Nostalgia Baiting has to stop

Everyone loves nostalgic TV — going back to watch shows and movies from our childhood never gets old.

During the past year, I’m sure many of us have gone back and watched old shows while we were stuck inside in light of COVID-19. Unfortunately for us, Hollywood knows this. From Disney’s consistently frustrating live action movies, to Netflix rebooting childhood classics and giving them a “Riverdale” edge, it’s clear Hollywood is trying to cash in on nostalgic shows and movies from our childhood — just updating them for young adults.

Now, this sprucing up isn’t necessarily a negative. The negative is that the shows and movies are usually horrible, and lose the meaning of what made the original product so beloved amongst us as children.

The other problem is instead of coming up with original material — directors, producers, designers and writers behind the projects are taking the easy way out by using old source material and butchering it.

Take the live action adaptation, “Fate: The Winx Club Saga.” It was a very popular “Sailor Moon” type show from 2004 with diverse, strong characters and a world building that was unique to the time period.

Well, what better way to bring the show new life then whitewashing the main cast, having the one black girl fall into several stereotypes, taking out one of the most beloved characters, confusing the magic system and getting rid of several of the main characters’ interesting backstories? How is a show from 2004 more diverse than its counterpart in 2021?

It’s the same situation in “Shadow and Bone,” a popular Young Adult Fantasy book series. The casting directors changed the main character’s race from white to Asian coded, just so they could add in racist subplots that went nowhere, cast a light skin actor for a dark skin character and put another actor in brownface.

See the pattern? Old, diverse material is adapted by Hollywood, only to lose most of the charm that made the shows and movies so popular. What’s more is most of these shows seem to have a race controversy for some reason. It’s clear the production teams working on these projects didn’t actually have a connection to the source material — they simply slapped the same name onto it to get older fans excited about the show, and then completely abandoned the source material.

This is nostalgia bait. 

Nostalgia baiting could work, if the fans who actually cared about these works were behind the scenes. Having those original, passionate fans familiar with the material — not just trying to cash in on the success of edgy, lifeless reboots — could actually make some of these projects great.

Revamping them for newer and older audiences could be a hit, but only if the right people are behind the project.