It’s about time the entertainment industry figured out how to monetize millennials’ childhood nostalgia. BuzzFeed’s Rewind section devotes numerous posts to 1990s flashbacks (remember jelly sandals and Tamagotchi?). Nickelodeon saw record-breaking ratings when, in 2011, it introduced “The ’90s Are All That,” a midnight programming block of comedy reruns (“Rugrats,” “Hey Arnold!”), created to entice older viewers to the channel. Now, networks are upping the ante, producing brand-new content based on beloved bygone programs. “Girl Meets World,” which premieres Friday on the Disney Channel, will be the first test of this new tactic. How do other attempts stack up?
‘Girl Meets World’
The original: When it premiered in 1993 on ABC, “Boy Meets World” was an ordinary family comedy about nerdy Cory Matthews and his adventures in middle school. By the time it ended in 2000, it had become a heartwarming account of Cory’s romancing of, and eventual marriage to, every boy’s first crush, Topanga Lawrence.
The reboot: Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel) are in New York, raising a tween daughter named Riley (Rowan Blanchard), around whom the show is based.
Who will watch: When “Girl” was announced more than a year ago, fans of the 20-something variety let out a collective cheer — or whatever the equivalent is in Twitter language. Then again, Disney’s a cable network, and aren’t millennials all cutting the cord?
Check it out: 9:45 p.m. on Friday on the Disney Channel
The original: Long before Marvel fans were clamoring for a Black Widow film, there was another series of tough ladies on screen. Based on the wildly successful Japanese manga series of the same name, “Sailor Moon” came to American television in 1995, telling kids the story of teenage girls who somehow harnessed the powers of various planets to fight crime. Like most anime, it’s best not to overthink the minutiae of the series and accept the weirder details, like the potential that a talking cat could lead you to your destiny as the leader of the moon.
The reboot: Reportedly, “Sailor Moon Crystal” will tell the first series’ story all over again. Like the original, it’s a Japanese show dubbed in English.
Who will watch: Anime has long proven that it can command fans of any age. And its placement on a platform like Hulu means it will harness the power of binge-watching to attract the world’s procrastinators. Those factors make this one of the smartest reboots to hit the screen this summer.
Check it out: July 5 on Hulu
‘The Powerpuff Girls’
The original: Again: girls fighting evil. But in this 1998 Cartoon Network series, those girls are preschoolers, and have a direct line to the office of the hapless mayor. Once again, suspension of disbelief is key.
The reboot: Few details have been announced, most notably whether the original show’s creator, Craig McCracken, will return.
Who will watch: Cartoon Network is after the next generation with this one (what comes after millennial, anyway?) — their deal includes a full licensing program, which means toys, games and clothes galore.
Check it out: In 2016 on Cartoon Network
‘The Magic School Bus’
The original: Official national treasure Lily Tomlin won a Daytime Emmy for voicing Ms. Frizzle, the teacher who made science cool way before some guy named Walter White showed up. Beginning in 1994, Frizzle and her class rode the show’s titular vehicle on the best field trips ever: through the human digestion system, for example, or on a tour of outer space.
The reboot: Scholastic Media is producing “Magic School Bus 360 Degrees,” which will maintain the source material’s emphasis on science education. No word yet, though, if Tomlin is in.
Who will watch: This one is an anomaly: Its themes are a little too immature to attract the crowd that watched it on Saturday mornings, so it’s unlikely to get the millennials on board. Then again, those same millennials are now having kids of their own …
Check it out: In 2016 on Netflix
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