In a world where reboots are all the rage, your favorite high school comedy is getting a very intense TV makeover. A new Clueless television series is in the works from CBS TV Studios, according to Deadline, but it may have more in common with The CW’s soapy mystery series Riverdale than it does Amy Heckerling’s 1995 film or the 1996 ABC spin-off series of the same name.
The new series, which is currently being shopped to networks, plucks Bel-Air princess Cher (played by Alicia Silverstone in the original film, and Rachel Blanchard in the TV show) and Dionne (Stacey Dash) out of the ‘90s and places them into what Deadline describes as a “baby pink and bisexual blue-tinted, tiny sunglasses-wearing, oat milk latté and Adderall-fueled” 2019.
That’s not the only way Clueless will be different this time around. Instead of the show taking on Jane Austen’s Emma (a la the original film, in which Cher attempts to makeover Brittany Murphy’s Tai), it will be a mystery drama that kicks off with Cher’s disappearance. Dionne, Cher’s second-in-command, investigates her BFF’s whereabouts while also navigating life as the new queen bee.
The internet isn’t thrilled with the reimagining, though it’s worth noting that the series hasn’t even been ordered to pilot yet.
If Clueless is a near-perfect film, perhaps it should be left alone, some argue. Others aren’t thrilled with the word vomit of Instagram trends in the show’s description.
I like Riverdale, but Clueless isn’t the same. Riverdale is campily playing with archetypes. Clueless was playing with Jane Austen. https://t.co/EgiznxH956— Mara “Get Rid of the Nazis” Wilson (@MaraWilson) October 17, 2019
I. really have no words for this description. why did they write it like that.— miss witch 🐝 ☾ ･ﾟ✧ (@ms_starling) October 17, 2019
also Clueless was a retelling of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ like you can just…write a new original teen comedy with this plot. or even an original sequel but this as a “reboot” feels weird af https://t.co/r8XiFC6mKm
They can reboot a lot of stuff but don’t you dare come for Clueless. https://t.co/UYLSo48Pw9— Lindsay! (@lindsaytso) October 17, 2019
Maybe I should be cynical about this reimagining, but I can’t help feeling hyped for a world in which Dionne plays detective while sipping from a millennial pink Cha Cha Matcha cup. As a Los Angeles transplant, I’m constantly fascinated by the often surreal culture of the city. (I see Clueless’ oat milk and raise it a blue algae CBD bowl, a real thing sold at a real place around the corner from my apartment.) While social media has made many of these trends ubiquitous, a series that lovingly pokes fun at the city that is their launching pad sounds like my cup of Alfred’s Tea.
It’s not like Clueless is pulling off an entirely new trick, either. Riverdale basically did the same thing for Archie Comics, and despite the fact that the show only makes sense 20% of the time, I’m still watching it, four seasons later. The CW’s latest, Nancy Drew, is already shaping up to be a super fun, Veronica Mars-esque mystery series, with characters that reflect a 2019 sensibility.
Then there’s the fact that Dionne will be the star of this series, putting a young Black woman in the driver’s seat of a teen mystery series. That’s a rare thing, and it’s time that a teen show did as much.
Most importantly: A new Clueless TV series won’t ruin the legacy of Heckerling’s very special film, because nothing can take away the film’s impact on popular culture. I’m ready to jump back into the sandbox with Cher and Dionne, no matter what size their sunnies this time around.
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