campus at One Infinite Loop. Despite not knowing if the lair was ever built, the Goonies decide that this could be the ultimate security exploit if they can just get in.
Pilot episode: The Goonies discover Steve Wozniak, locked in a closet and screaming for “Baby Ruth!” Data correctly guesses a WEP key to connect to the WiFi so they can sniff traffic they think might be coming from a massive underground data center known as One-Eyed Willie.
We’ll stay in Astoria for a moment. Big Dog is a protoype robot built by the UC Berkeley Robotics department, intended to be used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan to carry packs of equipment across unpredictable terrain. While on a top-secret test in Saddle Mountain State Park, the entire crew is killed by a lightning strike to Big Dog’s head, providing him with a sudden and unexplainable consciousness.
After wandering through the woods for a while, he finds himself at the apartment of animal lover Stephanie (played by Miley Cyrus) who satisfies the robot’s cravings for power by discovering a USB port in his belly. Her computer recognizes him as a storage device, and she copies documents over from his memory that reveal a torturous life condemned to the battlefield.
Pilot episode: As FBI agents come to town looking for the robot, she has to dress him up like a saint bernard to keep him from blowing his cover. Unfortunately, he can’t stop hopping around. She tells the agents that she feeds him a steady diet of Red Bull to win the Astoria Saint Bernard High-Jump dog show.
The Breakfast Club
And finally, the second reboot in a row that is courtesy of Ally Sheedy. This series features a group of five very different students who get to know each other during detention one Saturday. The show centers on the characters as they continuously knock each other up and get hammered, concealing their unlikely acquaintances from their friends.
Pilot episode: The group is tasked with collectively writing an essay to explain who they are before the end of the day. Instead, the jock hooks up with the pretty girl after beating up the nerd, and the criminal and crazy girl sit in the bathroom huffing spray paint.