Once More, With Feeling!

by Leanna Renee Hieber

No, I'm not talking about my favourite Buffy episode. (However I deem that perhaps the finest hour of television ever made)

Today I'm talking re-envisioning. I have been blessed by enjoying some really, really great remakes that have rekindled old childhood flames and brought a new life into them.

The new Star Trek film notwithstanding, (I hear it's incredible and I can't wait to see it) I am showing my impassioned Sci-Fi/Fantasy colours by lifting up the newly reinvisioned BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and DR. WHO for consideration.

I loved these shows growing up. Particularly the old Dr. Who series, (and especially Tom Baker's years as The Doctor). Dr. Who was an intense childhood obsession of mine. With my long blonde hair, I dreamed I was Romana (played by Lala Ward), the Doctor's only female Timelord companion. In comparison to previous, often simpering and helpless female companions, Romana was a kick-ass heroine and always dressed in some sort of dramatic fashion (perhaps that's where I learned it). While Dr. Who was famous for bad special-effects, I adored the concept of a Timelord spinning through space in every conceivable circumstance found on human or alien worlds, nothing was impossible. I didn't notice the sometimes awkward pacing or sometimes unfortunate bit-players, what I did take with me was the wild openness of imagination and the delightfully dry British humour that informs me today. Yes, I have a habit of putting the 'u' in my words.

Now for the new DR. WHO. While I'm jumping around between the delightful David Tennant years and the first year back in the Tardis, I'm at the moment adoring Christopher Eccleston's Doctor, and his companion Rose (Billie Piper) is an utter delight. My bright childhood flame has grown up with me, it's fun, clever and fresh. It's a much sharper, tighter, deeper show that still keeps all the great humour and camp, but takes it to a whole new level. Once more, with feeling. There's a depth and panache to the new series and I'm overjoyed to love it anew.

A similar, reinvisioned depth was beautifully realized with the new Battlestar Galactica. While the original series was fun, it was nothing compared to what were at once both epic and immediately personal issues facing the fleet and the Cylons, real inter-personal dramas amidst a fantastical backdrop, allowing us to see our own human situations and world-picture boldly and bravely mirrored in Space Opera fiction. With powerhouse actors. (The acting, friends, has a lot to do with a successful adaptation) It was the only show I religiously watched in the past several years and much like my childhood idol Romana, I found myself increasingly intrigued and inspired particularly by the characters of Laura Roslin and Starbuck, (Played brilliantly by Mary McDonnell and Katee Sackhoff) not to mention the uncannily versatile "6" (Tricia Helfer) and goodness if Edward James Olmos didn't bring tears to my eyes (multiple times) as Adama. I was quite satisfied by the ending of the series and was glad they didn't drag out a good thing.

I've seen plenty of things that, when reinvisioned, lose ground. These two examples gained ground and my imagination and heart went wild along with them, excited for the ride.

So tell me, dear readers, what are your favourite remakes and why? What do they bring to your table? Do they rekindle an old flame? Boldly go where the show/book/movie never went before?

Leanna Renee Hieber is an actress and author of Dark Nest, a futuristic fantasy novella and The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in a Gothic Victorian Fantasy series releasing from Leisure Books / Dorchester Publishing in mass-market paperback 8/25/09


  1. I only haphazardly watched Battlestar Gallactica, but the episodes I did watch were fantastic. The way the series was shot also had a lot to do with how gritty and real and immediate it felt.

    Doctor Who I have yet to get into, but I have a lot of friends who are passionate fans of the Tennant series. Tom Baker played the world's most perfect Puddleglum in an earlier TV version of Narnia (really disliked those earlier versions, love the new ones - but woe, woe that Tom Baker's performance as Puddleglum can't be digitally mixed into the future version of The Silver Chair...)

  2. One of my favorite remakes (and that might not be the best term for it in truth) was 10 Things I Hate About You. I loved Heath Ledger in this and the modern twist on Taming of the Shrew which happens to be my favorite play ever. Not sure if it counts, but it is still my favorite!

  3. I didn't really like the Battlestar Galactica remake. And I was never a Dr. Who fan so can't comment on that.

    I do wonder sometimes we have to go back and redo shows. What happened to coming up with new ideas...

    That being said...I love the remake of Sabrina with Harrison Ford better than the original version. When you take a book and make it a TV Show...is that a remake? Think Dresden Files (why did they need to cancel a good show) and Blood Ties.

  4. Although not a remake, Star Trek Next Generation did follow along the same line as the original and became (and remained) my favorite.

    For me the movie remakes of the Brady Bunch and the sequel were amazing. Fondly poking fun while also celebrating the silliness of the original show. That's my favorite remake ever!

    Great post!


  5. I have not seen Dr. Who or Battlestar Galactica. Must catch up. I did see Star Wars and loved it though. I plan on doing a Dr. Who catch up on Netflix.

  6. Julia,

    Absolutely, good point about the way Battlestar was shot. I hope you'll check out a few Tennant episodes and tell me what you think. :)


    Totally counts! I agree, 10 Things is a great Shakespeare adaptation and when I worked with a Shakespeare company and toured shows to high schools, we totally used that as a hook to tell kids they already knew Shakespeare -sort of.


    I totally agree about the Harrison Ford Sabrina! Great example, and I also liked Dresden Files a lot.


    Ah, my kindred spirit in loving The Next Generation, it remains one of my fave shows of all time.


    I think you'll dig how clever the new Dr. Who is, let me know what you think. And I can't wait to see Star Trek!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!!

  7. Great post Leanna!
    I'm always open to re-makes - just saw the new Star Trek - not really a re-make - but definitely a "re-visioning" and I loved it! So I think there is something to be said with breathing new life into a movie that can be re-made - I think sci-fi movies lend themselves well to re-makes because the special effects the first time around for many of these films and TV shows - wasn't great. Now, on the other hand there are certain iconic movies that I think should never be re-made - Casablanca, Citizen Kane - to name a couple...it would be a waste of time - the re-make would never be able to live up to the mystique of the originals.


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