Am I the only one who has misgivings about PBS’ planned resurrection of The Electric Company? Yes, I’m glad there’s going to be another show helping to teach kids to read (though a TV series promoting literacy seems to me like Col. Sanders building a chicken sanctuary). It’s the entertainment value I wonder about. I naturally assume the new version (pictured) won’t be as clever or brilliantly performed as the 1971-77 original. After all, that show had Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno, Bill Cosby, and Irene Cara among the performers, plus songs by Tom Lehrer and Sesame Street composer Joe Raposo, while the new one… does not. (Though it does have some of the folks behind Blades of Glory, multiple Tony nominee In the Heights, and, um, Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Can’t wait to see Goren in the box, browbeating some misspelling miscreant.) Also, the old show was essentially a sketch comedy series, complete with catchphrases and recurring characters, while the new one will be more plot-driven, centering on a group of kids with superheroic, word-altering powers. Does every piece of kids’ entertainment now have to be about superpowered children?
Okay, maybe I’m just a cranky, Gen-X geezer, jealously hoarding my nostalgia for something I grew up with, instead of letting the kids have their own version. Go ahead, PopWatchers, put me in my place — or share your favorite memories of the original Electric Company.