It seems like more TV remakes than ever are getting announced, but with each year that passes, there remains a prime selection of TV shows that can arguably be categorized as "nearly impossible to reboot." I can think of many people across several generations who would easily put the iconic family comedy The Brady Bunch in that list. A Brady reboot has been attempted, but could such a thing ever actually come to fruition?
Nothing is in the cards at the moment, but The Brady Bunch star Christopher Knight is able to foresee a scenario in which it the family's return at least feasible, and all without selling out the original series' core values. Speaking with CinemaBlend about the massive The Brady Bunch: 50th Anniversary TV & Movie Collection set of DVDs, Knight told me when I asked about a modern-day revision:
A new Brady Bunch? It would have a hard time getting started. There's a lot more cynicism. But if you were trying to produce something again for 5-to-9-year-olds, yeah, there could be. Where parents weren't the butt of the child's joke, but really a healthy participant in their world and life and supportive of them, where there was actually a validity shared in either direction. I think it could.
Interestingly and also very fittingly, Christopher Knight doesn't picture The Brady Bunch getting a new lease on TV life as a primetime series geared towards adults. It's easy to look at currently airing comedies like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia or The Good Place and find it challenging to slot a Brady Bunch reboot anywhere in the evening schedule.
Not that there aren't still perfectly wholesome and morally exemplary TV shows out there, though they're definitely harder to find than they were 50 years ago, for obvious reasons. Still, it's not like the Brady family was limited to just a single series. The stars and characters appeared in several spinoff projects that took the family beyond the 1970s and into the 1980s, with spinoffs that hit upon differing tones and sensibilities. (Many of which are in the 50th Anniversary box set!)
One spinoff in particular lines right up with how Peter Brady portrayer Christopher Knight thinks a new Brady Bunch should be approached. He continued:
But I think where you'd find [healthy child-parent relationships] is in a cartoon; it seems to be where that kind of innocence and simplicity [is done well], maybe with a high note for adults' enjoyment woven in. Disney has always done it well, but Pixar does a wonderful job of supplying this format today, and that's sort of where it's being played out.
Pixar is getting ready to test its core fandom with the release of Toy Story 4, so the company's next step clearly should be to announce a small screen reboot of The Brady Bunch. I say that jokingly, but that would be a wild and potentially huge addition to the upcoming Disney+ streaming service, or for Hulu or whatever other network or service that would jump at the chance to work with a Pixar-produced Brady Bunch show.
From 1972-1974, ABC aired the animated series The Brady Kids as part of its Saturday morning cartoon lineup. That show was centered on the titular younger Brady generation, and also featured a host of fantastical elements, such as talking animals, and other characters exclusive to the animated format. (Christopher Knight and the other Brady Bunch child stars weren't part of the second season's episodes over contractual issues with animation studio Filmation.)
Christopher Knight even pitched a particular angle he thinks would work well enough in this complication-filled day and age. Having noted earlier in the interview that today's audiences are "yearning for simplicity and superheroes," here's Knight's specific pitch for how a Brady animated series could play out.
So, you know, the Brady kids as sort of simple superheroes – I don't think it's a stretch because they're every-people, right? Making every-people superheroes, and making the things in kids' life – like you're standing up against the bully – that could be kind of set up as a superhero action, but by regular people. [Laughs.] Yeah, I mean I think it could be [remade], but I don't think it would be with live actors.
Pixar already locked down the superhero genre with the two Incredibles movies, but surely that company – or any other one willing to give it a shot – could figure out a way to make the Brady family relevant to audiences by spinning them as naturalistic superheroes. No one is necessarily saying it's the greatest idea in all of human history, but it's nowhere near the worst, and it's not outside the boundaries of 2019 Pop Culture & Beyond.
Plus, it would be an interesting way to introduce The Brady Bunch to younger TV viewers who may not be immediately swayed by the watching the original series. "Super Marsha, Super Marsha, Super Marsha!"
For any parents looking for a way to grant their kids The Brady Bunch in the biggest way possible, look no further than the DVD set released on June 4, which is also being dubbed The Brady-est Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection. It's the most comprehensive Brady library yet, and includes all five seasons (117 episodes) of the flagship TV series, which wasn't necessarily the smash hit that fans might think. The special features for those include a trio of episodes that feature commentaries, with two coming from Christopher Knight, Barry Williams and Susan Olsen. There's also a featurette called "The Brady Bunch – Coming Together Under One Roof."
Elsewhere on the TV show side of things, the set includes all 22 episodes of The Brady Kids, all 10 episodes of The Brady Brides, and all 6 episodes of The Bradys. As for the TV movies, there's the 1988 TV reunion movie A Very Brady Christmas and the 2000 adaptation of Barry Williams' memoir, Growing Up Brady.
On the feature side (even though one of these is a TV movie), the DVD set includes both the 1995 semi-parody The Brady Bunch, starring Gary Cole and Shelley Long and a host of others, and its 1996 follow-up, A Very Brady Sequel. Minus the child cast, Cole and Long returned for Fox's 2013 made-for-TV sequel The Bradys Go to the White House, which was not as fondly reviewed, but can also be found in this DVD set.
So be sure to pick up the 50th Anniversary Collection at Amazon or your local vendor, and start up some grassroots conversations about a superhero-filled Brady Bunch animated reboot. Because it's 2019, and we deserve it.