Why Most of the Best New TV Shows This Fall Are Older Than Me

How come the best TV Show premieres this fall are all from really old properties?

by | Aug 20, 2019


uess what?  At Playful we do more than make (and play) video games… we also watch TV!

Yes. Shocking, I know.

We are just like everyone else that happens to be living through the golden age of tv and the growing streaming wars. We go home at night and have an outrageous number of TV options at our finger tips.

Personally, there are a few TV Shows premiering this fall that I’m particularly excited about, and I noticed something interesting about them….they are all from old IP.

IP in the entertainment and gaming industries is Intellectual Property; the characters, worlds, and stories that movies and video games are developed around.

It’s nothing new to develop big projects around known IP. In fact, it’s generally good business, as a large pre-awareness of the central IP is one of the most powerful marketing factors for studios and networks.  In fact, we are living in an age where almost all of the highest grossing feature films are from old IP.

But, it’s always interesting to think about the lifespan of the stories and worlds that continue to be reinvigorated in new ways and in new mediums.

Overall, of the IP that the TV Shows listed below are based off of, ALL of them were originally created before any social networks existed, before the iPhone existed, and before DVDs existed.  Crazy.

So, instead of just a list of TV Shows I’m excited about, here is a list of TV Shows I’m excited about, along with some general context to help you understand how old this IP really is.

I’m excited to binge watch these shows with you all, but let’s also take a moment to marvel at the timelessness of good storytelling and world building.

The Mandalorian

Where to Watch: Disney+

Premiering: November 12th, 2019

the mandalorian poster

Just How Old Is This New Show?

Actual Age of the IP: 42

When this IP was originally released: Jimmy Carter was President, Elvis had just died, the Atari 2600 was released, and the Commodore PET computer released with 4 kilobytes of memory

How old this show makes me feel: Old enough to remember a time when there were only 3 Star Wars movies…

This is what computer’s looked like when the original IP released:

Why It’s Exciting


Besides the Christmas Special, of course.

Disney+ isn’t out yet, but with a show like this, you can bet they’ll be boasting a ton of subscribers right off the bat.

The story takes place after the original trilogy, and before the newest movies.  There isn’t a trailer yet, but the hype is already overwhelming due to the fact that the story centers on a freaking Mandalorian. If you aren’t familiar with the term Mandalorian, it’s because it was never used in the films. Mandalorians are from the planet Mandalore, and the idea eventually developed into one of Star Wars’ most infamously popular secondary characters, Bobba Fett.

If you aren’t excited yet, John Favreau is at the helm as writer and show runner after already making Disney bizillions of dollars as a feature film director, and the cast is like a who’s who of incredible character actors. Everyone from Giancarlo Esposito, aka Gus from Breaking Bad, to Nick Nolte, to Werner freaking Herzog!  The title character is played by Pedro Pascal, who you might remember from Game of Thrones, Narcos, or Triple Frontier.

Since there is no trailer yet, here’s the Christmas Special to remind us all of the last foray into live action Star Wars.  Think the Mandalorian will be able to one-up this?

Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

Where to Watch: Netflix

Premiering: August 30th, 2019


Just How Old Is This New Show?

Age of the IP: 37

When the original IP was released: Ronald Reagan was President, EPCOT had just opened at Disney World, ET was the highest grossing movie, Prince William had just been born, and Time Magazine dedicated their Man of the Year article to “The Computer” … and wrote it on typewriters.

How old this IP makes me feel: Old enough to remember a time before green screens.

Here is that Time Magazine cover:

Why It’s Exciting

Dark Crystal originally released as a feature film from Jim Henson and Frank Oz in 1982.  As a high concept, dramatic, fantasy story entirely made with Henson’s groundbreaking animatronics and puppetry, it developed a cult following through the years.

The special effects of the 1982 film may feel dated if it’s your first time viewing it, but that’s part of the charm of the original film.  If you don’t have the time to dive into one of the behind the scenes documentaries or featurettes that you can find on youtube, just check out some of the images below to truly appreciate the lengths the filmmakers went to to create this world entirely through practical effects and puppets.

Word is that Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance stayed fairly true to the original films puppetry and special effects methods with the exception of some green screen work, which of course was not available in 1982.

Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is a prequel to the story of Dark Crystal, and boasts an all star cast.  Check out the final trailer below.


Where to Watch: HBO

Premiering: October, 2019


Just How Old Is This New Show?

Age of the IP: 33

When the original IP was released: the first of 4500 episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show had just debuted, The Phantom of the Opera had just premiered on the West End, Top Gun was the highest grossing film of the year, and the first mass market disposable camera was released

How old this IP makes me feel: Old enough to remember a time when Tom Cruise shirtless was a box office asset.

Here is Tom Cruise shirtless and oiled from the year this IP was originally released:

Why It’s Exciting

The Watchmen comic book was originally released in 1986, and is famously described as “the moment comics grew up”.  It’s one of the most revered comic book properties, and was listed on Time Magazine’s 100 Greatest Novels of All Time list.

Adapting this particular IP to other mediums has proved challenging through the years.  The 2009 film by Zack Snyder polarized viewers, and made a very modest amount of money for a big budget super hero movie.  

The forthcoming HBO TV Series is taking quite a different approach from Zac Snyder’s faithful adaption.  Series Creator Damon Lindelof (Leftovers, Lost) used a lengthy instagram post to explain that this new series will not be a direct adaptation, instead, it will be a “remix” that is set in a different world than the original IP.

What is this other world you ask?

2019. Tulsa, Oklahoma.  A world with no internet or cell phones.  Robert Redford has been President since 1992.

Count me intrigued!

Also, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are composing, which should be amazing, as always.

Check out the trailer below.

His Dark Materials

Where to Watch: HBO

Premiering: Fall, 2019


Just How Old Is This New Show?

Age of the IP: 24

When the original IP was releasedpeople were obsessed with the OJ Simpson Trial, the Macarena dance was a BIG thing, Seinfeld, ER, and Friends were BIG TV shows, amazon.com had JUST started selling books, and Mark Zuckerberg was 11 years old.

How old this IP makes me feel: Old enough to remember a time when I didn’t get an Amazon package delivered to my door every day.

Here is this creepy animation of Mark Zuckerberg aging to remind you that Zuck was a child when this IP came out:

Why It’s Exciting

The first book in Phillip Pullman’s epic fantasy trilogy was originally published 24 years ago, and has already been adapted various times across a variety of mediums.  There was The Golden Compass, a big budget film adaptation with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, a radio play adaptation the BBC Radio 4 put out, and even a six-hour theatre adaptation from London’s Royal National Theatre.

So, why not try a TV show!  

The trailer looks pretty amazing, and with Game of Thrones wrapped up, HBO viewers interested in epic fantasy look like they may have a new obsession.

Final Thoughts

I love to see networks and studios making big bets on old IP like these TV Shows.  I, for one, have my TV viewing already planned out for the fall.

What about you?  Are you into these new TV Shows?  Or are there other shows you have your eye on?

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