To Reboot Or Not To Reboot, That Is the Question

It’s all in a word.

The big word in the entertainment media these days is “REBOOT”. Now, according to, the definition of “reboot” is:

verb (used with object)

1. to restart (a computer) by loading the operating system; boot again.
verb (used without object)

2. (of a computer) to be restarted.

3. an act or instance of restarting a computer.


So, we are making clear that “reboot” refers to actions someone does to a computer.

Why are Hollywood studios calling movies and TV shows “reboots”?

First of all, I remember when movies were new versions of older movies they were called “remakes”. If subsequent movies continued the same characters from the first movie they were called “sequels”.

When Daniel Craig took over the role of James Bond 007, the producers took him back to his beginnings before he became 007, and essentially forgetting all the prior Bond movies history. But, Judi Dench continued in the role of M from the Pierce Brosnan era of Bond films. But most everything else is classic Bond (except the Heineken?!?!?). Would this be called a “reboot”?

When JJ Abrams made Star Trek (2009) I do not feel “reboot” is a proper term. It was a combination sequel and re-imagining via alternate timeline. Leonard Nimoy returned as the original (and much older) Spock, and often referred to the history of the original series during the movie, even younger Spock (Zachary Quinto) deduced that they were all the victims of time-travel disturbance and were an alternate universe. Star Trek is rife with episodes of alternate universes and none of those episodes were ever called “reboots”. This movie did not create a whole new version of the original episodes so much as it is an alternate timeline universe of the original series. Star Trek The Next Generation was not reboot of Star Trek (set a century later), Star Trek Deep Space Nine was not a reboot of The Next Generation, and so on and so on… they were all sequel series.

The recent Battlestar Galactica series by Ronald Moore was clearly a complete re-imagining utilizing the same base concepts. It was not a restart of the original series from 1979 but a completely new concept in the 21st Century. Not a reboot, so much as a remake or update.

Dallas on TNT is my biggest peeve. TV Guide and other entertainment media call the new series a reboot. What did it restart? The new series is a direct sequel, because the original actors from the first Dallas series are playing their original characters twenty years older. The producers did not recast JR or Bobby or Sue Ellen (like JJ did in Star Trek). (And God bless Larry Hagman for bringing one of the greatest TV characters to life in all the history of TV!)

Do you agree? Should “reboot” be left with the computer world? or does “reboot” apply to anytime you follow up on an original idea? (and with that logic, is our next Task Force novel a sequel or a “reboot” too?)


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