Get ready for a ‘Heathers’ reboot with more diversity and the same dark plot
At this point, there’s nothing you can do to stop it, so you might as well just get ready for it now. Grab your croquet sticks and sit tight because a Heathers reboot is officially in the works for TV Land. The network is making it into an “anthology” series, with each season taking place in the same narrative world, but not following each other in sequence. That sounds like it will either be terrible or just the trick to doing it right.
The 1988 film has already been turned into a musical, and although some of the dead characters come back to do a song and dance, it apparently sticks to the dark themes of suicide, school violence, and bullying. How cheery old TV Land is going to pull all of that off is way beyond me. But it could work.
Popular teen and tweeny shows these days, like Pretty Little Liars are just as dark as Heathers would have to get to stay true to the source material. While the premise of Pretty Little Liars is totally fucking absurd, the show is dark, weird, violent, and even a little creepy at times. If Freeform can do it, so can TV Land.
However, there are some things in Heathers we just don’t do anymore. Like smoking cigarettes, which is one of Veronica’s best habits. It’s also going to be rough to talk about getting fucked with a chainsaw. But that’s small stuff; the fact that the plot centers around students murdering each other and the male lead, J.D., trying to blow up his school seems to be a little problematic now that school massacres happen all the fucking time. It’s not a crazy end to a story anymore, and recreating that for the small screen, in an anthology series might be a little tough.
So a 2016 version might have to be toned down. Or it could be a really dark, ambitious way to talk about violence and all of the bullshit American high schoolers put up with these days, without entering into the cheesy world of something like Pretty Little Liars. With smartphones and laptops and just the right soundtrack, Heathers could totally fucking work.
But if they’re going to reboot, they better reboot it well. TV Land has ordered a pilot and gotten Leslye Headland (from Sleeping With Other People and Terriers) to direct, so this thing might actually have a chance. They’ve already announced that Heather McNamara is now a black lesbian, Heather Duke a man who identifies as gender-queer, and Heather Chandler has a body like the original’s Martha Dumptruck, according to The Hollywood Reporter. There is no confirmation yet about what the Veronica or J.D. characters will be like, but it already sounds like it’s going to be just as real as the original was all those years ago.