Twenty years later, and it’s still a different world from where you come from. It’s safe to say that I am not the only fan longing to see a 2014 adaptation of the Hillman College crew on the small screen. A reunion is long overdue. In a recent interview, legendary director and actress Debbie Allen expressed her plans to see “A Different World” back on primetime television.
Allen told The Grio, “I just wanted to have the name so that I could get started again. Bill Cosby wanted to see this happen. Right now we’re kinda at a standstill. I got really far up that ladder, and then I got stopped. So we’re going to re-investigate it again because it’s such a good idea”.
I couldn’t agree more Ms. Allen, I couldn’t agree more. Bringing back the classic sitcom would be a monumental moment for Black TV. There’s a void to be filled and the time to do so is right now.
When I was in college, I scheduled my classes around “A Different World” reruns. Yes, I am that big of a Hillman junkie. That was just four years ago. Fast forward to now, and very rarely do I find anything on television that sparks my interest. I find myself often setting my dvr for those same classic episodes. That proves just how powerful a quality TV show can have on any generation.
Unfortunately, reality shows are quite popular as opposed to a scripted series. While reality TV is cheaply produced, it in turn produces a cheap outcome. Long gone are the days of “Leave it to Beaver” and even “Family Matters” where the moral of the story is presented to the audience on the cue of sappy song. Today’s youth are smarter than that. They want the rough, edgy and sometimes painful truth. Let’s be honest, they’re smarter than we were coming up and deserve televsion that will challenge their versatile minds.
From the Trayvon Martin case all the way to the Donald Sterling controversy, it’s time that Black social injustices are presented in another manner than in the form of angry Twitter rants and in the views of one-sided, self-proclaimed “experts” on network television. If you recall, “A Different World” appropriately addressed the Los Angeles riots of 1992. While these issues can be complex, it’s time to get the conversation going.
Remakes can be quite sketchy. For example, NBC did a reboot of the 1960’s series, “Ironside”. The 2013 remake, starring Blair Underwood, was yanked before the season ended. On the flipside, TNT revived “Dallas” with a mix of old and new characters. It’s already slated to return for a fourth season.
How could you possibly go wrong with the dynamic duo of Bill Cosby and Debbie Allen?
Black television is missing a void. As much as I love “Scandal” and “Being Mary Jane”, it would be a refesher to see wholesome, informative television that younger audiences could connect with. It’s never a bad thing to try out an old recipe with some new flavor.
Hopefully one of the networks will get smart and pickup an “A Different World” relaunch. The fan base is still there. I’ve even come across a Twitter account with a 2014 version of the original characters: @hillmantoday. Whitley, Dwayne, Freddie, Kimberly, Ron and the crew are waiting to be revived.
I definitely wouldn’t be mad if Ms. Allen called me to be a writer. Hey, it could happen!