Black-ish Creator Kenya Barris Has Almost The Opposite Take On Reboots As Most People Complaining In Hollywood, And I Really Don’t Agree With Him

 Kenya Barris on blackaf.
Kenya Barris on blackaf.

Most media consumers are likely aware of the fact that Hollywood is currently in an age that’s dominated by reboots, revivals and sequels. As a result, a number of notable IPs, for better or worse, have been expanded upon in recent years. Much of the TV/movie-loving public seems to have mixed feelings about this influx of nostalgia. And that extends to creatives working in the industry, as many have complained about the trend. Kenya Barris – the creator of black-ish – has a completely different take, though, and, while I respect his viewpoint, I honestly can’t agree with him.

The 50-year-old super producer has been involved with a number of remakes over the past several years. The Witches (2020), Cheaper by the Dozen (2022) and White Men Can’t Jump (2023) are among his credits. Of course, he’s also dabbled in original titles, including the aforementioned ABC sitcom as well as films like You People and The Underdoggs. He mentioned that while sharing his love of remakes with People and explaining why he’s so high on them:

I want all the remakes! I do fresh stuff too, but I feel like there's really no new stories if we're going to be honest, you know what I'm saying?

The Girls Trip writer’s rationale seems to be that the well from which original ideas are pulled is running a bit dry right now. In all fairness, coming up with an idea that’s truly fresh can be difficult. Not only that, but it’s hard for such fare to thrive in this climate, though one could partially attribute that to the glut of franchise revamps on the big and small screens. Kenya Barris also had the following to say:

Like we're all sort of, you know, man versus man, man versus nature. They're all sort of the same thing. So I feel like the idea of having a piece of IP during a time where it was difficult to put people in seats. And if you want to do theatrical things, sometimes if you have a piece of IP that speaks to a lot of people, it gives you something.

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Meadow and Jabari in Entergalactic
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While I absolutely believe there’s value in taking a pre-existing property and updating it, Hollywood has definitely been overdoing it at this point. There are currently so many remakes hitting the market these days that the novelty that used to accompany them has long worn off. Yes, some good TV revamps have been released in the past several years, including One Day at a Time (2017), Perry Mason (2020) and Shōgun (2024). I’d argue, however, that productions such as those are merely drops in an ocean flooded by lackluster reboots.

Additionally, if these past few years have proven anything, it’s that there are plenty of creatives in the entertainment space who have great original ideas. Yellowjackets, Ted Lasso, The Bear, Succession and Atlanta are just a few of the amazing and fresh TV series that have premiered in the last decade. Kenya Barris himself has even managed to produce some original ideas that have made an impact. While somewhat similar to The Cosby Show in some respects, black-ish is among the best Black sitcoms of the past 20 years. I was particularly taken with the animated special he produced with Kid Cudi, Entergalactic, which should be a TV series by this point.

Kenya Barris is reportedly attached to two remakes at the moment, and to say that they’re massive titles would be an understatement. He’s reportedly linked to reimaginings of The Wizard of Oz and It’s a Wonderful Life, per Variety. So, right now, one gets the impression that Barris plans to stay in the remake business, which is definitely his right as a creative. I just hope the market doesn’t continue to become flooded with IPs to the point that they drown out original creations.

All seven seasons of Black-ish are available to stream with a Hulu subscription, and Netflix subscribers should check out Entergalactic.