ABC’s TGIF line-up once ruled Friday night television with a variety of shows about families, kooky neighbors, and dramatic situations that would usually be wrapped up within a half hour if you count commercials. It was a weird time because Friday night currently holds a reputation as a dead zone for television, as it should. If you’re at home on a Friday night watching TGIF on ABC, you’re a kid or you’ve got kids. It could be a sad situation any other way.
That’s where the germ of TGIF came into play, playing towards that family demographic payed dividends for ABC at the time. It worked so well that CBS tried to replicate it at one and ABC is tried to bring it back twice.
5.2 Million people tuned into the premiere of Girl Meets World, the follow-up/reboot of Boy Meets World, and that got me thinking. Can’t we give a little bit of love to those other classic TGIF shows that once ruled the airwaves on ABC?
These are shows of our youth that found more life in syndication and, if Girl Meets World is any indication, could be quite a success if played the right way. Who doesn’t want to see the continuing adventures of Steve Urkel or find out what happened Uncle Jesse when he’s not playing on The Tonight Show. I know I do, so let’s speculate a bit.
1) Full House – This is probably the more obvious choice because they’ve been hinting at trying a reunion forever. Yogurt commercials and Jimmy Fallon can’t be the only things fueling this, so I assume the people would want it too. If anything, do a TV movie where Stamos, Saget, and Coulier get together to visit their kids. Time and life split these people apart, Danny Tanner finds Uncle Jesse down on his luck and decides that family is just the thing he needs to get back on the right foot.
The kids can all just cameo, with a special Olsen Twins appearance that I hope combines fictional worlds where Michelle Tanner is now a hard boiled New York detective. Put it on ABC Family and watch the ratings tick up faster than a show about a woman with cancer.
2) Step By Step – This is my favorite one because I like to imagine the later Kickboxer movies are canon within the Step By Step universe. You haven’t lived till you’ve spent your nights determining a proper timeline for a tired Patrick Duffy sitcom.
My idea here is that Cody Lambert is off on adventures in his RV, possibly with a swashbuckling Brendan Lambert along for the ride. Since Sasha Mitchell is trained Tae Kwon Do and Muay Thai, he’s got the chops to hold up the action end of things in this adventure.
Cody and Brendan ride into a town and you know things are going to change. Patrick Duffy might show up sporadically in the first season, only to be killed in the finale by the evil drug dealer the duo had foiled in the pilot episode. Throw it on CBS ION television or The CW, maybe preceded by Martial Law starring Sammo Hung. I’d DVR it in a heartbeat.
3) Family Matters – Look back at the final episode (just now because I never saw it when it originally aired), you see that Steve Urkel has returned from a mission in space and finally kisses Laura Winslow. In the reboot we can find that this sparks a love for the ages, but one that is cut short due to a car accident. Make it that stupid car Urkel drove in the show for lighthearted comedic effect.
This sends Urkel into a mad dash to change the past and he builds a time machine to thrust himself back to a point before Laura perishes. The problem is he goes back too far, kills Waldo Faldo, and ruins the timeline. Now he’s got to fix his busted time machine and attempt not to ruin any more events from the past.
Now the problem here is the casting. I say recast the entire family and have it take place before the start of the original show. Still call this reboot Family Matters, but really stress the matters part of it.
4) Perfect Strangers – Perfect Strangers kinda had a perfect ending, but I think you could reboot it with a storyline that’s pretty close to both the original and the new adventures of Corey Matthews on the Disney Channel.
When we last left Larry and Balki, they were having kids and dancing before a live studio audience. But now we can follow their kids, a pair of perfect strangers for the 21st century because they hate each other. Growing up in the shadow of two best friends, they are forced to move in with each other to survive a new city.
Throw in Balki, who moves in to help calm the moods, and you’ve got hijinks that could go on for at least eight to ten seasons. Maybe add in a curveball or two, like Larry’s illegitimate kid or an actual hobo that moves in to help with rent (I know it sounds weird, but work with me).
5) Mr. Belvedere – I’m not going to lie, I just wanted to throw this one on here for Bob Uecker to get a chance to shine a bit more. He’s great as the Brewers play-by-play guy, but I think I like the version that Norm Macdonald and Artie Lange talk up at every chance they get.
Throw this reunion special on HBO and let the man cut loose a bit. If he doesn’t walk into the room claiming it looks like a “gang f*ck,” I’m turning the show off in disgust.