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For some reason - maybe it's age, maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it's a complete lack of imagination - we are about to be inundated with brand-new versions of shows from the 1990s. Before the end of the year, the US streaming service Peacock will unveil its Saved By the Bell reboot. Last week, Will Smith announced that the same service has picked up Bel-Air, a gritty reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Not to be outdone, today Disney+ has announced a new series called Doogie Kamealoha MD which, for want of a better description, is Doogie Howser MD - but Hawaiian.
This means two things. First, that this is television's death spiral. Second, it means that every other kid-friendly TV show from the 1990s is suddenly hot property. More are undoubtedly to come, so here are five that are ripe for revival and five that should probably stay dead.
Hang Time (1995-2000)
Saved By the Bell has already been snapped up. But the good news is that, so far, the same cannot be said for its legion of imitators. The most notable of these was Hang Time, which was essentially Saved By the Bell but with basketball. Want a borderline hysterical drug episode? You got it. Want something that heavily features the inclusion of pizza as an aspirational food? You got it. Want Dustin Diamond to blunder in and generally stink up the place as Screech? You got it. This has the potential to be a classic reboot for the three people who remember it.
California Dreams (1992-1996)
Or, if Hang Time is too expensive to revive, try California Dreams, which was essentially Saved By the Bell, but about a weird band who only played terrible music that nobody in their entire generation would ever willingly listen to. Reboot the show to make it about an internet rapper, set it against the backdrop of the California wildfires and you have just made the most on-point show of 2021.
The Saved By the Bell reboot has shown that people love it when original cast members return for a second go-around. And arguably the best opportunity for this to happen is Phenom, a short-lived ABC sitcom about a girl who was good at tennis. In the original, the girl's parents were played by William Devane and Judith Light. Wouldn't you watch a sitcom reboot about a young girl being bullied into athletic excellence by the president from 24 and the mum from Transparent? Of course you would.
Hangin' With Mr Cooper (1992-1997)
The best thing about Hangin' With Mr Cooper is that - although it had a great theme tune and a fun opening title sequence - nobody can remember exactly what happened in it. Was the main guy a teacher? Or a basketball player or something? Was there a cute kid in it? Nobody can remember. Go in and pitch the executives anything you want. They will just have to take your word for it.
Eerie, Indiana (1991-1992)
No clever rationale behind this one, other than it was really good. A series that was probably marketed as more of a comedy than it actually was, Eerie, Indiana was more concerned with science fiction and horror than plain entertainment. It was probably the closest thing that kids ever had to The Twilight Zone, and that would be nice to have again, wouldn't it?
Clarissa Explains It All (1991-1994)
A show that dealt with issues such as college, work, learning to drive and shoplifting, Clarissa Explains It All helped a lot of teens through the knottier problems of the 1990s. But now it is 2020, which means that a reboot will have to be called Clarissa Screams Her Own Opinion About Everything As Loudly As Possible On The Internet Regardless of Any Discernible Expertise.
Teen Angel (1997-1998)
A show created by two writers on The Simpsons, Al Jean and Mike Reiss, Teen Angel would have been great were it not for children. Its premise - a boy eats a rancid hamburger, then dies and comes back to Earth as an angel - is about as dark as you can get, yet the series was forced into a bizarre, sunny tone that didn't really work at all. It was axed after 17 episodes and should probably stay that way.
Daddy's Girls (1994)
Theoretically, this could work as a Saved by the Bell-style reunion show, because two of its cast were Keri Russell and Alan Ruck, who have become surefire signs of quality. That said, it was a) a very bad sitcom about Dudley Moore trying to look after three young women all by himself, and b) it was called Daddy's Girls. Try getting a show called Daddy's Girls made today, I dare you.
Home Improvement (1991-1999)
Sure, it was popular. Sure, Tim Allen probably doesn't need an excuse to return. But a Home Improvement reboot in 2020 can only go one of two ways. First, it either shies away from its cartoonish masculinity and becomes a show about a white man coming to terms with a world that allows other voices to be heard, or it becomes the Trumpiest thing ever seen on television. Both of these would be terrible.
The Secret World of Alex Mack (1994-1998)
You will remember Alex Mack as the girl who was drenched with chemicals by a careless truck driver, and then gained a number of superhuman abilities. Such a premise might have cut it in the 1990s, but in 2020 it would be a hard-edged legal drama about a woman determined to take down Big Pharma by any means necessary, and honestly who has the time?
Gallery: The best TV shows of 2020 (so far) (TechRadar)