With cultural reserves of nostalgic television nearing depletion by years of reboots and the threat of shortages looming, Sony Pictures Animation has made a desperate grab for one of America's last untapped barrels of camp by panic-buying the 1980s series Manimal for a feature film. "Until we open up the unregulated drilling of the mid-to-late 1990s, we cannot be caught unaware by rapidly approaching 'peak kitsch,'" a Sony executive probably said to a boardroom full of grimfaced old men. "Gentlemen, we must buy this half-remembered, legendary flop of a TV show about a rich doctor who fights crime by turning into animals, and we must do it now."
As with its previous acquisitions of The Smurfs and most recently ALF, Sony plans to transform Manimal into a live-action/CGI hybrid, investing all available modern technological advances into telling the story of a guy who mostly only ever turned into a hawk and a panther, anyway. The hope is that this hybridization will help synthesize a more lasting, renewable cultural resource out of a series that barely sustained eight, low-rated episodes in the fall of 1983, before turning into pop-culture vapor capable of powering only ironic quips. But of course, the move also predicts increased fracking in even shallower cultural reservoirs, all potentially spiraling into the destructive unearthing of Small Wonder and, on a less serious note, rioting and mass suicides.
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