This week brought to us And Just Like That…, the sequel to Sex and the City. With that show came a return of the question “What kind of show is that!?” Is it a reboot? A revival? A spin-off?
Let’s get some terminology under our belts first.
- Original Series: An original run is a series which are original ideas that have been brought to live on TV.
- Technically spin-off shows are also ‘original’ series.
- Revival: where they’re taking the existing characters and the setting (mostly) and bringing it ‘back,’ is a revival, but it’s also a new show with a new name.
- And Just Like That… is a revival, but it’s also a special case since it’s a new series with a new name, some new characters.
- The X-Files, which went away and came back, is also a revival, but it kept it’s name (and the IMDB entry).
- Reboot: A reboot is a brand new show based on, or inspired, by the original, but with a totally different twist.
- My favourite example of that is One Day at a Time, which has the same premise as the original, but this time is Cuban Americans, with a son and a daughter.
Original Series, Existing IP
There are two main types of content that this covers. There are shows that are inspired by ‘external’ sources (books, movies, etc), and shows that are created by other shows.
Literary Inspired, Movies, and Unintentional Sources
Everything based on Sherlock Holmes, for example, gets flagged with “Literally Inspired” as it’s a show built off the existing content. But there are also shows like Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles, M*A*S*H, and The Equalizer, all of which are based off of, or even tightly connected to, movies! There are also tangentially related things, like Ted Lasso, which is semi built off a commercial, see the “Unintentional Pilot“).
Shows like that are still considered to be ‘original runs’ as it’s the first time it’s on the small screen.
A spin-off is a new show containing characters or settings that originated in a previous one, but with a different focus, tone, or theme. Most people think of Fraiser (which is a spin-off of Cheers) when it comes to that. Spin-offs are hard to process. Torchwood is a spinoff of Doctor Who, AfterM*A*S*H is a spinoff of M*A*S*H, and so on. The former feels like it’s own series in a related universe, while the latter depends entirely on the existence of the former. Technically the whole Law & Order universe is more interrelated than the MCU.
We’ve Always Had Existing IP
I know it’s a big thing to complain about ‘no new ideas’ anymore, but when you look back, a lot of early TV shows were based on existing content. That’s right, they were based on the radio show that preceded them!
So what is “And Just Like That …” ?
A revival. Or a sequel. Both work.