The 80’s had an obsession with TV reunion movies. The Incredible Hulk, for instance, had several films. They were all cheesy but passable. They featured Daredevil and Thor, and the last one killed the character off! But it wasn’t alone. Dallas, The Millions Dollar Man, Murder She Wrote. Columbo, Perry Mason, and Gunsmoke (just to name a few) also had reunion films. The thing is, these are action/drama shows which kind of had a movie feel to them already. Making them a two hour tv movie wasn’t much of a stretch.

 

But when they tried to do this with sitcoms…well, it doesn’t work so well. Some were ok, like Return to Mayberry, which was an Andy Griffith Show reunion. There were a bunch of Gilligan’s Island reunions, I saw one and it was ok. Never saw the Harlem Globetrotter one, so can’t comment on it. But usually these were bad, and today I wanted to talk about five just plain horrible one’s. Some of these are reunions, and some are films which the cast filmed while the series was still in production. But they are all horrible.

 

#5. Facts of Life Down Under

This is on here because this film was chock full of cliche’s. First I should mention that this was the second movie. Facts of Life in Paris aired a few years earlier, and I never saw it. However I did hear good things about it. I did get to see this film. To be fair, it wasn’t all bad. It did feel like the show. The reason they go to Australia is weak. The problem is the plot involving a jewel heist that Blaire and Jo get involved in. What? This kind of plot was lame and became a big cliche. I mean, what kind of stupid idea is this? Talk about ignoring the premise of the source material! Despite that this movie could have been worst. I mean, it’s not as if NBC would do another sitcom TV movie like with an even crazier plot, right?

 

#4. Project ALF

I did not hate this. Yeah, I said it. I did not hate this. Oh, it’s stupid and has its problems but overall it wasn’t as idiotic as the other examples here. After the way the series ended, fans were due a movie which explained just what happened to Alf. Why it took six years and aired on a different network is beyond me. There are two major problems with this. One is that The Tanner family is missing, which is just all kinds of dumb. The second problem is that Martin Sheen is in this. What the heck was he thinking appearing this crap? That being said, it was still ALF. The same character we watched and loved for four years. And they didn’t forget the series took place entirely. Not great but not all bad either.

 

#2.I Dream of Jeannie-15 Years Later

Oh, the pain! I should say first if all I Dream of Jeannie was never a favorite of mine. I’ve seen it but always preferred Bewitched. Still, I was intrigued when this little film came along. First of all, Larry Hagman did not reprise his role from the series. That should have shut the project down right there. The plot is a convoluted one involving Jeannie’s evil sister, but I am going jump ahead to the end. How does it end? Jeannie has to go away and make all erase all memory of her, their son, and marriage from Tony. What??? Even not being a serious fan I was appalled by this film, it was just terrible. They tried again a few years later with “I Still Dream of Jeannie”, and while that film was better it still kind of sucked.

 

#2.Family Ties Vacation

Aw crap. There are so many things wrong with this. First, to be fair, the basic idea sounds reasonable. I can buy that Alex got a scholarship or whatever to Oxford. I can buy that the whole family went along, why not? Too bad the execution was horrible. First of all, Alex is just so out of character in this. I have read this whole film was rushed and I believe it. Why does Alex turn into a klutzy wimp? But as bad as that, it’s not the worst thing in this film. The major plot involves a microfilm being chased by soviet spies that the Keaton’s unknowingly got a hold of. Soviet spies? Really? Of course the spies are bumbling clods and the whole thing ends with a chase through the streets of London. It’s just so lame, and I picked on Alex but the truth is none of the characters are really in character here. Facts of Life Down Under still kind of felt like the show, this does not. Since it is a movie we lose the laugh track and that combined with the unusual locale just make it a very off experience indeed.

 

#1. The Brady 500

This is cheating a little, but let me explain. A Very Brady Christmas was an enormous hit in 1988. It was, and still is, one of my favorite Christmas movies. So it only stood to reason a new movie should be made. In fact, plans were to have two movies. The first was The Brady 500. Before I talk about that, I should explain that some executive had the brilliant idea to make the two movies into a series, with a couple other episodes to fill the order. The Brady Bunch back on TV? What could go wrong with that? So the plot of the movie is that Bobby is in a serious accident while race car driving and is paralyzed……..Hold it! This is THE BRADY BUNCH, right? That silly light hearted show from the 70’s? WHO DECIDED TO MAKE IT A DRAMA???? I don’t want to see Carol crying and the family depressed! WTF??? This was one of the worst ideas ever, and to top it all off they scheduled this at 8:00 on Friday…opposite Full House! This whole thing was like a nightmare, and just did not feel like the original show at all. In case you’re wondering, the second movie involved Mike winning and election for something, I stopped caring by then, and that didn’t really make much sense to me. By the way, “The Brady’s” also had Greg and Peter get into a fistfight, turned Marcia into an alcoholic, Jan unable to have children. Stop! Maureen McCormick was the only cast member to not participate, and my respect for her has no bounds. By the way, if you’re wondering about “The Brady Bunch Goes to Washington”….we don’t talk about that.

 

 

The 90’s also had Blossom in Paris and a few Sabrina, the Teenage Witch movies. Mary & Rhoda just barely made the list, a horrible Mary Tyler Moore Show reunion. Growing Pains had two; one was decent the other sucked. While not a sitcom I figured I should also mention The Dukes of Hazard which had two. I only saw the first, and it was ok. One of the worst I ever saw was Knight Rider 2000….dear lord did that suck!

 

Thankfully though this trend has died out, you don’t see as many of these anymore. Which is good because these hardly ever work.

By richb

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