Career lessons from TV’s reboot season

It seems like you can’t flip through TV or movie listings without hitting a somewhat updated version of a movie or show. But why? With all the creativity in the world, why are there so many rehashed formulas instead of brand-new offerings? Based on ratings or preference, people seem to enjoy watching something they already know and love – or at the very least are comfortable enough with so they don’t automatically switch the channel or binge something else.

In no particular order, here are some recent reboots and some career takeaways to consider:

A star is reborn

Depending on who you spoke with, modern film purists either salivated or balked when this one was announced. After all, hadn’t Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson already created the perfect version of the tragic love story? Well, yeah. But so, had Janet Gaynor and Frederic March and Judy Garland and James Mason. Because not only had A Star is Born been filmed before, this is the 4th iteration of the tale of doomed lovers.

Reboot career lesson learned: While repeating yourself at work isn’t always the smartest option, sometimes it is. If you’re planning the annual holiday party and remember everyone loving the venue or décor menu of the party four years ago, feel free to revisit. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day of your working life, you just have to make sure that the newest version is on par with or superior in some way to the one that came before.

Charmed, I’m sure

When Charmed debuted in the ’90s it told the story of an imperfect trio of sisters who happened to also be witches. Sure, there were underlying messages of sisterhood is powerful, but there were also the usual searches for love and somewhat magically available careers. On the other hand, when Sabrina the Teenage Witch debuted as a comic book character in Archie comics, she was most often portrayed as ditzy and adorable and happened to possess the gift of magic. In Netflix’s dark and murky reboot, she also battles issues of her potential dark side, bullying, sexuality, and choice.

Reboot career lesson learned: It’s almost spooky that the stories of young, powerful women (in this case witches) are making their way back to the small screen. In a post #MeToo era, the TV landscape is shifting – however slowly – to include characters that are smart, fierce and talented, featuring women in the leading roles. If you’ve ever felt like your industry wasn’t friendly to the idea of a woman supervisor or boss, perhaps it’s time to make a case for more women in your workplace.

We are family

Roseanne Barr is no stranger to controversy, but a racist comment a few months back endangered not only her own career, but also potentially put the careers of her coworkers at risk. In a move lauded by many, the producers of the show fired its star, but the show was left with an uncertain future. Fast forward a few months and the formerly female-led Roseanne had morphed into The Conners. In some ways, nothing had changed. A show about a family became more so.

Reboot career lesson learned: As career inspiration goes, there was an incredibly valuable takeaway from the Roseanne story. No one is indispensable and nearly everyone is replaceable. Even if your name is on the door or letterhead, you must keep defining yourself as the person worth doing business with. And remember to protect your team, or they might just move on without you.

And a misfire

Back in the ’80s, Tom Selleck embodied the role of TV private investigator Magnum P.I. complete with loud aloha shirts and his iconic ‘stache. Selleck exuded charm while sharing crackling online chemistry with co-star John Hillerman. In the reboot, actor Jay Hernandez is surrounded by the same lush surroundings and has a posh bachelor pad to boot. Only it doesn’t work. Or at least it doesn’t work as a reboot of a show that relied as much on its cast as its surroundings. And unlike Hawaii Five-0 that somehow managed to recreate a wildly popular procedural, this version pretty much falls flat.

Reboot career lesson learned: Don’t try to cram yourself into the wrong role. If your boss or coworkers try to force you to assume responsibilities that feel like a bad fit, speak up. And then find a way to shine instead of trying to be an imitation of somebody else’s glory days.