No New Ideas: Now ABC Is Making (Another) ‘Uncle Buck’ Television Series

By  · Published on October 8th, 2014

Universal Pictures

Did you like the movies of the eighties? Then you’re going to love the television series of the teens.

Deadline reports that ABC is currently working on a half-hour sitcom based on John Hughes’ 1989 “New Classic” (we use the TNT designations in this house) Uncle Buck, with Universal TV and producer Will Packer (the immensely successful producer behind both Ride Along and the Think Like a Man features) on board to turn the film into a weekly offering. The new Uncle Buck will be, well, pretty much just like the old Uncle Buck, as Deadline reports it “will center on a childish man, played in the film by [John] Candy, who learns how to be an adult by taking care of his brother’s kids in a very childish way.” Weirdly enough, this isn’t even the first time that Uncle Buck has been turned into a small screen offering ‐ a CBS series based on the movie hit screens for one season back in 1990. One season. Big hit.

Of course, Uncle Buck is not the only beloved eighties property to be getting the small screen treatment this pilot season, and it’s certainly not the most egregious. Let’s take a journey, back to a period of time when original entertainment wasn’t such a wholly foreign concept, to explore what else network television is so forcibly mining for new material.

Real Genius

At the end of September, Deadline reported that NBC is working on a sitcom reboot of the 1985 Martha Coolidge comedy. The show’s connections to the original feature seem tenuous at best, as Deadline explains that it’s imagined as “a present-day reboot of the cult film, set as a workplace comedy. The show centers on the relationship between a rock star-like genius ‐ the character Kilmer played in the movie ‐ and a sheltered, naive co-worker.” Um, okay. Why is this a Real Genius reboot, again?

Problem Child

Earlier that month, Deadline also shared the news that NBC is also bringing the 1990 comedy Problem Child to the small screen (sure, it’s not exactly eighties, but the kid-gone-wild tale shares the same DNA as plenty of the films of the earlier decade). Another single-camera comedy, there’s no word on how the show will differ from the original film, if at all. (The first Problem Child film spawned two sequels and an animated series, so this just might be the least shocking reboot of the bunch.)


Earlier this month, we learned that Fox is currently working on a new series based on the Tom Hanks-starring “oops, I am an accidental adult” comedy, Big. The news hit our own Chris Campbell particularly hard, as he has long believed that Big not only shouldn’t be made in this day and age, but straight up couldn’t be. Even with the news that, hey, Fox is really going to try to prove him wrong, Campbell still argues that the show is irrelevant, thanks to these previous series. As of now, the show is still in development.

Say Anything

Mere days ago, news also hit the wire that NBC was working on a series based on Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything, a tacked on ending set ten years in the future. Crowe’s justice was swift and mighty, and once word got out that the series was in the works, Crowe voiced his disapproval on the Internet, leading to NBC pulling back ‐ pretty swiftly! ‐ on the planned series. It’s unfortunate in a number of ways that neither Hughes nor Candy are here to resist this new Uncle Buck show. Maybe Crowe can curb this one, too.

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What’s next? Pretty Woman? Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? (Wait, that already happened.) Weird Science? (That one, too.) The Breakfast Club? One Crazy Summer? Better Off Dead? There’s plenty of material ripe for the picking, but that doesn’t mean it should be.

As Uncle Buck’s beleaguered teen Tia tells it: “Do have any idea how embarrassing this is? You driving me up to my school where everyone can see you? I can’t believe I’m related to you.”