This is an interesting question for me. I think it’s fair to say that we have more options now than we’ve ever had before. That’s absolutely a net positive. No longer do you have to suffer through my strange TV shows and I don’t have to be bored by your stupid shows. Excellent.
So then what, if anything, is the problem? Is it because they are putting in left wing values? Well, that depends in my opinion. I see nothing wrong with them making new shows that push their values. After all, most of the shows up until now have been pushing right wing values for the most part. It’s only fair they get their own shows. But is that what they are doing? Not really. There are some new shows that have their values, but for the most part what they are doing is trying to take right wing shows and now make them left wing. And that, my friends, is the problem.
One of the best examples of this is what they have done to the heroes of both the Marvel and DC universes. Captain America, Batman, Captain Marvel, Thor, She-hulk, and Superman have all been co-opted to now say and do things things that are pretty antithetical to the very things they stood for just 10 years ago. Remember when they didn’t have Superman say “Truth, justice, and the American way”? Did anybody watch the new Batman show Batwoman? Apparently not. Got canceled pretty quick. Batgirl was so bad it didn’t even get a straight to DVD release. This is what they do instead of making a new superhero that has their values. Of course there is a reason why they do this. They have tried making new superheros that has their values and what happens? They fail. Hard. Because the values they want to push are no where near as popular as they claim they are.
But it’s not just superhero movies where we have seen this. How many remakes have we seen recently? I believe Quantum Leap is supposed to premier this week sometime. How many of our favorite shows have just been rehashed? Hawaii Five-O, Bionic Woman, The Twilight Zone, MacGyver, Battlestar Galactica, Saved by the Bell, Made About You, Charmed, Night Court, etc, etc, etc. Now I’m not automatically saying that all those shows were bad or are going to be bad. For example, I love both versions of Battlestar Galactica. However, I would be lying if I said that the values portrayed in both versions are the same. Again, not necessarily a bad thing. Some of those shows did have some negative values. Sexism, racism, classism, etc. but that’s not what was at the heart of the show. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. There have been a couple of extremely popular shows that have come out recently that, I believe, are great examples of how to take a great show of the past and build on it, instead of tossing it in the garbage. The best example of this is the show built off of the Karate Kid Franchise. Now lets be honest, they already tried this before. And both of those movies failed miserably despite even having someone as awesome as Jackie Chan in it. So what makes Cobra Kai such a popular show? This is where I’ll go back to what I was talking about before. Even with those negative values, what was still at the heart of all the good shows was the most positive part of humanity. Love. Now I don’t mean just romance here, although that is part of it. I’m talking about whatever form of love is at the center of that particular episode. The shows from the 80s and 90s did this extremely well. Often to the point where we would call them cheesy, but we didn’t care.
So lets talk about Cobra Kai. What is the show about? Karate? I mean that’s a huge part of it. But that’s not the heart of the show. The rivalry between Johnny and Daniel and their students? Again, that’s a plot line but still not the heart of the show. So what is the heart of the show? Relationships. That’s really what the show is about. Relationships between the teachers and their students. Relationships between friends and family. And the relationship or rivalry of Cobra Kai and Miyagi-do. That’s what keeps us watching. That’s why we keep coming back. It’s not the Karate. Plenty of shows have better martial arts in them. It’s because the show has heart. And that’s what we crave. It’s easy to see this. Why is it that so many people watch Hallmark movies around Christmas time? They aren’t amazing movies by any stretch of the imagination. Every single one is basically the same. So why do millions of people watch them then? It’s not difficult to understand. It’s obvious. We feel it when the movie is over. And when shows deviate from this and focus on something else we stop watching. That’s what happened to Doctor Who. They decided to focus more on intersectionality and fighting the patriarchy. And I’m sure you can guess what happened to the ratings.