There’s probably a place on TV for a program about the misadventures of a robotic tyke, but here’s hoping someone comes up with a better idea than rehashing 1985’s “Small Wonder.” Vicki, aka VICI (Voice Input Child Identicant), was an animatronic child created to knock out household chores in record time. When her creator, Ted Lawson, decided to keep his project on the down-low, Vicki became the expressionless, creepy daughter he never had. Somehow this attempted comedy lasted four long seasons, despite writers’ habit of replaying the same Vicki-takes-things-literally joke over and over again.
While most of Steve Bochco’s body of work, which includes top cop classics “Hill Street Blues” and “NYPD Blue,” is worth a take-two, the same can’t be said for his cheesy musical effort, “Cop Rock.” Sans song, police dramas are always a safe bet, but once the guys on the beat pull out their keyboards and start singing about the perps, as they did in this 1990 flop (“We had a 187 at the 7-11, on the corner of 4th and Main / Two Caucasians of the male persuasion put a bullet through the cashier’s brain”), well, it just sort of ruins the moment.
‘B.J. and the Bear’
In the late ’70s, several popular film and television themes were so big they made a show like “B.J. and the Bear” almost inevitable. Running from the bumbling lawman was all the rage. Engaging in some sassy talk on the CB radio left audiences in stitches. And nothing was cooler than having a chimpanzee sidekick (except maybe having an orangutan sidekick). It all meshed together for wacky trucker hijinks. Try timewarping that for the 21st century. Bringing back B.J. McKay and his furry buddy wouldn’t just be a bad idea; it would be nearly impossible.
‘My Mother the Car’
Sometimes it’s easy to tell how ill-advised a remake would be just by looking at how ill-advised the original was. Case in point: 1965’s “My Mother the Car.” The plot revolved around David Crabtree and his mother, who, as the title suggests, died and came back as a vintage touring car. The show never really explained how or why Gladys underwent an automotive transformation, but instead focused on David’s constant efforts to keep his pristine 1928 Porter matriarch out of the hands of a nefarious car collector. Yes, it was as bad as it sounds.
With the special effects available today, a remake of the bizarre changeling drama “Manimal” would look a heck of a lot better than it did in 1983. But even the best CGI wouldn’t make it worth watching. The story of Jonathan Chase, who mastered “the secrets that divide man from animal, animal from man,” was little more than a standard crime-fighting premise with a twist — he could turn into any critter he wanted. Neat enough, but really, how many crime scenarios can only be resolved by having a panther or horse on hand?