Many TV shows and movies are rebooted, remade and redesigned to take advantage of the obsession with nostalgia, while trying to appeal to modern audiences. In recent years, shows such as Riverdale, Bel Air, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and the To come up clueless To display took these concepts originally envisioned as comedies and turned them into dramas. There has been a lot of talk over the years about a Friends restart or continuation series, but with the Friends reunion special, fans seemed satisfied enough to end the Friends nostalgia there. However, is Hollywood ready to give up on this hit 90s TV show? I do not think so.
I wouldn’t be surprised if in 10 years, or maybe even sooner, we see someone trying to restart Friends. I’m definitely finished all reboots, continuations, remakes, etc and would like to see new ideas flourish in Hollywood. However, if you’re going to reboot a 90s TV show like Friends, I think the best way to keep it fresh and engaging is to reimagine it as a drama. Let me explain why before you shout “NO!”
The conspiracy of friends in their twenties living in New York
Friends begins as a show about six young people in their twenties living in New York City. More recently, it has been criticized for its unrealistic portrayals of life in New York for people of this age, especially those who are not wealthy or dependent on wealthy parents. Friends because a drama could correct this problem. We got to see the difficulty these friends face living in New York, including how Monica and Rachel can afford Monica’s apartment for so long on their initial salaries and budget.
The 20s and 30s are a difficult time for many young adults, not just New Yorkers, as it is always a time of major growth and loss. A Friends the drama could show more of the growing pains that Monica, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, and Joey face during this stage of life.
The story and individual struggles of each character
I think one of the biggest things that appeals to fans of Friends, now and in the past, is that it’s a series that shows human struggles but makes them funny. It makes it almost okay to deal with family issues, the stress of being single, and financial stressors because these characters are too and they still laugh about it and enjoy their lives. Many comedies are a way to unwind from life, as they allow your mind to escape the drama of everyday life for a while. It’s also a way to tackle serious subjects with a spoonful of sugar.
However, some of the problems Friends the character opposite already had dark or serious tones. Phoebe’s constant family issues, including her mother’s suicide, Monica’s obsessive behavior, and Chandler being one of the closest Friends characters because he is insecure and very critical of himself, these are just a few of the many examples of some of the Friends’ more serious problem characters. Their issues were played for laughs, but could easily become more serious discussions on topics such as mental health.
A New Friends Cast Could Be More Diverse
A major problem that torments Friends‘ inheritance is the lack of diversity, especially in a city like New York, which is known to be very diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, etc. let’s face it, Friends in its original form is very white and heteronormative. A dramatic Friends the reimagining could easily solve this problem by reimagining some of the characters with more diverse backgrounds.
In Jay-z’s “Moonlight” video, we see six prominent black actors and actresses assume different Friends characters. It was a cool concept that drew attention to the fact that Friends, in its current state, is not about the black experience, so I don’t mean just slapping black or brown faces on characters that were clearly originally written as white characters. The backgrounds and struggles of these characters would need a complete overhaul to truly reflect an authentic experience for a Black American, Korean American, Native American, Muslim American, Mexican American, or someone from the one of many different racial, ethnic, or religious groups living in America.
I also don’t think it should stop at ethnically diverse versions of these classics. Friends characters. Why can’t a modern version of one or more characters be a member of the LGBTQ+ community? Or why can’t Susan and Carol be less of a joke against Ross and characters with their own issues and struggles?
And let’s not stop at the diversity in front of the camera. A dramatic Friends the reimagining should also have diversity behind the scenes, especially in the writers room.
Modern issues could be fixed in this version
With the more diverse distribution, some of the most important modern issues could be addressed in this Friends. Also, things like social media could play more of a role, like maybe Phoebe becoming a viral TikTok star. from “Stinky Cat” or Monica has a cooking channel on YouTube. The show could tackle things like the student loan crisis and the living wage battles. There are so many modern topics and issues that would fit perfectly into the Friends countryside.
Many of the original Friends cast could make cameos
Jennifer Aniston and many more Friends the actors transitioned their careers from doing mostly comedies to a mix of both comedic and dramatic roles. That means it wouldn’t be too difficult for them to have cameos as more serious characters. The actors are also still friends, so it shouldn’t be awkward if they reunite on screen. David Schwimmer has also sat in the director’s chair for a bit, so there are other ways for the former too. Friends the actors can be involved in the reinvention, if not on screen.
The show may have Friends the actors make an appearance to capitalize on the nostalgia of it all, while letting the show evolve beyond the original or just be a carbon copy with drama instead of comedy.
The new show could still be funny
I’ve always been a firm believer that the best dramas are also sometimes very funny, and that the best comedies know how to add drama without losing the tone of the show. Some shows are darker dramas, like Breaking Bad, the wire, and The Sopranosand then there are tech dramas that have a lighter tone, like Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, and Bridgerton. A drama doesn’t have to be completely melodramatic, violent, sad or dark. There are different levels, so a Friends reimagining doesn’t have to go completely dark and gritty without fun and comedy. It can be a drama that still knows how to make people laugh when needed.
I’m still on the “stop making remakes, let some original stuff be born!” team. But, if they ever make a Friends reboot, I want a complete reimagining of the 90s TV show. Let it keep some of its original DNA, but make something unique and different emerge from it. Now that you’re done shouting “NO!”, you can still enjoy Friends reruns from now until eternity on HBO Max.