Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why Not Reboot The Critic?

With the reboots of Charlie's Angels and Bewitched in the works and the resurrection of Family Guy and Futurama in the past decade, I started thinking about another series that I would love to see come back to television.

Why not bring back The Critic?

I don't mean bring back The Critic as an animated series. No, I mean bring back The Critic as a live action comedy starring Jon Lovitz, since Jay Sherman was also physically modelled on him in some ways (and Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert too).

The way I was thinking about it was have the events of the original series be canonical, and have everyone age to a somewhat appropriate level, so Jay's sister would be heading towards 30 and his son would be in his early to mid-20's. Of course, those roles would have to be recast from their cartoon counterparts, but that is to be expected, since Nancy Cartwright and Christine Cavanaugh aren't really in keeping with those two characters in real life.

However, the episodes on Atom Films which don't seem to be available anymore would probably not be canon however. But instead of the delightful absurdity that the original cartoon series had, I could see a live action version going in a slightly different direction.

We live in an age where comedy based on awkwardness and geekiness really works and can draw an audience, and Jay Sherman as played by Lovitz seems perfect for this time. Shows like Extras, Louie and the like have set a particular mould for this kind of comedy, but there is one series that I think would provide the real spiritual basis for a live action reboot of The Critic.

I am talking about The Larry Sanders Show, because the way I saw it in my mind, Jay wouldn't work for Duke anymore, but for another cable network, and the drama and comedy behind the scenes of the series, along with his conflicts with other critics as well as actors and directors would drive the show, and going to film festivals and such.

Oh, and he would also be dealing with the internet, because I am sure like many critics, he would also use the internet to propagate his reviews and various other items which interested him, and I could see some of the drama being derived from those interactions.

Of course, if it was actually developed, I'd love to see it get picked up by HBO or Showtime since they both would allow things to go a little further than network television, so the series could really take some well-placed shots at things like torture porn, 3D movies and the like with a little more venom, and with fake clips that could go further in terms of swearing and violence than what a network show would be able to get away with. I don't think you need to go extreme with things, but having that little extra space to work with wouldn't hurt (nor would having to worry about ratings when the series began once again).

I think the world is ready for The Critic to come back.

And I thought it would be fun to see how many people would like that idea too. So I started a Facebook page based on getting people behind this idea at https://www.facebook.com/LiveActionCritic. If you want to join the community, feel free to do so.


Amber said...

I am SO behind this idea. I fall asleep to "The Critic" DVDs a couple of times a month. I'm obsessed with the show and agree that it would be best if this hypothetical reboot had the characters age. Especially that kid from Easter Island--I'd really like to see what he's up to.

Reed Solomon said...

After you die can I eat your brain? It'll give me power.

Anonymous said...

Great idea, but I seriously doubt it would ever come to pass. Being this much of a geek isn't cool, but I love the old show, one of my fav's.

Anonymous said...

Great idea except ... no Duke?! Duke is one of the best characters! Leaving him out of the show would put the writers in a real quyzbuk.

MC said...

Amber: Oh god, the Easter Island kid... how could I forget about him.

Reed: By the time I die, it will be mush... I guess you could drink it through a straw.

Anon 1: I have doubts myself, but it seemed like an idea worth throwing out there.

Anon 2: Just because Charles Napier doesn't look like Duke, and he is the only voice I can imagine that character having.

Anonymous said...

We're the bears that sing for Duke, Do Dah, Do Dah.

Anonymous said...

You know what I think of this idea? It Stinks!

Anonymous said...


But would it take away from the cartoon's legacy? I know it's only two seasons, but it's a sacred testament!!!!

Anonymous said...

Great idea, I used to watch this show constantly when it was on right after The Simpsons. The live version should be hilarious with Jon Lovitz.

Anonymous said...

and make a live action movie of The Simpsons with Bruce Willis as Homer

Jimmy J. Aquino said...

You raise an interesting point about why The Critic should resurface as a live-action show instead of an animated one, but the public doesn't want showbiz parodies with ugly people or losers in it. They want showbiz parodies that are nothing more than lifestyle porn a la Entourage. That's why viewers rejected The Critic twice (first on ABC and then again on Fox), that's why they ignored the hilarious show Party Down and that's why nobody gave a shit about the movie theater webcomic I used to post on my blog.

In the TV show treatment that later evolved into my webcomic, I wanted the show to frequently cut away to clips of lame fake movies like The Critic used to do. The one flaw about Critic reruns--and this is also why it's so difficult to write pop culture-related gags--is that a lot of The Critic's movie parody gags haven't aged well.

But the gags that are more timeless (like a presidential biopic done like a Bond movie--or any scene with Franklin) are just hilarious, and they're a reason why I miss the show.

Also, does Lovitz, who seems to favor stand-up over TV work these days, even want to still play a pasty loser like Jay? He's now the second most famous Orange American male celebrity after John Boehner.

Anonymous said...

dude, was talking about the greatness of this show this morning. But, to be honest, the idea of bringing it back, it stinkssssssssssssssssssss!

Anonymous said...

I've now started watching this show, and it's funny! I would love to see a reboot. But, i'd rather keep it as a cartoon, though. It'd be another great hit for Fox's Animation block (even though they already aired it in the 1990s.)