Plenty of room for classics to return to TV

Kevin Wilson

During a football game last weekend, I couldn’t help but be happy with what I heard on the sideline. It wasn’t some coach yelling about effort, or the crowd complaining about all the calls that were benefiting the team already significantly behind.

Nope, it was the waterboys during halftime, talking about this great new episode of “Beavis and Butthead.” Nearly 14 years after they took a sabbatical, the animated teenagers from Mike Judge’s mind returned to reclaim their pedestal of “Stupidest People to Ever Appear on MTV” from selected “Jersey Shore” cast members.

The best part about the series is that Judge, who found mainstream success with “King of the Hill” and cult status with “Office Space” and “Idiocracy,” left the series alone. It’s exactly the same show as before, about people who make the stupidest choices possible and never learn (this is also why I love “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”).

When a show’s return is handled correctly, like “Beavis and Butthead,” it’s welcomed back with open arms. It’s harder to do with live action stuff (since people, unlike cartoon characters, age), but the success of the “90210” and “Degrassi” shows that sticking to the original premise, but not necessarily the original characters, is also a great recipe for success.

You always wonder if you can recapture the magic, though. I’m optimistic about the return of “21 Jump Street,” but I admit I wasn’t seriously concerned when I saw that “In Living Color” would be making a comeback as well. Keenan Ivory Wayans is bringing a pair of “In Living Color” specials to Fox next year, and there will be negotiations for a full series return if things go well.

I loved “In Living Color” growing up — I’ve got all the DVDs, and Heavy D rhyming, “Walk on the moon, float like a balloon,” always puts a smile on my face. But I realize that much of the show’s success was built on the premise that the Wayans’ comedy stylings had no outlet other than the low-rent Fox television network. Is there still going to be an audience for “In Living Color” now that viewers have Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim,” TBS, or random videos on Funny or Die’s website?

I wish Wayans the best, and I hope TV producers will consider bringing some of these shows back as well:

• “Cheers”: You’re telling me a show about a bar in Boston couldn’t be successful? Throw in a few cameos from Matt Damon and Kevin Garnett and give us a few funny beer drinkers, and we’ll make it work.

• “Cop Rock”: I wrote a few months ago that Hollywood should try to remake bad movies and aim for mediocre. The concept could also go into TV. “Cop Rock,” a musical about day-to-day police work, was not well received, and goes down as one of Steven Bochco’s biggest failures.

But maybe the timing was off. You do it now, it’s a mix of “CSI” and “Glee,” and everybody watches those. Just get a director who knows he’s making pure fluff, and it gets ratings.

• “Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn”: My favorite Comedy Central show ever is like “Politically Incorrect” or “The View,” except the entire panel is made up of standup comedians. I’d rather see a Sunday night discussion show like this than “The Marriage Ref.”

I’m sure others have ideas on what shows deserve a reboot. If Beavis and Butthead can find their way back, anybody else can too.