The problem with Hollywood and television using the word ‘reboot’ to describe new movies and TV shows is that ‘reboot’ isn’t an accurate term for them.
For example, the CW’s reboot “Charmed.”
Despite that, I was hopeful that the retro-themed reboot would have a connection to the original show in some form since the original set of characters’ family was from the New England region.
Yet, the creators chose to scrap the retro theme for a contemporary mid-Western theme. The series creators of the reboot described the reboot as a “fierce, funny, feminist reboot of the original series.” The statement caused a backlash because it undermined the original series that had the same elements of being fierce and funny with a strong feminist tone to it.
As a fan of the 1998-2006 “Charmed” series, the only thing that the reboot does any justice is by having a multicultural cast including Puerto Rican, Afro-Caribbean, and Indigenous Canadian descents instead of whitewashing the series. Personally speaking, I think this is where the reboot holds its power: by showing women of color that they can go toe-to-toe with what might be a predominantly white demonic opponent.
“Roswell, New Mexico,” another CW “reboot,” is set to premiere in 2019 as a mid-season pickup for the CW and is no longer set in high school, unlike the original 1999 series “Roswell.”
Based off of the first promo video for the series, it seems to have a better concept for a series in comparison to “Charmed.” Especially since according to a TV guidepost, Liz’s father is an undocumented immigrant.
The inclusion of the timely topic of immigration issue adds more value to the series. Especially since the series can, hopefully in a tasteful way, play off the which kind of alien are you talking about: one from a different country or one from a different planet.
News outlets like The New York Times are using the term ‘reboot’ over what the more appropriate term of “reimagined.” The reason why ‘reimagined” would have been a term for “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is because the new series uses the 2014 comics of the same name for its source material.
Like its current CW companion series “Riverdale,” not everything from the comics will make it from the comic pages to the series. Yet, unlike “Charmed,” “Roswell, New Mexico,” and the majority of reboots, the new Sabrina series doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, while trying to stay true to the original series in some fashion.
Instead, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is changing the tone that “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” had.
If being able to binge watch the series is the worst thing about it, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is already a more successful reboot compared to others currently on the air. Especially since the series is exploring pansexuality with the character Ambrose Spellman and has a transgender character named Susie.
The inclusion of these two characters and not using their sexual orientation or gender identity signifies that the series sees them as people over just plot devices to bring in viewers.
This is what an excellent reboot does: it takes the original, find ways to update it and make it its own show. Some reboots, like “Charmed,” only shake up the formula a bit while retaining a fair amount of the original show’s elements. Others like the “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” give us something new to admire and fall in love with, which is why the introduction of reboots often differs.