How reboots can lead us to the next golden age of television

It’s time to pull out those low-rise jeans and velour sweat pants — the 2000s are back. Early 2000s fashion has made its revival in pop culture, along with reboots of late ’90s and early 2000s shows. 

As a culture, we’re on a nostalgia binge. The world isn’t in the best shape, so it makes sense that we’re chasing those old shows that gave us comfort. Media always reflects our current times, and with our current times looking more dreadful each day, it’s understandable why Hollywood is giving the green light to old, successful shows. 

But while reboots can become derivative when audiences are searching for something unique to watch, there is a chance to rectify the wrongs of our past. The landscape of television and film has changed drastically over the past 20 years. Whereas overt homophobia and fat-shaming was normalized for laughs, in the post-2010 era, there is a focus on inclusion and diversity. 

But besides the harmful stereotypes, that era is looked upon fondly, which has led to an increase in reboots and revivals of the shows that we know and love. The most recent being, “And Just Like That…,” a revival of one of the most groundbreaking shows to ever grace the silver screen, “Sex and the City.”

Sex and the City” — starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon — lasted for six seasons and spawned two films and a prequel series. The series follows four women in their thirties who tackle their sex lives, femininity, and other social issues. During the time that it aired, it was particularly groundbreaking for its frank discussions surrounding sex and sexuality, despite some characters depicting the traditional values of feminism past.

The revival series will bring us into the present day 20 years later. Carrie (Parker), Miranda (Nixon), and Charlotte (Davis) —sans Samantha (Cattrall) — are now in their 50s. It’s assumed that in these twenty years, they’ve hopefully learned from their mistakes; however, from what we know so far, this group of friends is taking over Manhattan once again, but with a different mindset. 

It’s no secret that in Hollywood women over the age of 50 aren’t written with nuanced roles in mind. They’re usually throw-away characters, with younger actresses seen as love interests and sexual beings. But even with a new title, the “Sex and the City” revival won’t be sanitizing the sex that catapulted the show into a cornerstone of pop culture. 

There has been a resurgence of shows and films, such as “Grace and Frankie” and the classic “The Golden Girls,” that depict the complexities of the lives of older women. The success of these shows is proof that there is space to talk about women of any age, and there is an audience that wants to watch these stories. With Hollywood’s obsession with youth, a show focused on the sex lives of 50-year-old women might just be the jumpstart that television needs to diversify its content. 

Even Nicole Kidman, who is 54, has been playing a variety of lead roles in both television and film. That isn’t to say that roles for older women aren’t available, but there isn’t an abundance of them. While we talk about the lack of diversity when it comes to representations across different races and sexualities, we still have a long way to go in showing the diversity of older women on the screen. Men get to age and play roles that aren’t tied to how old they are. But while actresses of Kidman‘s caliber can play anything, what is left for the others?

There is a lot we still don’t know about “And Just Like That…,” like where Samatha is, or if Carrie has overcome her shoe obsession. But the revival should focus on their original audiences, not only because they are older like these respective characters, but because they need to be able to relate. The mind of 30-year-old Carrie is different from a now 50-year-old Carrie (so we hope), and for our audiences, 20 years is a long time filled with growth and reflection. 

Younger characters are easier to relate to and even watch because they’re as messy as we are. They make mistakes, learn from them and grow. Older people are indeed wiser, that’s true, but that doesn’t make them infallible. Despite some reservations viewers might have about reboots, seeing 50-year-old women getting into trouble might work in Hollywood’s favor.

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