How to Fail a Relaunch: Get Smart 1995 (TV Showcase #16)

Let’s be honest: I’ve been speaking pretty highly of the shows I’ve been posting on here. I mean, I wouldn’t blame you, dear reader, if you were to think that I’m just a couch potato who falls in love with any TV show ever. And it’s true that I enjoyed this show as well. But let’s be real here: “Get Smart” 1995 was a flop, a failure. I mean, come on, have you ever even heard of a “Get Smart” reboot before? There are reasons, though, and I’ll explore them as soon as you click “continue reading”.

“Get Smart” was a 1995 revival of the 1960s sitcom of the same name. If you’ve seen “Get Smart” season five, then you might remember that Max and 99 had twins. Well, this reboot starred their son, Zach, who kind of took the place of his father Max (who at this time was the new chief of Control). Zach worked with a girl his age who went only by her number, 66 (sound familiar?), and together they battled KAOS, led by the evil Chairwoman. The show ran for seven half-hour episodes, making it the shortest show (in length of time) that I’ve ever watched (shortest episode count goes to “The Prisoner” 2009 with six episodes, if you were curious).

So, before we get into the reasons why the show was cancelled, what are some things the show did well? First, they kept Don Adams and Barbara Feldon in their original roles of Max and 99. And they mentioned Zach’s twin sister, which kept the show’s continuity (although 99’s bogus story of how she and Max got engaged was completely different from the original series). Even Siegfried returned for a brilliantly-penned episode, with a daughter of his own. Plus, there was the recurring character of agent zero, whose specialty was disguises, and this meant that literally anyone could play him/her in any given episode. Those were the good things. Now for why I think it got cancelled.

First of all, 99 was not present very often, and Max was more in the background. Plus, he was older, and he wasn’t suffering the chief’s anger anymore because he was the chief. The generational jump from Max and 99 being the main characters to Zach and 66 taking that role was to big of a leap for fans of the original “Get Smart”. Additionally, the KAOS Chairwoman was not very memorable at all; she didn’t have any qualities that Siegfried had, and she was just too generic of a bad guy for the world of “Get Smart”.

Now, all of this might have been made up if the show was more action-packed, or had more physical comedy and ridiculous stunts, but it didn’t; it was the same kind of verbal jokes that the original had, with the most action being running through a casino or having a gun pointed at Zach right before Max (predictably) came in to save the day. Now, none of these verbal jokes made for a bad show, but the show didn’t stand out being that it was the same kind of thing the original had, just in a more modern setting. Plus, the clash of style between Max’s 60s humour and Zach’s 90s humour never seemed to gel.

So, while clever and funny, “Get Smart” 1995 just didn’t have what it took to reboot the hugely popular original series. What do you think?

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