'Girl Meets World' & 'The IT Crowd': The Cost of Nostalgia

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The nostalgia trip is on. With the recent news of Disney Channel’s official order of Girl Meets World, a sequel series to Boy Meets World starring Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel reprising their roles of Cory and Topanga, the show is yet another in the growing line of reboots in television.

From Arrested Development’s latest run on Netflix to The IT Crowd’s confirmed return special, audiences are finding fresh coats of gloss on their old favorites. Since Family Guy’s return in 2005, studios have gradually been finding the financial benefit in what feature film studios have know for much longer: nostalgia means profits.

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'Girl Meets World' // Photo by Eric McCandless, Disney Channel

As great it will be to hear the words, “Feeny!” once again, it presumably bears an omen similar to the state of modern movies. Sequels saturate the box office and reboots of classics are now highly lauded properties. Arguably, the resurgence of quality scripted television and its increased budgets could be due in great part to the stalled creativity in feature films.

Television characters are family members, piped through cathode ray into our living rooms each week, even accessible at all hours if chosen. A run of three or more seasons allows for full breadth in a character’s development. A run of seven seasons or more lasts longer than most relationships.

Despite lukewarm critical reception of Netflix’s Arrested Development, studios will continue to perpetuate the drudging cycle of creative output. Television has afforded longtime directors the opportunity to create stories that would never see the light of day in the film industry – yes, Neil Jordan’s The Borgias and David Fincher’s American take on House of Cards deserve plugs here.

Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men proves that fits of nostalgia have their place in original content. Much of the AMC showrunner’s latest season features historical pop culture occurrences complimented by the ad agency and its employees’ storylines.

Netflix may have created a safe house for some of the industry’s most creative minds looking to explore the television waters, but this promising Golden Age of television could soon be muddled by our fascination with the days of yore.

What television series would you most like to see make a return?

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