Saturday, August 30, 2014

Believe It or Not, Fox is Rebooting THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO

I bet you didn't see this scenario coming.

Deadline reported yesterday that Fox has given a put pilot commitment for a modern reboot of the classic ABC television superhero series The Greatest American HeroThe new version will be overseen by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, writers and directors of The LEGO Movie, who will executive produce the hourlong action comedy along with original creator Stephen J. Cannell's daughter, Tawnia McKiernan.

According to the article, Rodney Rothman will write the pilot, which "will chronicle inner-city teacher Isaac’s adventures after his discovery of a superhero suit that gives him superhuman abilities.  Unfortunately for Isaac, he hates wearing the suit and has to learn how to use its powers by trial and error because he quickly misplaces the suit’s instructions.  He also has to deal with a government handler who has very different objectives than him and struggles as to whether he should use his newfound gifts to help others or just himself."

The original 1981-83 ABC series ran for three seasons for a total of 44 episodes and starred William Katt as Ralph Hinkley (changed temporarily to "Hanley" following the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan), a Los Angeles public school teacher of special education high school students, who receives a red suit that gives him superhuman abilities from a group of aliens.  Ralph immediately loses its instruction booklet, and has to learn how to use its various superpowers by trial and error, often with comical results.  Ralph is assisted by his lawyer girlfriend Pam Davidson (Connie Sellecca) and FBI Agent Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp).

The show's opening theme song, "Believe It or Not" by Joey Scarbury, was popular enough to debut in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 on June 13, 1981 and peaked at #2 two months later, spending a total of 18 weeks in the Top 40.

In 1986, the cast reunited for a pilot movie for NBC called The Greatest American Heroine, which revealed that several years after the final episode, Ralph's secret identity was finally made public, resulting in his becoming a celebrity.  This angered the aliens who gave him the suit, and they tasked him with finding a new hero to wear the costume and use its powers for fighting evil.  Ralph found a young woman named Holly Hathaway (Mary Ellen Stuart), an elementary school teacher who spends her off-hours time looking for lost kittens, raising environmental awareness, and serving as a foster mother.  The rest of the episode deals with her learning how to use the suit with Bill Maxwell's guidance, and the pair trying to develop a working relationship.  The pilot was never broadcast by NBC, but re-edited as the final episode of the original series for syndication and home video.

And here's the Season One opening to The Greatest American Hero, featuring Joey Scarbury's classic theme...

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