It seems like everything is having a comeback these days. Disney recently launched a sequel of Boy Meets World called Girl Meets World, in which Cory and Topanga are married and their daughter is the main character of the show. CBS is talking about a Charmed remake, FX recently re-made Fargo. It seems that now that children of the 80’s and early 90’s are entering the workforce, nostalgia has a firm place in pop culture. We are the first generation to have access to Youtube clips of our favorite cartoons; Netflix streams The Magic Schoolbus, and Buzzfeed writes articles about our favorite childhood toys. So I can’t say I was surprised when I heard that Jason Blum, director Jon Chu, and Scooter Braun were planning a live action movie the 80’s cartoon Jem and the Holograms. But I can say I was pretty excited about it.
Jem ran from 1985-1988, so I while I wasn’t alive during its run, I inherited the dolls, the tapes, and the fanaticism from my older sister.
Jem follows the story of Jerrica Benton, whose father passes away at the beginning of the series and who leaves his record label, Starlight Records, to her. She and her sister, Kimber, form Jem & the Holograms along with guitarist Aja and drummer Shana when Jem discovers a supercomputer called Synergy able to create holograms in an instant.
Jerrica also inherited a home for orphans, Starlight Manor, from her father, and all of the Holograms efforts to become successful are ultimately to benefit the orphan home.
Of course, no one realizes that Jerrica is Jem and Jem is Jerrica, she keeps her identity secret with the help of Synergy (who changes her hair and costume only, but I guess the eye makeup fools everyone?). Even Jerrica boyfriend, Rio, doesn’t realize they are the same person, and is forever conflicted by his feelings for both women.
Of course, no show is complete without a villain. Rival group the Misfits (Pizzazz, Stormer, and Roxy) spend their days constantly trying to sabotage the Holograms.
The show features music and music videos from both groups, and like the theme song says, the Misfits have better songs.
There’s not a ton of information about the remake set to release in 2016. Director Jon Chu directed some Justin Bieber documentaries, and Scooter Braun is his manager, but I’m going to try to look past that. So far the cast is Aubrey Peeples (Nashville) as Jem, Aurora Perrineau as Shana, Stephanie Scott as Kimber, Hayley Kiyoko (The Fosters) as Aja, and Ryan Guzman (Pretty Little Liars) as Rio. IMDB also lists Molly Ringwald and Juliette Lewis in the cast, but without characters attached to them, and some very uninformative promotional shots have been released:
Jon Chu has said that the film will be a modern-day, live action re-make of the classic show. With the amount of ABC Family regulars in the cast, there’s a good chance the target audience will be the tweens of today instead of the kids of the 80’s, but the fan support behind the project is strong. As is always the case with new interpretations of beloved works, this could go one way or the other, but one thing is for sure: the original show will forever remain truly outrageous.
You can follow the progress of the film at jemthemovie.com. The original Jem & the Holograms streams on Netflix, and is available on DVD.