HEATHERS TV Reboot Generates Controversy
By Tess Farrand, Contributing Writer
The controversial content of the 1988 cult movie HEATHERS, reshaped last year for television by the Paramount Network, generated more controversy this spring. Season one of the series was originally set to air in March but was delayed due to the school shootings in Parkland, Florida and later pushed back again after the devastating losses of the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas.
The 1988 movie showcases teenagers in high school and the lust for popularity and prowess as the characters plot and eventually succeed in the murders of their fellow high school students in conjunction with several suicides. With some adaptation changes, including the use of several firearms, the television characters follow a similar pattern where they take high school circumstances into their own hands. When screened, the miniseries captivated many studio producers and called for a second season. However, with the national headlines including tumultuous violence on high school campuses, Paramount dropped the series and announced plans to ship season one to another network instead of releasing it themselves.
Paramount showed sensitivity when it held off on season one’s release earlier in the year, but it loses by trading the show to another network. It appears Paramount executives are trying to shift all responsibility for the upheaval the program may have due to its proximity of these gun-oriented tragedies. Regardless of where HEATHERS airs, the TV program will still cloud the viewer’s judgment of recent school shootings by continuing to permeate the mass media with glorified teenage violence and other loathsome behavior.
The current landscape for the program only adds fuel to the fire of the pattern of horrific events in the past six months. In fact, The Hollywood Reporter reported recently that stars from the program were relieved to learn that season one would not be airing. However, this didn’t stop the program’s writers from finishing their writing of all the episodes for season one.
The network’s confidence in the series may be expected, but one that requires more trepidation when it comes to current national concerns in America. There is an irony to Paramount’s attempt to shift network distribution in that it greatly mirrors the original movie’s plot, which involves lots of sneaky behavior. The gossip, brutal betrayal and dismissive attitudes of the characters in the program perpetuate a teen subculture that goes against biblical values.
Entertainment industry executives should show more self-restraint when it comes to programming. If they truly believe a program could be harmful for young audiences, it doesn’t belong on ANY network!
Sources: Hollywood Reporter, 06/01/18.