It’s that time of year again. There are so many Halloween-themed events on television that it can be hard to narrow down our choices. In order for our attention to be taken away from the glorious movie marathons that are on during this time of year, the networks have to promise us a television event so amazing that we won’t think twice about turning the channel from Freeform’s 13 Nights of Halloween.
When F0x announced that its big contender this year would be a remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I was intrigued. NBC’s live musicals have been a success these past few years. Why would this be any different? I was looking forward to a new take on the 1975 classic. And with Laverne Cox starring in Tim Curry’s role as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, it had the potential to be groundbreaking for a new generation.
Unfortunately, when I sat down to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again, I was reminded that we are in a creative drought when it comes to Halloween specials.
I should mention that I have only seen the 1975 film once. I didn’t want to constantly compare the remake to the original and hoped this would be a refreshing take on the classic, but I felt like I had seen it all before. The remake, starring Victoria Justice, Ryan McCartan, Staz Nair, Annaleigh Ashford, Reeve Carney and Christina Milian alongside Laverne Cox, had its share of talented actors. The problem is, the talent still couldn’t breathe new life into a film that it already so well-regarded.
In addition, the shots of the audience’s incredibly over-excited reactions to the film were enough to make you want to turn the channel. Whenever a television special is clearly telling you that you should be having the time of your life watching it, you know it’s time to grab the remote.
Nevertheless, all of the blame shouldn’t be pinned on this remake alone. Television shows have also fallen into a rut when it comes to cinematically celebrating this holiday. Recently, it has been proven evident that most shows will follow the formula of dressing their characters up in costumes that are based on currently pop culturally relevant figures and rely on that to carry the Halloween theme throughout the episode. Take last week’s episode of Scream Queens, for example.
Taylor Lautner dressed up as Rio Ryan Lochte, Jamie Lee Curtis dressed as Alexander Hamilton and Lea Michele went for Ivanka Trump. The show was clearly following the formula. Because the show is a horror comedy, it still managed to be entertaining, but that was largely due to the plot of the show, rather than its episode’s Halloween theme. It’s basically Halloween on Scream Queens every week, so it’s hard to judge whether or not the show lived up to its true holiday potential.
There are more Halloween-themed episodes to come in the next week on all of the networks, so it will be interesting to see if any shows step up their game and deliver more than just costumes. And to the networks who are already planning next year’s big Halloween special, can we please have something original? Let’s leave the remakes at the door and invent something new. If CBS could do it with It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown back in 1966, surely we can come up with something just as enchanting in 2017.