Unlike in golf, do-overs of your favorite sci-fi and fantasy works generally suck. Not always, no, but it can be hard to improve on perfection. Just ask Johnny Depp about that creepy Willy Wonka re-make, or anyone that’ll acknowledge the Planet of the Apes do-over. So here’s our list of the ones that work
The original Thundercats cartoon was a weird hodgepodge of concepts. Lion-O was a kid who continued to age while his fellow cats slept soundly in suspended animation as they escaped their doomed home planet in a way that has nothing at all in common with Krypton exploding.
The new series, which has only just started and may in fact turn out horrible in the end, has so far surprised fans with a more fleshed out world for the cats to inhabit, underlying moral allegories about racism, family and honor and more importantly, there’s an actual plotline.
V was an event. Like Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica, you didn’t have to have geek cred to watch it and enjoy it. The original was steeped in WWII allegory and served by and large as a parable that warned of complacency with authority and in many parts openly mirrored the plight of Jews in Germany.
The new V took on a similarly hard-hitting subject, at least to start with, by going after post-9/11 paranoia and what it means to be a terrorist. Heavy stuff, especially in a country where being a good citizen requires you to walk barefoot through an airport where people feel you up. It may not stand the test of time like the original, but kudos for not waiting 40 years to tell us Nazis were bad.
3) Teen Titans/Young Justice
Is this a cheat? Probably. But go with it. Teen Titans was a goofy cartoon where Robin and his friends the Teen Titans battle fun aliens and bizarrely powered humans. Making it worse was overly anime stylizations, including speed lines and gravity defying streams of tears. The worst part was that theme song, which ended up netting a cartoon for the band.
Young Justice takes the same premise, but does the whole thing seriously. While Teen Titans was so embarassing the big heroes wouldn’t touch it (ok, they were busy with their own show), this show features cameos by Superman, Batman and most of the Justice League.
2) Masters of the Universe
Like Thundercats, the original had no sense of story. It just happened to be a bunch of heroes fighting with swords and lazers, and the plots sounded like they were submitted by the kids that watched the show.
The updated version remedied this by taking all the elements that fans held on to, like Teela’s relationship with Man-at-Arms, and made a storyline. There was this sense of a potential Lord of the Rings level epic and history to the new world before it was cancelled far too soon, and not the stench of advertising that sours the original.
The only movie in this bunch, 1960’s Batman was about fun and camp. 1980’s Batman was about darkness. 1990’s Batman was about neon and nipples, at least in the eyes of fans.
Christopher Nolan’s do-over of the bat-universe took away this zany crap and has given fans two-thirds of a pretty well liked Batman saga that gave us a Joker every bit as definitive as Jack’s take way back when. Unless he drops the ball with the upcoming movie, this is the current high water mark for bat-films.