The reboot of the cult-classic sitcom ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ is reportedly in the works, after it ended abruptly about five decades ago. Why should we be excited about it?
In the post World War 2 era, when most of the studio executives were playing it safe and green-lighting the sitcoms that only catered to the American middle and lower middle class, came a sitcom that was as bonkers as it sounded. ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ premiered in September 1965 and was set around World War 2’s highly notorious Nazi concentration camps era. This was akin to reminding the audience of the horrors they had suffered a little more than two decades ago. But covering the atrocities in humour and making jokes about it, did something unexpected, it soothed the wounds.
- ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ review
- Why ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ got cancelled in 1971?
- The reboot of ‘Hogan’s Heroes’
The series was set in 1942 and revolved around some heroic American soldiers who attempt a sabotage and espionage campaign right from under the noses of the Nazi Germany high command. The series ran for 6 glorious seasons and became a smash hit. But, somehow, it ended abruptly and the fans waited for the 7th season, which did not happen. And now, decades later, there are murmurs of a reboot or the continuation of the series. Will we finally, after 5 decades, be able to get what was rightfully ours, a satisfactory conclusion to the series, or are we getting an entirely new story? Let’s find out.
‘Hogan’s Heroes’ review
‘Hogan’s Heroes’ did not waste time setting things up and took us straight into the middle of the action at a Nazi camp called Stalag 13, where American Colonel Robert Hogan and his band of brave American soldiers are held as prisoners of war. They attempt to run their operations from the tightly guarded camp. But to their relief, the Nazi officers on their watch, such as Hans Schulz and Wilhelm Clink, are shown as absolutely dim-witted. The half-hour-long episodes dealt with a new problem in every episode and were laden with funny gags, slapstick humour, some political jokes along with some Hitler jokes. To an average American, soldier or not, who suffered the atrocities of the war, it was a gentle whiff of cool breeze and, rightly so, the series became a mega-hit, garnering great ratings right away.
The show went on to receive 12 nominations for Emmy Awards, with Werner Klemperer grabbing two of them for his wonderful portrayal of the Nazi enlisted man, Wilhelm Clink.
The madcap humour being the strongest element made the episodes easy to watch. Almost every other episode of this cult classic brings something new to the table, a new angle to the plot, or a new charming character to watch. All in all, the series hit the right notes and it was successful for the right reasons.
However, it was not only a bed of roses for the creators Bernard Fein and Albert S. Ruddy. The series was hugely controversial back when it was released and while the general people certainly liked it enough to make it climb to the top 10 ranks of the television series’ list in the first season itself, the critics were less amused. They emphasized on the point that an atrocity like this shouldn’t be treated lightly and it was disrespectful for the hundreds of thousands who had died due to the direct actions of Hitler. But art won over the people and as the series progressed, it became a phenomenon towards the late 1960s. It was also the era of civil rights and the Vietnam war, which further helped the series gain good leverage.
Why was ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ cancelled?
The final episode of ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ aired in 1971. The threat of London’s destruction as three rocket launchers are aimed at the capital of England was set as its premise. And, after that, the series just ended. The fading ratings might have been one of the reasons but it also seemed like the writers had been drained of ideas. They were touted as the reasons for the producers backing away from funding it any further. At that time, it was a norm to take the shows off-air with even a slight dip in the ratings. Cruel!
The already controversial nature of the sitcom further fuelled the fire. In that way, the series stole the conclusion to one of the greatest series of its time.
Everything we know so far about the ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ reboot?
While many cast and crew members from the series are no more among us, “Deadline.com” brought us great news in September 2019. They mentioned that the co-creator of the original show, Albert Ruddy, was collaborating with Village Entertainment Group and Rough Pictures to bring us a reboot of the series. While it obviously won’t be possible to resume the show from where it ended 5 decades ago, the show will reportedly feature a new cast and crew members, most possibly the descendants of our heroes from ‘Hogan’s Heroes’. Finally some good news, eh?
Well, we can’t wait anymore. It will be really interesting to see what direction the sitcom takes.
Write in comments about your earliest memories of watching this great cult classic from the 1960s and what would you expect from a reboot?