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The Greatest American Hero Returns

The Greatest American Hero

Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing. Reaching back to the early 1980’s for inspiration and finding a show that you vaguely remember as an awesome premise can lead to problems.  Do you remember The Greatest American Hero?

Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Fox remember the series.  They are so fond of it, in fact, that Fox has ordered a pilot to reboot the series according to Deadline, with Lord and Miller overseeing the project.  Indeed, the teacher in a red superhero suit may find his way back to the small screen very soon.

The idea of the show is quite humorous.  A school teacher is given a superhero suit from an alien being.  The suit, complete with instruction booklet, grants numerous powers to help the teacher protect the citizens of Earth.  The problem is, the teacher is quite a clumsy individual and loses the instruction booklet very early on.  During his various adventures, he uses trial and error to determine the suits powers.  Hilarity ensues and The Greatest American Hero is born.

The original show was a product of Steven J. Cannell Productions, who also produced 21 Jump Street.  Fans will connect Jump Street to Lord and Miller from the film reboot in recent years.  Most recently, Lord and Miller found success with the wildly popular Lego Movie.

This is also not the first attempt to bring this series back to television.  In 1986, the original cast reunited and attempted to reboot the series as The Greatest American Heroine.  That pilot was not picked up but as since been used in DVD and syndication releases as the final episode of the original series.  Nathan Fillion was interviewed by MTV News in 2009 and stated that he would be interested in rebooting the series.  Nothing more came from that comment.

The new show could be a complete reboot or could continue on the story.  An episode during the second season of the original series revealed that Ralph, the title character, was not the first person chosen to wear the suit.  The Greatest American Heroine episode revealed that Ralph had become a celebrity, drawing ire from the alien that bestowed the suit upon him and was subsequently forced to find a new person to wear the suit.  The idea that the suit can be passed from one hero to the next leaves an easy entry point for the new series that also allows for appearances by the original cast should the writers be so inclined.

The biggest problem, despite the obviously solid story line, is that the show really was not that good in the first place.  It gained a cult-like following as a typical low-budget show of the era.  It was good in theory, poor in execution and moderately entertaining at best.  The Greatest American Hero may turn out to be a solid venture for Fox in the future but it also has the ability to be a colossal failure.

Fox simply hopes that the show can land on its feet better than the title character could.

What do you think of The Greatest American Hero returning to television?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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