Could these 5 other TGIF shows be rebooted?
It’s official: Full House is back! Or rather, Fuller House is here, and though critics certainly don’t seem as swept up in Tannermania, the air is thick with TGIF nostalgia from fans raised on the ’90s cheery family comedy.
Between the anticipation for Netflix’s Fuller House and the tween success of Boy Meets World spin-off Girls Meets World on Disney Channel (and, while we’re on the subject, the restarting of everything from Gilmore Girls to Arrested Development to Prison Break to The X-Files), we’re in a reboot rage, so the question must be asked: Which inevitable TGIF revival is coming next?
EW’s oral history of ABC’s beloved Friday night comedy block provided us the opportunity to check in with a few players from the lineup, who offered some perspective about whether we can expect shows like Step By Step, Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, and Dinosaurs to see the light of day once again.
HANGIN’ WITH MR. COOPER
“We would love to do a reboot,” says Holly Robinson Peete, who played Mark Curry’s romantic roomie Vanessa on the 1992–1997 sitcom. “When we saw Fuller House, we called Jeff Franklin [who produced both Full House and Cooper] right away to say, ‘Let’s get this going.’ ” Peete remains close to Curry and says the two of them have frequently talked about getting Cooper back on the court. “I don’t know if other cast members would do it,” she says. “Unfortunately, we lost Nell Carter. I have no idea whether Raven [Symoné] would ever consider it. But Mark and I are down, and I feel like there could be enough interest to reboot it and see what happens years later. There’s a sense of ‘90s nostalgia that there’s this insatiable appetite for. Everywhere I go, I still get that, now more than ever.”
SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH
Reboot fever won’t be casting a spell on Melissa Joan Hart, who played the post-pubescent occultist from 1996–2003. “People keep asking about a reboot, but I think Sabrina ended on a perfect, perfect note,” says Hart, describing the show’s ending where Sabrina “drives off on the back of Harvey’s moped, in a wedding dress, and we kiss and we ride off to Gwen Stefani singing. Honestly, you can’t ask for a better ending. It’s such a classic, like, John Hughes ending. If we did a reboot, how are you going to beat that ending? You can’t mess with that. You can’t go back and do that better. So you just want to leave it like it is.”
Fans got a mini-tease of a reunion this past winter when the erstwhile Winslows, Reginald VelJohnson and Jo Marie Payton, reunited (playing different characters, of course) on Lifetime’s The Flight Before Christmas. However, it’s hard to imagine a full-scale Family Matters revival that doesn’t hinge on the return of the show’s breakout mega-star, Steve Urkel … and actor Jaleel White probably isn’t likely to reprise the role anytime soon. Speaking about Family Matters’ coffin-sealing 1997 move to CBS, White tells EW, “I always tell people [regarding] Family Matters, if I was an animated character and not a human being I’d still be on the air right now, but I had to grow up. I had to grow up, and physically I could feel myself losing control of what made the character funny.”
White, for the record, has a massive soft spot for Urkel, and has even played with his persona in a recent Toyota commercial, but he’s aware how fans have interpreted his distance from the character in the past decade and a half. “It’s tough because I don’t really like talking about the character too much in certain circumstances, only because I feel like I’m talking about the day. If you wanted to talk about your favorite dead aunt and somebody says anything disrespectful, you would get hot,” he says. “But those are some of the best years of my life. I’m very respectful of that time period … everything has a shelf life.”
STEP BY STEP
Patrick Duffy is enthusiastically in favor of Step by Step by Step — especially if it explores the idea of Frank and Carol (Suzanne Somers) as vibrant and, yes, frisky grandparents. “What’s interesting now, being in my late sixties and happily married and sexually active … without it getting the ick factor, it feeds very well into sitcom genre to explore that,” says the actor. “There are things to be mined there, to bring back children that are now parents themselves, and then you still have a relationship that’s got some juice between grandma and grandpa. I think society has developed far enough that that can be done as a family comedy. There are millions of people in my age range who feel that way and it would be scriptable. It would be fun to see something like that.” While Duffy doesn’t believe that the show’s producers have ever “seriously considered” a Step by Step revival, he says he and Somers are both game. “Every time we see each other, we say, ‘Let’s do a show again!’ Because we had so much fun. She’s my second wife, you know?” says Duffy. “We would work together in a heartbeat.”
And if this were ever to come to fruition, Duffy is interested not in picking up where things left off, but how the last two decades impacted and changed these characters. “If we rebooted Step by Step, Frank has to be in his late sixties. I wouldn’t want to do a reboot where Frank thinks he’s still 45 years old and a stud muffin. It’s so much fun to say, ‘Who is this person 25 years later? What has he gone through?’ ” says Duffy, who is no stranger to new beginnings, having starred in the original Dallas series and the 2012–2014 reboot. “Would Cody be a potbellied whatever? Or would he be like Sasha [Mitchell] now, who is a totally in-shape guy? It’s fun to consider all that. Christine Lakin is actually pregnant now. [Her character Al] who had the pet pig is now going to have a baby! That’s brilliant right there. And then Frank would just wonder, ‘Who’s the guy who touched my daughter?’ You can just go anywhere with it.”
A second life for the live-action puppet Dinosaurs would require a narrative save of Jurassic proportions, considering that the beloved Sinclair family literally went up in asteroid-induced flames in the extinction-friendly series finale. “Once, [ABC president Ted Harbert] called me and said, ‘Over my dead body are you killing that baby dinosaur,’ ” executive producer Michael Jacobs recounts of the final episode in 1994. “I said, ‘Ted, they went extinct! I didn’t do it. If you’re going to cancel the show, I’m going to cancel the dinosaurs.’ He laughed, and we put together certainly one of the more memorable finales on television.” The odds seem low for another run with Dinosaurs, but consider: Jacobs has brought back Girl Meets World, and Jim Henson’s creations are back again with ABC’s The Muppets, suggesting that the key players aren’t allergic to the word ‘reboot.’ Hey, if Jurassic Park can do it …