It’s been 20 years since Mad About You finished its seven-season run on NBC, and three years since the series' showrunner and stars started pitching the revival without much success. Now that the limited revival series has finally premiered, though, Mad About You boss Peter Tolan and Helen Hunt shared what their sitcom learned from Will and Grace and other TV continuations that helped navigate Mad About You’s return to television.
For someone like The Office’s Greg Daniels, avoiding a TV revival is about not wanting to disappoint the fans and ruin a great ending, and Peter Tolan felt that pressure as well with Mad About You. He says he had to learn from both successful and failed television revivals to figure out what would work for Mad About You’s comeback and what would draw in their former viewers. Here’s what he had to say about it.
Some of them deliver just what they did before, just in a different era, and some of them stray into stuff they probably shouldn't have done. The lesson you learn is people watching a reboot want to be reacquainted with the characters that they loved and established a relationship back in the day, so don't stray too far from that — give them what they want and honor their experience as well as their own. The show was never super topical, so we're not doing that.
Peter Tolan nails it. That pretty much is exactly what fans want. Some revivals get that notion, while others don’t, and there’s enough of them on television right now to spot the differences. For example, Fuller House (while technically a spinoff) has largely stuck to the same Full House formula while centering different characters, while Netflix's four-part Gilmore Girls revival wasn’t what many fans had hoped it would be.
I came in when we were first talking and I was like, 'All I know is Will & Grace is crushing it, so how do we poach some of what they're doing?' All they're doing is good writing and good acting, and that's all it ever is. Also we talked in the beginning about starting the whole reboot and shooting it outside in New York, and after watching that show, I thought, 'We just need great writing, it doesn't matter where we are.'
Helen Hunt’s co-star Paul Reiser says that Paul and Jamie Buchman’s New York apartment is still the same, but with some newer items to show they haven't been in stasis for two decades. I’m hopeful the theme song will be making a comeback, too. Not everything has to change, right?
The Mad About You revival follows the Buchmans after their daughter Mabel leaves for college and they go back to being by themselves. The limited series will run for 12 episodes on Spectrum's streaming service. The first six episodes are now available, with the remaining six set to drop on December 18.
For more on what to watch, be sure to check out our complete guide to every new and returning show premiering through the end of the year.