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From Drab to Fab: The Epic Transformations of 10 Rebooted Classics in Film & TV

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With reboots being ubiquitous in the entertainment landscape, there are 10 TV shows and movies that greatly stand out by surpassing the originals.

(Alan-Ritchson-as-Jack-Reacher)-from-Reacher-TV-&-(Tom-Cruise-as-Reacher)-from-Jack-Reacher-

SUMMARY

 Reboots like Little Shop of Horrors and The Mummy succeed by infusing fresh elements like musical numbers or a playful adventure tone while honoring the originals.
 Shows like DuckTales and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power elevate the source material with deeper storytelling, complex characters, and meaningful growth arcs.
 Fargo and Battlestar Galactica take established concepts and expand upon them, creating original ensemble crime stories and impactful political allegories, respectively.

Reboots have become a common phenomenon in today’s entertainment landscape, and among them, 10 TV shows and movies stand out not just for embracing this trend but for surpassing the originals. These reboots excel in areas like style, character development, and leaving a lasting legacy.

While remakes often struggle to capture the original magic, some manage to offer a fresh perspective on beloved stories, resulting in something even better. Whether through modernization, deeper character exploration, or advancements in technology, these revivals serve as outstanding examples of remaking classics for a new generation.

Spanning from revamped science fiction epics to reimagined literary heroes, such as the Prime Video hit series Reacher, which is coming back for season 3, these reboots honor their origins while charting distinctive courses.

Despite initial skepticism towards retelling familiar tales, these 10 stories demonstrate that creativity and innovation can thrive even within established franchises. By striking a balance between the old and the new, these remakes not only surpass their source material but also attain iconic status in their own right.

10. Little Shop Of Horrors (1986)

A reboot of the movie Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

The trio singing on the rooftop in Little Shop of Horrors.  Seymour (Rick Moranis) looking at Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors Seymour (Rick Moranis) sweeping in the flower shop in Little Shop of Horrors. Little Shop of Horrors 1960 Little Shop of Horrors 1960

Little Shop of Horrors

R

Release DateDecember 11, 1986
DirectorFrank Oz
CastRick Moranis

The 1986 remake of Little Shop of Horrors builds upon the original by infusing the eccentric story with show-stopping musical numbers. While retaining the quirky spirit of its predecessor, the remake elevates the camp through clever songs penned by Howard Ashman.

Little Shop of Horrors’ 13 songs like “Skid Row” and “Suddenly Seymour” give more dimension to the fantasy world and central romance. Visually vibrant with imaginative plant monster effects and expanded backstories, this remake brings together the best of Broadway and sci-fi. Though the tale remains intact, the addition of a splashy musical allows this new take to thrive.

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9. Dredd (2012)

A reboot of the movie Judge Dredd (1995)

Karl Urban as Judge Dredd pointing his gun in Dredd
Dredd

R

Release DateSeptember 7, 2012
DirectorPete Travis
CastKarl Urban , Rachel Wood , Andile Mngadi , Porteus Xandau Steenkamp , Jason Cope , Emma Breschi

Rather than try to faithfully adapt the sprawling world of the Judge Dredd comics, 2012’s Dredd takes a more focused approach by zeroing in on the gritty action and bleak dystopian setting that defines the property. Trading in glossy production values for a grimy aesthetic, this reboot creates a heightened sense of brutality and dread largely absent from the campy 1995 take.

Led by Karl Urban in one of his best movies as the titular judge, juror and executioner, Dredd trims the fat of previous attempts at adaptation and instead delivers a leaner, sci-fi film.

8. The Mummy (1999)

A reboot of the movie The Mummy (1932)

Rick and Evelyn in The Mummy (1999) Brendan Fraser as Rick in The Mummy (1999) Rick, Evelyn, and Jonathan looking down in the ruins in The Mummy The-Mummy-1932 (1)-1 The-Mummy-1932

The Mummy (1999)

PG-13

Release DateMay 7, 1999
DirectorStephen Sommers
CastBrendan Fraser , Rachel Weisz , John Hannah , Arnold Vosloo , Jonathan Hyde , Kevin J. O’Connor , Oded Fehr

The reboot of the Universal Classic Monster movie, The Mummy, diverges from the slow-burn eeriness of the 1932 original. Instead, it takes the concept of a reanimated ancient evil and transforms it into a playful, fast-paced adventure.

Brendan Fraser’s charismatic lead performance gives the film a dashing hero to counter the sinister supernatural forces at play. While the setting and core monster premise are the same, this revamp shifts styles to model itself after the Raiders of the Lost Ark films rather than classic Hollywood horror. The remake broadens its scope and modernizes its tone.

7. Ducktales (2017-2021)

A reboot of the show Ducktales (1987-1990)

The young ducks pull a rope from DuckTales
DuckTales

Action
Animation
Adventure

Release DateAugust 12, 2017
CastDanny Pudi , Kate Micucci , Toks Olagundoye , David Tennant , Bobby Moynihan , Tony Anselmo , Paget Brewster , Beck Bennett , Ben Schwartz
Seasons3

Though the late-80s DuckTales cartoon had its charms as a colorful episodic adventure series, the 2017 reboot expands the world and characters into a more compelling longform narrative. While retaining the core cast, like mega-rich Scrooge McDuck, this modern update weaves a complex and emotional overarching story arc across its richly-developed characters.

Each character undergoes meaningful growth between the fun action. By striking a balance between serialized storytelling and Saturday morning cartoon zaniness, this reboot elevates the Disney Afternoon classic from a fleeting children’s cartoon to an epic filled with heart. It’s a tale that all ages can now appreciate.

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6. She-Ra And The Princesses Of Power (2018-2020)

A reboot of the show She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985-1987)

She-Ra Princess of Power

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

Adventure

Release DateNovember 3, 2018
CastAimee Carrero , AJ Michalka , Lauren Ash , ND Stevenson
Seasons5

The 2018 She-Ra cartoon thoroughly modernizes the 80s property while retaining its core spirit. Beyond amping up the neon visuals, the reboot expands the worldbuilding and characterization of the Sword of Protection’s wielder and her allies. Beneath the glittering action sequences lies thoughtful commentary on relationships and inclusivity.

An ethnically diverse cast of heroes undertake personal growth journeys, giving representation to a new audience. While still family-friendly, this version allows for more maturity in exploring different plots. Along with the aesthetic overhaul, these advances in representation and emotional depth set the reboot apart.

5. Fargo (2014-Present)

A reboot of the movie Fargo (1996)

Witt Farr waits with the soldiers in Fargo
Fargo

TV-MA
Anthology
Crime
Drama
Comedy
Thriller

Release DateApril 15, 2014
CastBilly Bob Thornton , Allison Tolman , Martin Freeman , Kirsten Dunst , Patrick Wilson , Jesse Plemons , Ewan McGregor , Carrie Coon , Chris Rock , Jessie Buckley , Jason Schwartzman , Juno Temple , Jon Hamm

When adapting the distinct style of the acclaimed Coen Brothers film into a television series, Noah Hawley could have simply rehashed the neo-noir tale. Instead, FX’s Fargo utilizes the 1996 film’s trademark aura of dry Midwestern malice to inform completely original ensemble crime stories across anthology seasons.

With the same peculiar humor and sporadic savagery that marked the Coens’ work, the show expands in scope to develop an eccentric ensemble cast of characters dealing with criminal conspiracies in the snowy setting. Making plenty of witty references, all 5 seasons of Fargo stand as both a loving tribute and a creative reimagining.

4. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

A reboot of the movie Ocean’s Eleven (1960)

Brad Pitt and George Clooney looking cool in Ocean's Eleven.
Ocean’s Eleven

Release DateDecember 7, 2001
DirectorSteven Soderbergh
CastBrad Pitt , Don Cheadle , Julia Roberts , George Clooney , Matt Damon , Andy Garcia

Steven Soderbergh brings his signature slick, stylish direction to the remake of the 1960 heist film Ocean’s Eleven, transforming a largely forgotten crime caper into a critical and commercial smash hit. Installing a magnetic ensemble cast led by George Clooney and Brad Pitt into the casino robbery premise, Soderbergh mines the story for contemporary intrigue and humor. Focusing more wholly on the tense thrills of the intricate heist itself rather than dated elements that had earned the original mixed reviews, this reimagining allows the filmmaker’s kinetic aesthetic to energize the material.

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3. Scarface (1983)

A reboot of the movie Scarface (1932)

Scarface (1983)

Scarface

Release Date: December 9, 1983
DirectorBrian De Palma
CastAl Pacino , Michelle Pfeiffer , Robert Loggia

In the 1983 Scarface film, the narrative shifts to Miami’s 1980s illegal drug trade, departing from the original’s mobster-centric storyline. Al Pacino’s fiery charisma gives a unique energy, portraying a Cuban immigrant’s rise to power through ruthlessness.

Director Brian De Palma’s bold aesthetic emphasizes gripping violence and moral decay, setting the stage for a contemporary take on the American Dream gone wrong. This change in location and time period transforms Scarface into a singularly harrowing and unforgettable crime saga that stands out in its own right.

2: Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)

A reboot of the show Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979)

Four people stand on one side of a desk looking at someone in a chair.

Battlestar Galactica

Release Date: October 18, 2004
Cast: Grace Park , Katee Sackhoff , Mary McDonnell , Tahmoh Penikett , Tricia Helfer , Edward James Olmos , Aaron Douglas , James Callis , Alessandro Juliani , Michael Hogan , Jamie Bamber , Kandyse McClure
Seasons: 4

While the late-70s Battlestar Galactica series capitalized on the sci-fi hype of Star Wars, it lacked nuance beyond laser battles in space. The darker, grittier 2004 reboot elevates the premise into a riveting drama, delving into the depths of human morality.

Fearlessly tackling complex issues such as politics, religion, and survival against encroaching cybernetic enemies, it grounds fantastical space warfare in harsh realism, realizing its full storytelling potential.

Delivering both emotional character journeys and amazing visual effects, the reboot’s bold vision reimagines a space opera into one of television’s most impactful political allegories.

1. Reacher (2022-Present)

A reboot of the movie Jack Reacher (2012)

Alan Ritchson as Jack Reacher in Reacher season 2 Alan Ritchson looking serious as Jack Reacher in Reacher Jack, O'Donnell and Dixon looking at something below in Reacher Jack Reacher: Never Go Back - Tom Cruise handcuffed in a diner while Jason Douglas looks at his ID Jack Reacher with Tom Cruise

Reacher

Release Date: February 4, 2022

Cast: Malcolm Goodwin , Maria Sten , Willa Fitzgerald , Bruce McGill , Chris Webster , Alan Ritchson
Seasons: 2

Ditching the oversized theatrics of Tom Cruise as the titular character in the 2012 film, Jack Reacher, the Amazon Prime series adaptation returns to the gritty roots of the book franchise. Alan Ritchson aligns closely with author Lee Child’s description of the wandering ex-military police officer.

The show switches from superficial, flashy action, opting for scenes steeped in simmering tension and mystery. More importantly, the episodic format allows the supporting characters and Reacher’s relationships greater room for nuance beyond typical action genre caricatures. This TV rendition prioritizes grounded personalities and investigations true to the novels.


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