Almost no surprise/horror comes with news of TV reboots, revivals and film adaptations these days, since they’re more dime a dozen than a bunch of coins of 1.2-cent values. The latest to get the potentially misguided nod-to-move-forward is the 1970s drama Fantasy Island, which is being set back up where it originally aired, at ABC. I wonder if we’ll see someone asking Mr. Roarke if he can make all the networks a little more diligent over what they deem worthy of airing.
At this point, ABC isn’t exactly putting all their apples in the Fantasy Island basket by taking things slowly as possible. The network has put in a script plus penalty order, so it’ll all come down to how good this story sounds when expanded beyond a logline.
With its modern sensibilities intact, the new Fantasy Island is switching up the Mr. Roarke role, originally played with perfection by Ricardo Montalban, and the "island" will now be run by a woman. According to THR, she’ll be extremely intelligent, charismatic and (obviously) of desirable looks. As the owner of a San Francisco-based company, she will offer her clients the chance to experience their deepest and sometimes darkest wishes. Move this concept over to HBO, toss in some artificial intelligence, and you’re got Westworld.
This Sony Pictures Television-backed project is being put together by Sheldon Turner, who will write the pilot and executive produce along with Sony’s Jennifer Klein and Josh Berman, a writer/producer for CSI and creator of Drop Dead Diva and The Mob Doctor. Turner cut his Hollywood teeth on scripts for The Longest Yard remake and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, though he’s lifted his craft since, co-writing Up in the Air with Jason Reitman and getting a story credit on X-Men: First Class.
Fantasy Island originated back in the late 1970s as a pair of TV movies before the TV series was ordered at ABC, where it stayed from 1978 through 1984, giving viewers 7 seasons and 152 episodes. While the show often dealt with moralistic tales and interesting takes on humanity’s desires, most people remember the show as “the one where Herve Villechaize says ‘Da plane!’” At least those people aren’t wrong. It is that show.
ABC brought the drama back in 1998, with Malcolm McDowell in the lead role and a different approach to the core narrative. It only lasted one season, though. Then there was talk some years back about bringing the series back as a movie, but that also fell through. And now here we are.
ABC is also bringing Uncle Buck back for today’s audiences, while other networks are dealing with Minority Report, Rush Hour, Limitless, Fuller House, The X-Files and more. We’ll keep you posted if and when Fantasy Island comes back outside of pipe dreams.