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Look back at the unsuccessful history of TV networks trying to relaunch former hits

1 of 18 A&E, The Kobal Collection


A&E's The Returned, a remake of the excellent French series Les Revenants, is the latest in a long line of TV remakes. But reboots haven't always fared so well. Click ahead to check out some of the biggest failures -- and a few that found (moderate) success.

2 of 18 NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images; Will Hart/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

Ironside (NBC)

We can totally understand why, in 1967, a weekly cop procedural about an emotionally and physically scarred detective in a wheelchair would be hailed as ahead of its time. But these days, damaged anti-heroes like Detective Robert T. Ironside come a dime a dozen, which means the NBC update needed to add something a little more to make it stand out in the crowd. Sadly, the 2013 reboot was a dull shadow of its predecessor right from the start, which is why it only lasted three episodes before getting pulled off the air.

3 of 18 ABC Photo Archive/Getty Images; Bob D'amico/ABC Photo Archive/Getty Images

Charlie's Angels (ABC)

The original series, which ran from 1976 to 1981 on ABC, may have been dubbed "Jiggle TV," but it also became a top 10 series with its depiction of female empowerment. However, the very short-lived ABC reboot in 2011 died after only four episodes due to low ratings. In addition to critics complaining about the poor performances and confusing story lines, there was also a distinct lack of chemistry between the new angels -- played by Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor and Annie Ilonzeh -- and their hunky Bosley (Ramon Rodriguez).

4 of 18 Frank Carroll/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images; Byron Cohen/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

Knight Rider (NBC)

Don't hassle The Hoff -- or his show. Desperate to climb out of fourth place, NBC hoped to ride on the success of its classic shows, but while the original Knight Rider was amusing and campy with heart, the short-lived 2008 reboot -- starring Justin Bruening as Michael Knight's son and Val Kilmer as the voice of KITT -- was as soulless as the Ford models shamelessly hawked on-screen. Here's a piece of advice to network brass: Don't commission a series because you signed an endorsement deal.

5 of 18 ABC Photo Archive/Getty Images; Carol Segal/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

Bionic Woman (NBC)

David Eick successfully revamped Battlestar Galactica into a 21st century favorite, but he couldn't do the same for another '70s sci-fi series. Part of the fun of Lindsay Wagner's Six Million Dollar Man spin-off was its delightful cheesiness, but Eick & Co. opted to toss that out the window in favor of overwrought drama and fembot action that a woefully uncharismatic Michelle Ryan failed to pull off in the 2007 reboot. (You already know how we feel about her accent!) The only good part of the show? Katee Sackhoff, whose engaging evil bionic woman makes us wonder why she wasn't cast in the titular role in the first place.

6 of 18 ABC Photo Archive/Getty Images; Splash News

Wonder Woman (NBC)

For a modern reboot, NBC's Wonder Woman pilot (which, thankfully, never made it onto the schedule) felt incredibly out of date. Whether she was lamenting the pressures of being a hero or moping while watching The Notebook, Diana's struggles felt cliché and contrived. Everything from the characters to the mythology felt flat and lacked any of the modern self-awareness needed to avoid being a cheese-fest. Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman gets a pass on the cheese (it was made during the '70s, after all), but even with it, the original series seemed to be much more progressive than anything David E. Kelley attempted.

7 of 18 Granada Television/Everett Collection; Adam Taylor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

Prime Suspect (NBC)

American audiences wholeheartedly rejected this adaptation of the British series, which swapped Maria Bello for Helen Mirren as the lead detective. Viewers never connected with Bello -- and her cringe-worthy fedora -- as the off-putting Det. Jane Timoney, and the highly anticipated series hemorrhaged viewers week after week until it was canceled after just one 13-episode season. (The British series, meanwhile, ran for seven seasons and ended in 2006.)

8 of 18 NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images; Paul Archulets/FilmMagic

Rockford Files (NBC)

Co-created by super-producer Stephen J. Cannell, the 1974 original ran for six seasons, thanks to the tough, gritty charm of James Garner, who played the titular private detective who, after serving time for a wrongful conviction, struggles to make ends meet by solving cold cases. Although NBC hired House creator David Shore to write a new version starring Dermot Mulroney, the project never got beyond the pilot stage. Insiders cited bad direction and Mulroney's miscasting as reasons for the project's failure.

9 of 18 NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images; David Eustace/ABC Photo Archive/Getty Images

Dragnet (ABC)

The success of the original series, which was perhaps the godfather of all police procedurals, came down to one thing: the stone-faced, "Just the facts, ma'am" demeanor of star and producer Jack Webb's Joe Friday. And even though the 2003 remake was produced by the modern king of crime shows, Law & Order mastermind Dick Wolf, the show might have been cursed from the start by casting Ed O'Neill, whom many still saw as Al Bundy, in the straight-laced lead role. Though the show changed its name to LA: Dragnet during its shortened second season, only 22 episodes ever aired in the states. Dum-dah-dum-dum, indeed.

10 of 18 ABC Archive/Getty Images; ABC

Cupid (ABC)

Even though the original 1998 series was canceled after only one season, it was almost universally loved by the few who watched it. We can't say the same for the update, which had some big wings to fill. Sadly, Bobby Cannavale's Trevor, a man who claims he's been sent to earth to match 100 couples, never achieved the rapscallion charm of Jeremy Piven's take on the role. Even worse, the new Trevor and his psychiatrist Claire (Sarah Paulson) lacked the necessary chemistry for what was destined to be Match No. 100. The unfortunate casting just left us feeling annoyed, and we missed the perfect pairing of The Pretenders' "Human" as the original series' theme song. After only seven episodes, the new Cupid was canceled and sent back to Mt. Olympus.

11 of 18 NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images, FOX/Everett Collection

Get Smart (Fox)

The 1995 revamp missed the mark by "that much." Although Don Adams and Barbara Feldon returned to reprise their roles as the bumbling Agent 86 and his lovely wife 99, respectively, the casting was the only thing this series had in common with the original '60s hit. The magic of that goofy humor just couldn't be recaptured, and Andy Dick as the Smarts' son Zach was more cringe-worthy than fun. Low ratings and the fact that Dick had already signed on for News Radio spelled its doom. The series was taken off the case after only seven episodes.

12 of 18 CBS /Landov, UPN/Everett Collection

The Twilight Zone (UPN)

This 2002 reboot of Rod Serling's science fiction anthology series put Forest Whitaker in Serling's narrator/host role. And despite drawing a diverse group of talented names, including Jason Alexander, Usher, Katherine Heigl, and Jeremy Piven, the show ran only for one season, two years fewer than a previous CBS revival in 1985. Perhaps today's viewers aren't as easily spooked as they were in the '60s. But that isn't stopping CBS and Bryan Singer from trying to revive the franchise yet again.

13 of 18 Darren Star Productions/FOX Television/Spelling Television/Kobal Collection, Michael Desmond/The CW/Landov

Melrose Place (The CW)

No matter how crazy or soapy it got (or perhaps because of its wild plots) the original Fox drama lasted seven seasons, launched many careers and remains a talked-about series to this day. Unfortunately, by the time the tamer reboot debuted, America seemed tired of watching pretty rich kids do wild things on Gossip Girl and fellow reboot 90210. Not even bringing Heather Locklear's Amanda Woodward halfway through the show's first (and only) season could save the show. In fact, the show's efforts to tie the story into the original characters' backstories probably alienated the new generation.

14 of 18 Spelling/The Kobal Collection, Michael Desmond/The CW/Landov

90210 (The CW)

Although Melrose was a complete failure, 90210 managed to find enough success to stay on the air for five seasons. After moving away from the show's initial plan to keep some original cast members floating around West Bev High, the show found a way to balance the guilty pleasure fun (pretty much anything involving Naomi) and the ridiculous (pretty much anything involving Annie). It wasn't a monster hit, but it certainly worked better than many one-and-done reboot attempts.

Click ahead to see a few more successes.

15 of 18 CBS/Landov, Norman Shapiro/CBS

Hawaii Five-0 (CBS)

CBS took viewers back to Hawaii in 2010 with a "re-imagining" of the hit show that ran from 1968 to 1980. (A pilot for a different reboot, starring Gary Busey and Russell Wong, was filmed in 1996 but never aired.) Now in its fourth season, the new H50 has found its own footing and given viewers a new Steve and "Danno" to love, but has also retained some elements from its predecessor -- including the same theme song, and several guest appearances by members of the original cast.

16 of 18 CBS/Landov, TNT

Dallas (TNT)

Back in the late '70s and early '80s, Dallas' weekly dose of bed-hopping, backstabbing and big hair proved irresistible to viewers. And let's not forget jaw-dropping plot twists like the classic "Who Shot J.R.?" cliff-hanger. Although the new TNT version ditched the shoulder pads and Aqua Net, the reboot has managed to serve up delicious story lines (Surprise pregnancies! Cheating spouses! Fake identities!) week after week, all while seamlessly incorporating so many of the beloved characters -- Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy), Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) and the late J.R. Ewing (the late Larry Hagman) -- that made the original so great.

17 of 18 ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Image, Frank Ockenfels/Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Battlestar Galactica (Syfy)

Syfy's re-imagined Battlestar Galactica took the characters and premise from the original and transplanted both into a much grittier, complex world. While the 1978 BSG has its hokey charms, Ronald D. Moore used the series as a sophisticated examination of human psychology, politics and religion. Strong writing and a stellar cast made the show a long-running critical success. So say we all.

18 of 18 Herb Ball/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images, Sergei Bachlakov/ABC via Getty Images


The original 1983 miniseries found success because it was both a political thriller and Nazi allegory that also incorporated a sci-fi element that appealed to the Star Wars craze. The miniseries went on to spawn a sequel and a television series, which was abruptly canceled after one season. The 2009 ABC reboot rode on the coattails of Lost after snagging Elizabeth Mitchell as the lead and created its own allegory of politics in a post-9/11 world. The show also made good use of familiar faces from the original, including Jane Badler and Marc Singer.