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Profile:翻拍经典剧费力不讨好? Why remaking TV classics stinks?
Princess Huanzhu comes back on the small screen after a decade. But wait, it's not the same old princess. The rehashed 90s classic, with a revised storyline and a new cast, is almost pissing off the whole country.

A survey on Sina Weibo shows that 94 percent of respondents voted against the new version.

"There can be only one Princess Huanzhu, and that is Zhao Wei," claimed Jiang Yue, 24, a new graduate from Sichuan University.

The new Princess Huanzhu is not the exception which proves the rule: as a general thing, remaking classic TV shows is a truly bad idea.

TV shows based on old classics can often end up falling flat.

The remake of A Dream of Red Mansions last year, for example, was savaged by critics and savvy viewers across the country. In the United States, there was Knight Rider and Melrose Place. Neither of the modern remakes of the previous hits got a second season because of poor ratings.

而造成这种局面的罪魁祸首并不是差劲的明星或拙劣的制作。纽约雪城大学的罗伯特 J. 汤姆生教授相信,大多数翻拍剧集之所以失败是因为制片人忽视了那些最初让这些剧集火起来的因素。
And it's not because of bad talent or poor execution. Professor Robert J. Thompson of Syracuse University, New York, believed most TV remakes fail because the producers missed what it was about these shows that made them a hit in the first place.

"The identity of a hit TV series is so intimately tied to the original stars, style and attitude that made it a hit in the first place that any deviation from that creates a real sense of aesthetic dissonance," said Thompson to The New York Times.

Jessica Rae, lead writer of the US TV blog Small Screen Scoop, takes it further. She says much of the problem lies with romancing the past.

Even if an original show wasn't that good, it can seem almost sacrilege to have new people playing these parts. "We remember it as better than it was, so it's hard to compete," Rae says.

When the entertainment industry constantly messes up our memories of classic shows, people question if there is a huge crisis of new ideas in the industry.

"Remaking old shows because you have no new original ideas or innovation is cheesy," said an Internet user named Alexandra Nakelski. "All of those remakes are a sad testimony to the death of creativity."

Well, there's only one way that the entertainment industry can strike back: give us some really good, new, original shows, please!
(China.org.cn, 21世纪英文报, August 4, 2011)

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