As I rule, I'm not usually a huge fan of remakes, and I especially hate the 'reboot' term as a way of trying to disguise a reinventing of a previous vision as somehow your own piece of imagination. Also, I really take issue with things being redone almost immediately (I'm talking to you Spiderman). So, with that said, I'd like to rave for a bit about a few remakes that have been exceptionally good of late.
Two episodes into the new Thundercats and I'm pretty much ready to declare it the best American cartoon since Avatar: The Last Airbender. The look of the characters is great. The story is dark and brutal in the opening, the way a story of this nature should be. There's a focus on character and story arch that avoids cartoon cliche. So far they are making a true middle grade series without pandering down. Even Willykit and Willykat, the comic relief, are realistic in their humor. I hope the series stays this good throughout because I already can't wait for the next episode.
Another cartoon that has been airing this year is G.I. Joe Renegades. I was nervous about this show given the terrible movie of two summers ago. Plus, the movie was a 'reboot' that changed the traditional story, rewriting the origins and creation of the key players. So when that was a disappointment, the idea of redoing it all over again with even newer origins kind of made me angry. I gave it a shot anyway and after a few episodes, it totally won me over. Again, this is darker than the original and presented in very comic book fashion. The characters have some depth, which is more than can really be said for any previous G.I. Joe incarnation. I also like the serialized nature of the show, building with each episode into a bigger story (something that is also true for the Thundercats so far). This show works much better than the Transformers cartoon that airs in the same hour block.
Lastly, I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes yesterday and thought it was really well done. I admit to being nervous about it given the disaster that was the Tim Burton remake several years ago. Thankfully, this movie had no connection to that and avoided all the stylization. I was impressed with how realized Caesar was as a character. There were moments of CGI overload, but other than that, it was a very good. It didn't try to be an overkill action movie, instead electing to attempt a thought provoking story within the context of action.
Despite my praise here for these projects, I'd still like to see more original ideas getting a chance to thrive. Remakes, reboots, reinventions, etc...They are all simply an easy way out for studios and networks. It's much easier to advertise and market something with a recognized name and potentially built-in audience than to create entirely new franchises out of the literally thousands of amazing books that have never been made into movies or television shows. It worries me that soon we'll reach a time when the slogan will be 'Everything New is Old Redone.'