ESSAY [PREVIEW]: Why Do Remakes Have To Be "Darker" and "Grittier"?

After going through our classic fairytales and the hale, hearty, wholesome world of Archie Andrews, Hollywood's "darker and grittier" trend has finally come for Anne of Green Gables. The review headlines were all over my Twitter and Facebook feeds, decrying the "dark but predictable" and "bleak" "Anne With an E," the Netflix reboot/revival/remake (who even knows, anymore?) of the classic series that dropped in March 2017. But why? Remakes are nothing new, but the type of remakes in development these days consistently emerge under a cloud of Dark and Edgy.
In the last few years alone, we've had a new-new Spider-Man, a new Batman, a new Power Rangers movie, a revival of "Full House," "One Day at a Time," "Arrested Development," "Gilmore Girls," "Samurai Jack," and The Mummy, as well as variously faithful adaptations of Archie Comics, Anne of Green Gables, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast.
Not all retreads of familiar media properties are created equal. Despite owing their existence to a pervasive sense of nostalgia, there are key differences between the revivals of "Gilmore Girls" and "Arrested Development" versus the adaptations and revivals of Archie Comics, Anne of Green Gables, and Power Rangers. The former capitalize on the nostalgia factor by recreating the original tone and style to a tee, while the latter, more controversially, have chosen to go "darker" and "grittier" -- as in, "these aren't the Power Rangers you remember from when you were five." It's a mix of desire and shame that older fans have to grapple with: if Power Rangers and superheroes are for kids, the way to make them seem appropriate is to remove the childish aspects and go the "darker-and-grittier" route, which results in popcorn movies attacking real-world issues with varying degrees of success.

You can read the rest of this essay at The Awl.

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