In a bid to stay relevant, MTV exhumes the only IPs they still control.
The last time you heard someone chant “I want my MTV!” was probably during a PBS special directed by Ken Burns detailing the dusty, early days of cable television. Memories are foggy, but passions are still inflamed.
It might be hard for you youngsters to understand the pain of knowing that MTV existed, but the tyrants who controlled your cable package refused to make it available. Cue *Kieth David voice* “More than three million Americans fought in the great cable wars. American homes became headquarters. American churches and school houses sheltered the dying.” Yeah, not quite The Civil War, but MTV was our right, and we fought for it.
Today, MTV is little more than a pop culture watermark. A detail to flavor your ’80s period teen comedy. Their Movie Awards capture our attention every other year or so, but the supremacy in which they once reigned is long gone. A nearly infinite list of YouTube all-stars has replaced the VJs of yore. Billy Idol sits by a rotary telephone, waiting for Adam Sandler to call.
Determined to remain relevant in the current market, MTV is launching MTV Studios. According to Deadline, the goal is to focus primarily on remakes, reboots, and retreads. The company does not have many options. As Marvel Studios proved after they had sold off the rights to their most popular properties, you work with what you’ve got.
The IPs they control are The Real World, Made, The Hills, Beavis and Butthead, Daria, and Aeon Flux. How is your excitement level? Are you screaming for the return of Puck? Do you even know who that is? With this news, it is easy to fall into eye-roll, but let’s not let our cynical side take over.
In its day, Daria was a biting animated comedy that celebrated youth’s misanthropic push-back of adult values. As the title hero, Tracy Grandstaff, voiced the distress of an entire generation, fighting against conformity and the ease in which we compromise our values in an effort to get ahead financially. Daria is a champion perfect for our contemporary climate.
The plan is to relaunch the series as Daria & Jodie. Writer Grace Edwards (Inside Amy Schumer) is taking point and will presumably refocus attention on classmate Jodie Landon. As one of the few African-American characters, Jodie often stressed over the example she made for other students. She resented her place on the social ladder and raged against the hypocrisy of her daily life. Like Daria, there is plenty of injustice out there to fuel her fire.
MTV has been contemplating another live-action remake of Aeon Flux for a while. Set after a massive environmental collapse sent our planet into an apocalypse, the animated series followed a leather-clad assassin through her daily routines of mayhem and slaughter. The cartoon already spawned one mediocre adaptation starring Charlize Theron, and it bombed at the box office. A second attempt is curious but packed with potential.
Teen Wolf showrunner Jeff Davis is taking over the character from creator Peter Chung. Davis already proved that miracles do exist after transforming the Michael J. Fox werewolf comedy into a broody, wannabe Twilight hit. Aeon Flux exists in an incredibly compelling dystopia and offers a large canvas for imaginative geeks to spread their wings. Crank the anger and violence to 11; Aeon Flux is the anti-Star Trek of sci-fi social commentary.
MTV Studios is still looking to partner with an SVOD platform. Their goal is to spread their IPs across a wide web of services, putting their product in front of as many eyes as possible. I wish them good luck. The battleground is populated with dead studios that have attempted such feats, and they’ll have to produce some seriously kick-ass quality to turn heads. I doubt The Real World will do it, but Daria and Aeon Flux might.