Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday's Forgotten TV: The New Monkees

The untimely passing of Davy Jones this past winter has stirred up further interest in The Monkees, which is something I'm always happy to see, being a huge fan of the group. What many people may not know, however, is that the idea was resurrected shortly after the group's first reunion tour in 1986. The project became The New Monkees, and it's this week's Tuesday's Forgotten TV.

Columbia Television decided to give the Monkees concept a second shot in the wake of the surprisingly successful 1986 reunion of the original members. Four new musicians were selected for a record album and TV series, again with top-notch music producers of the day, but this time with a sound and look that was very very 80s.

That is definitely 80s hair.

Unlike in the 60s TV series, in which the Monkees were portrayed as struggling musicians, the new batch of Monkees lived in a gigantic mansion with crazy technology and an almost magical quality about it (think the Overlook Hotel without the evil). The house was inhabited by the boys' sneering, disapproving butler, a friendly waitress in the mansion's diner--not a kitchen, a diner--and a feminine artificial intelligence that appeared on large TV screens as Rocky Horror-style disembodied lips.

Suffice it to say, this was a large departure from the original series.

It was also a large departure from the original series' success. Although slated for an entire 22-episode run, the show last only 13 episodes in first-run syndication. The accompanying album also went nowhere. It also didn't help that the original members sued Columbia over the Monkees name; the case was settled out of court.

Below is a presentation to potential affiliates to sell the show.

The show's theme song.

One of the band's songs on both the series and their album.

Finally, the band actually had a reunion of sorts as recently as 2007 which was recorded and posted on YouTube. Here they perform a classic made famous by the original Monkees.



Todd Mason said...

I haven't played the clips yet, but I remember the new set as rather talent-free, the scripts of the series pretty sorry...of course, the scripts of the original series were too often pretty sorry, too, but at least the first quartet could sing and Tork and Nesmith could play when allowed to...

Phillyradiogeek said...

While the original series was certainly an artificial creation, it seemed amazingly organic compared to this entity. I don't think the creators really knew what they wanted here, except to cash in on a previous (and at the time for the originals, a recent) success.