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8 forgotten sequel series to hit shows of the 1960s

The Bradys, Beaver and Monkees all made a comeback.

Image: CBS Television Distribution

The lens of nostalgia seems to focus two decades in reverse. What was hot 20 years ago is hot again now. This phenomenon largely began with Sha Na Na, American Graffiti, Grease and Happy Days in the 1970s, all of which fondly recalled the leather-and-pomade era of 1950s rock and roll. Today, the '90s are hip, as Full House has come back as Fuller House and the grunge look hangs on mall racks.

Likewise, the 1980s saw some serious nostalgia for the 1960s, which ran much deeper than the Fat Boys recording with the Beach Boys. A significant number of '60s TV shows made a comeback in the Reagan Era. Favorite characters returned to the small screen — everyone from Munsters and Monkees to the beloved Bradys. 

Let's take a look at these sequel series. Have you seen any of them?

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1

The New Leave It to Beaver (1984–89)

The Cleaver comeback first began on the Disney Channel, with a reunion sitcom titled Still the Beaver. After jumping cable stations to TBS, the show switched names to The New Leave It to Beaver. So, what ever happened to the all-American family? The Beaver was now divorced and living with his two sons at mom's house. Wally, meanwhile, was the next-door neighbor. The sequel turned out to be quite successful, producing more than 100 episodes over four seasons. Of course, you can watch the original on MeTV.

Image: Disney

2

The New Gidget (1986–88)

The opening credits looked like a suntan lotion commercial and reintroduced us to Gidget, who was now a twenty something beach freak married to "Moondoggie." She was running a travel agency. To amp up the nostalgia, '60s pop idols like Jan and Dean and Wolfman Jack turned up, too — but no guest stars were as big as Bob Denver and Alan Hale, Jr., who dressed up in familiar Gilligan's Island garb.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

3

The New Monkees (1987)

Hey, hey, these were not the Monkees! Larry, Jared, Dino and Marty never reached the stardom of Peter, Micky, Davy and Michael. Part of that was perhaps due to the music, which took a deep dive into plastic synth-pop. The tie-in album tanked, too. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this attempted syndicated reboot was its parent distribution company, Coca-Cola Telecommunications. You would have thought they learned their lesson with New Coke.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

4

Mission: Impossible (1988–90)

Mission: Impossible has proven to be one of the sturdiest franchises, to the point where the Tom Cruise movies are better known than the source material. Even more overlooked is this 1988 revival, in which Jim Phelps (Peter Graves) returned from retirement to lead a new IMF team. Original series actors Greg Morris and Lynda Day George appeared, too. Instead of a tape self-destructing, a disc would explode. Hey, the digital era had arrived!

Image: CBS Television Distribution

5

The Munsters Today (1988–91)

Former Catwoman Lee Meriwether teamed with John Schuck to play Lily and Herman in this quietly successful comeback. The pale imitation aired for three years and 72 episodes. The theme song proclaimed, "We're the Munsters, we went to sleep 20 years ago," which is hardly a way to excite viewers.

Image: NBCUniversal Television Distribution

6

The New Lassie (1989–92)

The world famous collie had a new owner, Will McCullough, who, as far as we know, did not fall down a well. The most notable thing about this wholesome offering is that it gave Leonardo DiCaprio his first screen credit in a scripted role. He played "Glen" in two episodes.

Image: IMDb

7

The Bradys (1990)

The Bradys are perhaps the most beloved characters on this list, which might be why their comeback flopped harder than all the rest — some things should remain as they were. After missing out on The Brady Bunch Hour, "Real Jan" was back in the fold. However, there was now a "Fake Marcia," as Leah Ayres, star of Bloodsport, stepped in as the eldest daughter. Greg had company, as every character seemed to have a perm. Only six episodes were produced.

Image: CBS Television Distribution

8

Get Smart (1995)

Yes, that is Andy Dick on the left. Fox half-heartedly attempted to revive the franchise with Get Smart in 1995. Dick portrayed Zach Smart, son of Max and 99. The show ranked 133rd out of 142 series and was swiftly canceled after a handful of episodes.

Image: Sony Pictures Television

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