Remake Television: Reboot, Re-use, Recycle

full name / name of organization: 
Carlen Lavigne, Red Deer College
contact email: 

Remakes are pervasive in today's popular culture, whether they take the form of reboots, "re-imaginings," or overly familiar sequels. Television remakes, from Battlestar Galactica to the recently announced Have Gun -- Will Travel, have proven popular with producers and networks interested in building on the nostalgic capital of past successes (or giving a second chance to underused properties). Some TV remakes have been critical and commercial hits, and others haven't made it past the pilot stage; all have provided valuable material ripe for academic analysis.

When significant time elapses between original and remake, new versions of old programs must adjust to changing cultures, settings, and audiences. What can differences between original and remake tell us about changing cultural contexts, such as advances made by feminist, queer or civil rights movements? Have developments in digital imaging and other production values fundamentally altered television texts? How have stories adapted to incorporate now-common technologies (such as cellphones and surveillance cameras)? Has the rising popularity of narrative "arcs" inflected contemporary versions of older properties? What happens when a remade program is aimed at a different demographic than its predecessor? Any examinations of remade television programs are welcome, from series reboots (Nikita or Hawaii Five-0) to "next generation" franchises (Star Trek, Doctor Who, or Degrassi) to more indirect re-imaginings (the transition from Lois and Clark to Smallville).

Other suggested subjects might include (but are by no means limited to) reworked series such as Charlie's Angels, Knight Rider, Dallas, Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210, V, Wonder Woman, Bionic Woman, My Little Pony, Beauty and the Beast, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Fugitive, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Cupid, The Love Boat, The Twilight Zone, The Addams Family, Tarzan, or Dragnet. Submissions may also be considered for TV versions of films (e.g. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teen Wolf, 10 Things I Hate About You, Friday Night Lights, RoboCop: The Series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles).

Remake Television is intended as a complementary volume to American Remakes of British Television: Transformations and Mistranslations (Lexington Books, 2011), a collection of works that successfully examined the cross-cultural remake phenomenon and larger questions surrounding differences in UK and US cultures and media industries. Remake Television will in turn examine the changing contexts and challenges provided by generational shifts. Contributions are encouraged from scholars working in a wide variety of fields.

Please submit a 250-word abstract and short bio by November 30, 2012. Accepted contributors will be notified by the end of December, with chapters of approximately 5-6000 words due by May 31, 2013. Submissions should be directed to Dr. Carlen Lavigne, Red Deer College,, (403)342-3544