I have to admit, I’ve been a little excited about the upcoming remake of The Munsters for NBC. I’m a big fan of creator Bryan Fuller, who is known for his quirky, yet brilliant TV shows about the secret lives of grim reapers and piemakers who can bring back the dead. He’s joined by producer Bryan Singer, best known for his work on the X-Men movies. If there were anybody in Hollywood who could tell believable, compelling and hilarious stories about a Frankenstein and a vampire with a werewolf for a son, it’s these two guys.
Well now all that’s about to change with the recent announcement that the project will no longer be title The Munsters and will instead be called Mockingbird Lane. The name change is due to the fact that the show was deemed to dark and spooky to be associated with the Munsters brand name. The creators wanted to convey the feeling that the new show is only loosely inspired by the 60’s sitcom so that fans of the original aren’t put off by this darker update.
This title change of course raises the question of whether or not the show can legitimately be called a remake of The Munsters anymore. Sure the Munster clan had a home on Mockingbird Lane in the original series, but that’s a pretty small detail that most people aren’t going to remember.
Something smells fishy and it’s not one of Grandpa’s potions either. All of the projects that Bryan Fuller is known for have been of his own creation, but they’re also the kind of TV shows that are cancelled before their time. I have to wonder if Bryan Fuller didn’t just pitch a monster family show to NBC and that executive meddling turned it into a Munsters remake. Having the name of a pre-existing franchise attached could just be a ploy to attract viewers, kind of like the way that the Air Force uses commercials that look like video games to attract recruits.
If that’s the case, this name change could mean a few different things for the Munsters remake. This could be a sign of good faith from NBC who may feel that the show can stand out on its own without being attached to a franchise name. It could also mean that they see the potential for a new franchise and don’t want it bogged down by audiences’ pre-conceived impressions of The Munsters. Or it could mean the opposite—that the show is too weird and the network wants to save the Munsters brand name for future use.