“Reboot” is a fairly new term in the world of motion picture, television, and pop culture franchises, and is similar to that of a ‘Remake” It was adopted from lingo used to describe when a computer’s operating system is shut down, and started back up. The action on a computer usually corrects problems with the operating system, thus allowing applications to run more smoothly. When the term “reboot” is used for a pop culture franchise, the production crews are seeking a similar effect. They are hoping to attract a new audience, broaden an existing one, or just creatively take stories and concepts in a different direction.
An early example of a cinematic reboot happened within the Sherlock Holmes films produced between 1939 and 1946. Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce starred together in 14 movies as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. The first two films, The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes were both placed in the period of the original novels. The third film in 1942, Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, shifted Holmes and Watson to contemporary times.
A great modern example of a reboot is the Star Trek film franchise. In 2009 the movie Star Trek took the characters from its classic television series and began telling all new adventures about them that were unburden by previously established story continuity. Up to that point the Star Trek film franchise was a continuation of the television show, featuring the same actors that had made the roles iconic. Now those roles had been recast, but with attention and respect firmly in place for the those that first gave life to the space-faring heroes. Sometimes distinguishing a “reboot” from a “remake” might be tricky. Generally speaking a “remake” is an isolated production, as to a “reboot” which has the intention of being the start of many new productions to come. At any rate, the term “reboot” is still far quicker to say, and has more meaning in the computer age, than “wiping the slate clean.”