How Faithful Should Remakes Be to the Original?

The commercials for the new movie Dark Shadows seem pretty funny and quirky, but how true is the remake to the original gothic soap opera that inspired it? The new film seems to be an outright comedy whereas the television series that it is based upon (which aired from 1966 to 1971) was certainly campy but wasn't intentionally laughter-inducing. My wife, who was a big fan of the short-lived, more dramatic 1991 primetime reboot, definitely isn't motivated to see the new film.

It's not the first time Hollywood has taken a popular old TV show and made it into a new movie with a major tonal shift. Some examples include The Brady Bunch, Charlie's Angels, Starsky and Hutch, and Land of the Lost, all of which had their camp factors pumped up to ridiculous levels in their motion picture incarnations. The reverse happened with Lost in Space, the beloved camp classic that was turned into a more serious, darker film.

Hollywood takes a huge gamble when it makes such changes. On the one hand it uses the brand of the old series to attract nostalgic audiences and maybe new viewers by making the alterations, but it might also turn those fans away and confuse the general public by straying so far from what the original was all about. Does the new 21 Jump Street really have anything to do with the TV drama that shares its name beyond the superficial similarities?

I might still give Dark Shadows a chance. It's directed by Tim Burton, one of my favorites, and it has an outstanding cast -- Johnny Depp as vampire Barnabas Collins, Eva Green as witch Angelique Bouchard, Michelle Pfieffer as matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Chloe Moretz as teen Carolyn Stoddard, Helena Bonham Carter as psychiatrist Julia Hoffman, and Jackie Earle Haley as caretaker Willie Loomis, with appearances by Christopher Lee and Alice Cooper.

But will it really be Dark Shadows or will it just try to get by on its name?

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