On the heels of NBC cancelling its remake of Ironside comes news that the network is picking up an option on another Universal property, and making the same mistake that doomed reboots of Ironside and, before it, Kojak.
This time, it's Murder, She Wrote which will have an urban twist by casting Octavia Spencer ("The Help") as mystery writer/amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher, only this time Jessica's primary vocation is as a hospital administrator who self-published her first novel, and now wants to play detective on the side.
I was talking with my brother via telephone last night, and we talked about how Universal keeps making the same mistake over and over with their reboots. They're choosing series that were "star-driven", such as Murder, which was built around Angela Lansbury for 12 seasons, or Ironside, which was originally a comeback vehicle for Raymond Burr, a couple of years after Perry Mason ended. Oh, if only we had known about this one.
My bro noted how CBS' reboot of Hawaii Five-0 has succeeded to this point, much like the original did, because of 1) location, and 2) an ensemble cast. It wasn't a star vehicle like the others that have been redone. NBC & Universal, and the other networks and their studio parents, for that matter, should take a long look at Five-0's success, even though CBS made a bonehead move shifting it to Fridays this year, and try to consider rebooting other ensemble series from the Universal library. The only reboot Universal succeeded with was Battlestar Galactica, another ensemble drama that lasted 5 seasons on SyFy. Why not try something in that direction?
For what it's worth, whomever's in charge of green-lighting these reboots for Universal and/or NBC should spend more time in the video library, and not come out until they have something that can be usable and marketable in this era that isn't star-driven. Yeah, I know. Good luck with that.