Hot on the heels of the Beavis and Butt-head reboot, another popular '90s series is getting a second life. Fox announced over the weekend that it is bringing back an updated version of In Living Color, to air as two half-hour specials in spring 2012 — possibly leading to a whole series relaunch if the outings prove to be a ratings draw. Back in the '90s, the hit sketch comedy series launched the careers of the Wayans brothers, Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, and Jennifer Lopez, while introducing TV audiences to indelible characters like Homey D. Clown and Fire Marshall Bill. But outside of Saturday Night Live, variety shows have long struggled to find viewers, and many recent attempts to reboot classic TV shows have failed spectacularly. Could In Living Color 2.0 succeed?
The timing is right: With most viewers getting their sketch-comedy fix on YouTube and other internet sites, the market for such TV shows has been "anemic" for years, says Mark Lorenz at Manolith. One reason is that many attempts at creating a competitor to Saturday Night Live "have fallen by the wayside." But people obviously still like sketch comedy, and SNL is "circling the drain." So it makes sense to revive the one show that actually gave SNL a run for its money.
"In Living Color returning to TV!"
But will it still push the envelope? "Two snaps up," says Lynette Holloway at The Root. The original In Living Color "set a new standard for comedy sketches." Not only did "outrageous and politically incorrect routines" help the show become a watercooler staple, but they often sparked important social discussions about "racial injustice and homophobia." It's telling, however, that the original show met its demise when the Wayans clashed with Fox execs over alleged censorship. "In today's politically correct society," it should be interesting to see how many hot buttons the show will push.
"In Living Color to return to TV"
Let's hope it doesn't hew too closely to the original: There's a danger that this revisit of In Living Color will be "overly nostalgic," says The Wall Street Journal, especially given the fact that Keenen Ivory Wayans will be back to host. Any sort of reverence or harkening back to the sketch show would "undercut what made the original so popular to begin with": its groundbreaking humor, a fresh comedic perspective, and an edginess that made In Living Color a worthy alternative to Saturday Night Live in the first place.
"Can In Living Color be colorful again?"