Station Control

Old is New Again this Fall

by Benjamin Carr

 

Though the fall television season usually is all about the new, this autumn will feel more like a blast from the past to many viewers. Because show business is a business, a lot of nostalgic, familiar titles are returning to your TV screens with slight variations upon their original flavor. Other new shows will offer you excitement or a different take upon a tried-and-true formula.

With the rise of streaming services and binge-watched seasons all available at once, the old-fashioned return of fall TV to the traditional networks seems a little out-of-date. But gems can still emerge from this old business model, and there are a lot of new shows that will bring familiar excitement.

DYNASTY (CW)

The old Aaron Spelling soap has been rebooted by the CW, but this is not the same old 1980s catfight extravaganza. Reimagined by the brains behind The O.C. and Gossip Girl, the Colbys and the Carringtons now live in Atlanta, not Denver, but the family drama is still palpable and trashy.

Billionaire Blake Carrington, played by Grant Show of Melrose Place, is marrying his employee Cristal Flores (Nathalie Kelly), even though his daughter Fallon suspects that Cristal is just slutty, gold-digging trash. Meanwhile, Blake's gay son Steven falls for Cristal's nephew Sammy Joe, and scandal ensues.

In the original series, Sammy Jo was played by Heather Locklear, who was instrumental in Steven's controversial gay conversion storyline. This time, Sammy Joe is a man, which is a step toward social progress, I guess.

Blake's ex-wife Alexis, famously played by Joan Collins in the original series, probably won't show up until the first season finale, unless ratings are really bad.

DUCKTALES (Disney XD)

Disney XD has brought back the 1980s cartoon favorite, featuring Uncle Scrooge and Huey, Dewey and Louie on grand, globe-trotting adventures for treasure, and the pilot episode - which aired in August - was wonderful fun. The new series, featuring all-star voices like David Tennant, is different from the original series in its look, in its continuing storylines and its actual inclusion of Donald Duck.

Still, the theme song everybody loves and the vibrant spirit of the original remain intact in this new version. Old and new fans will find much to enjoy in Duckburg.

YOUNG SHELDON (CBS)

CBS is capitalizing on its biggest hit, The Big Bang Theory, by showing us how child genius Sheldon Cooper survived college life in 1989. Narrated by original series star Jim Parsons, the new show stars Iain Armitage - who co-starred on HBO's Big Little Lies. Instead of being a three-camera sitcom like its predecessor, Young Sheldon is a single-camera, quirkier affair, reminiscent of Doogie Howser, M.D., or Everybody Hates Chris.
Sheldon's mom, memorably portrayed by Laurie Metcalf on Big Bang, will be played by Metcalf's daughter Zoe Perry, who both looks and sounds like her mom. It's sorta uncanny.

Whether Young Sheldon is a hit or a blip on the pop culture radar, its existence is certainly interesting.

STAR TREK DISCOVERY (CBS)

In the newest Star Trek series, premiering on CBS All Access on Sept. 24, The Walking Dead star Sonequa Martin-Green plays a first officer aboard a Starfleet vessel, USS Discovery, but the officer is also involved in discovering how to connect with human and alien counterparts as they "boldly go" into new frontiers. Discovery, set around the same time as the original series, will bring us back to Gene Roddenberry's idealized future and whiz-bang adventure.

For 50 years, Star Trek has been a part of our culture, and this return is certainly exciting. But if you prefer your Star Trek with a little more snark, another show will have you covered.

THE ORVILLE (CBS)

A parody of Star Trek, starring Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane, will hit Fox roughly the same time as Discovery arrives at CBS. And this one looks like it's got all the jokes of Family Guy, all the costumes of Star Trek and none of the heart of Galaxy Quest, another Star Trek parody from a kinder, gentler time.

In this show, an inept captain, played by MacFarlane, fumbles his way through space travel with a wacky crew and an interesting second-in-command, his ex-wife.

The new season is bringing us a variety of flavors, many we have already tasted.

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