Jeff Smith 6:35 p.m., June 27
NBC Eyes Munsters Reboot
It can't be any worse than The Munsters Today, the mercifully ill-fated 1987 syndicated attempt to reassemble the family. Even John Schuck's furrowed brow and malleable jaw, so well put to use as the Painless Pole in Altman's MASH*, were no match for Fred Gwynne's guileless ghoul. The nicest thing to be said as far as Lee Meriwether's vamp on Lily goes: they got the shroud right. And Howard Morton?! He's not fit to line Al Lewis' coffin!
Why did I get so excited when Hollywood Deadline reported Bryan Fuller, producer of Pushing Daisies, has a reboot of The Munsters on the "script-to-series track" (I love borrowing insider jargon) at NBC? Fuller promises more than just different actors donning recognizable garb. While it shops short of CG Munsters (Rise of the Planet of The Munsters?), from the sound of things, he's bringing urbane gentrification to Mockingbird Heights.
What is the point of simply recasting the classic '60's sitcom in modern terms? Grandpa Al did just fine, thank you, with a divining rod set to "Girls" and a pocket filled with Frank Sinatra pills, who cares how this 21st Century vampire copes with modern technology? In Fuller's version Grandpa, the mad scientist, and even madder patriarch of the Dracula clan, slapped Herman together because no man was good enough for his daughter, Lily. When pre-pubescent Eddie's lycanthropic tendencies began to emerge, the family was forced to take up residence in the remote California community.
You caught my attention, Bryan, but it's network TV. Low production values, a few funny situations repeated ad nausea throughout the course of the show's run, etc. What are the chances it's going to be any good? For years, my writing partner and I have been kicking around the idea of a Munsters movie (not a remake of Munster, Go Home). I'm not going to publicly spill our slant, but it's definitely unique, definitely original, and one that would please both devotees of the series and contemporary audiences out for a good laugh at the movies. We'd even agree to write it with a PG-13 in mind, that's how confidant I am this version would hit big. Hire Joe Dante to direct and it's an out-of-the-park grand slam. Seriously, we have it all worked out. Lunch is on you.