I’ll admit, my memory of what few Munsters reruns I may have seen in my lifetime is vague, so my interest in a remake of the series was marginal at best... until I saw the name Bryan Fuller attached to it. It’s my perception that The Munsters, like The Addams Family, was what passed for dark humor in the ’60’s. And who does dark humor in today’s television better than Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies creator, Bryan Fuller? At the very least, the man has proven to find the colorful side to the subject of death, and there’s certainly something to that.
Fuller spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the Munsters reboot in development for NBC, and he had some especially interesting things to say on the subject of remakes, and on how people’s expectations affected certain decisions with regards to the project. EW also shared an excellent looking photo of what the Mockingbird Lane mansion will look like. We’ll show that first (click to see the larger version at EW.com):
Call me a big weirdo if you must, but I want to live there.
One of the things Fuller commented on, was what inspired the idea to reboot the Munsters. It actually seemed to come from a somewhat original idea, which came to mind when he was at the Tim Burton exhibit in New York...
And I thought there should be a show about a family of monsters. But any show about a family of monsters is going to be calling back to the original show about a family of monsters. We are reinventing The Munsters because if we didn’t everybody would just say, “You’re ripping off the Munsters!” So why not just make it’Munsters’ reboot ‘Mockingbird Lane’: ‘We want this to be an Americ official?
It makes sense to ride with the current there. With so may reboots and remakes out there, veering so close to the premise of a classic TV show would likely have had people up in arms about ripping off the concept of the Allan Burns/Chris Hayward created series.
What’s more interesting, to me anyway, is what he has to say on the subject of the tone of the series, and how it differs from the original Munsters. This ties into the choice to change the title, which wasn’t just about finding something a bit less familiar, but also from the sound of it, an attempt to break some associations with the style of the original show and what people might expect from the reboot:
The script is such a dramatic departure from the tone and style of the original show. If we continued to call the show The Munsters, people are just going to to think we’re doing The Munsters. We’re doing a reinvention and re-imagination of this property. I love the Universal monsters. I love the Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man, The Wolfman, Phantom of the Opera, The Mummy. There’s so many great characters we can run through this metaphor of family storytelling that it just felt it was ripe to do as a one-hour dramedy. Having all those elements to play with, the toy box is really really full.
It definitely sounds like Fuller has plenty of ideas for this project, and also an aim to update the concept while also celebrating Universal monsters beyond the classic Munsters family.
For those who scoff at the idea of yet another remake or reboot, here’s what Fuller had to say on the subject of Hollywood originality...
I’m personally, as an audience member, not afraid of remakes. I’m afraid of bad remakes, which is unfortunately more commonly the case. Which is why I think people get up in arms when they see a remake idea — “Oh they’re remaking something that’s been done before, what hackery, there’s no original thoughts in Hollywood.” But there’s a great quote that no art exists without the art before it. We’re doing our work to make our versions distinct and also respectable of their respective source material.
Fuller certainly knows how to make his work distinct. EW also has him quoted as saying they want the show to be an “American Harry Potter” and an American Horror Story that the whole family can watch. Read EW’s full interview for more tidbits about Mockingbird Lane, including the costumes, and finding the right cast.
The more I hear about this project, the higher it inches on my list of pilots I hope get greenlit to series.