An opinion on a Totally Spies reboot

#1
On the old forum there was a thread "Does Totally Spies Deserve a Reboot?" Here's a similar post I found. I happen to agree with several things in it (namely that it would be nice to have less formulaic stories or at least more focus on the girls' day to day lives, more character development, and some honest to goodness yuri). I'll repost it in full in case the original disappears.

https://www.rotoscopers.com/2019/05/02/o...-a-remake/

[OPINION] ‘Totally Spies!’: A Show in Need of a Remake
May 2, 2019
in Opinions, TV

(This is a user-submitted post by NJ Truong)

When you bring up Totally Spies!, most people will say something along the lines of “Oh yeah, those girls in red, green, and yellow catsuits who fight crime and fall in love with every boys they see.” That statement is true. However, it undermines the concept of the show. Are we going to ignore all the smack talks between the girls and the villains? What about every science-defying way Jerry manages to bring the girls to WOOHP? Not to mention, the costume changes! Props to the costume design department because the girls don’t just change clothes every episode; they change clothes every scene. That’s dedication. That said, the show does have some problems.

Problem 1: Formulaic Storytelling

For starters, the episodes have a formulaic structure. Every episodes of Totally Spies! begins and ends the same way, with the exception of a few special episodes. At the start of each episode, the girls encounter a problem in their normal lives, then Jerry whisks them to the WOOHP center for a new mission and fancy gadgets that always come in handy. Along the way, one of the girls gets kidnapped, transformed, or brain-washed, leaving the other two to find an incriminating piece of evidence. WOOHP then flies them to the final battle’s location, and the girls save the day. Of course, not without learning something along the way that will help resolve their high school B-plot. Does the formula work? Yes, it works when you randomly flick on the TV, and it happens to be playing Totally Spies! But who turns on the TV anymore? The repetitive structure of the show makes for good mindless entertainment, but it affects how much you want to rewatch or binge watch the show, which in turns affects its memorability.

We can still keep the monsters-of-the-week format, but there should be a central plot line throughout a season. For example, they could introduce a new inconsequential element into the girls’ normal life, let it slowly build up, and then tie it into the main threat against WOOHP by the end of the season. This way, there’s a reason for viewers to return and continue watching the show.

Another solution to this problem is to have more creative storytelling. There could be episodes that can showcase the girls’ skills. Let’s say a bottle episode where they are trapped in a room without any gadgets, and they must use everything in the room to help them escape, or an episode where they are separated from one another, each in a different but equally dangerous situation, and they must rely on their knowledge of each other to breakout. The girls are international spies after all! Plus, the show champions friendship, so why not push their wits and relationships with each other to the forefront?

Problem 2: Lack of Character Development

Totally Spies! overall has great characters. The three girls have distinct, contrasting personalities, yet they work really well with each other. Their bond is a great example of female friendship on TV. Sure, they do fight over boys a bit too often, but they are generally supportive of each other. They are also good role models as young girls can see that there is no default to being a girl. The characters’ femininity is never shamed or portrayed as weak, and being active and sporty is not equated to being a boy. The girls show it is okay to like sports, math, or fashion,  and still be an awesome international spy at the end of the day.

The only problem is that there is barely any character growth throughout the entire show. They stay the same from freshman year of high school to senior year of college. Plus, having a cute boy be their whole motivation gets old once they’re out of high school. There needs to be higher stakes that keep you on the edge of your seat. Need I mention again that they are international spies!

One way to fix this problem is raising the stakes. It doesn’t have to be death, but it could be a dangerous deal that they make with the other side to gather more information for a dead-end case that will later come back to sabotage them. It could be an emotional stake between the characters, a competition for leadership in the group, someone falling behind in school, one of them not as athletic as the rest, or someone conflicted over a villain because of ideology. The possibilities are endless!

Now this next point might be a bit controversial, but bear with me. How about not all the girls being interested in boys? There should be no difference between the girls showing interest in dating a boy or a girl. Understand I’m not asking for there to be a whole exploration of sexuality and a coming-out story. Couldn’t one of the main characters simply identify as gay or maybe have one be completely not interested in dating at all. This aspect brings more representation to viewers and helps them understand that you don’t always have to be interested in the opposite gender or date at all.

(Besides the two issues I’ve discussed already, there’s also the issue of the ridiculous villains. But I’m limited to 1000 words max, so I’ll stop here.)

Overall, I’m a huge Totally Spies! fan, and I believe the show deserves more credit and exploration of its characters and storylines. It’s a shame that the production company of Marathon Media shut down in 2016, but I hope that someone else will try to get the rights of this show and do it justice.
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#2
Yeah, a lot of what this person is pretty spot on. TS honestly has so much potential for great writing/storytelling imo. I have even had quite a few story ideas brewing up in my head for a while, and i feel like they have some potential.

I feel like the rivalries between Clover/Mandy and Alex/Britney all have lots of substance, and they could definitely be expanded upon. And also maybe give Sam her own rival aswell to even things out, like they could bring back Stacy from Season 5 as her rival.

Also, the whole lore/history of WOOHP is something that they could possibly expand upon, since we rarely got to see any lore in the series. We got a bit of lore in in a few episodes, like ‘Forward to the Past’, ‘Evil Promotion Much’ and ‘Totally Dunzo’, so that’s something else that I’d really like to see.

I could pretty much go on all day about a potential reboot of the series, there is just so much room for improvement tbh.
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#3
Don't think I really agree with her premise at all.  First of all, this article I think doesn't really understand what Totally Spies is.  Totally Spies is a gag satire comedy show with action scenes and a spy subplot as window dressing.  It's never supposed to be serious.  It never takes itself seriously and makes fun of itself constantly.  It being formulaic IS part of the joke of the show.  The gadgets being shallow plot devices is also a gag.  It's entertainment for girls (and boys especially after Season 2), but it's not trying to teach anyone anything substantive. 

If we tried to "raise the stakes" and add serious character development, you would end up with an entirely different show.  Personally, while I liked the three part episodes and such, TS overall is something that's not broken and doesn't really need to be re-invented to that extent.  I can think of a few shows that went down that route.  Like Adventure Time went from mindless fun to an unbearable and pretentious Evangelion wannabe show by its end.  I think the term for this is the Cerberus Syndrome.

Quote:We can still keep the monsters-of-the-week format, but there should be a central plot line throughout a season. For example, they could introduce a new inconsequential element into the girls’ normal life, let it slowly build up, and then tie it into the main threat against WOOHP by the end of the season. This way, there’s a reason for viewers to return and continue watching the show.

As to be expected, the writer wants to turn the show into Sailor Moon.  While I don't have anything against Sailor Moon, I really don't think TS needs to have that plot structure.

Quote:Does the formula work? Yes, it works when you randomly flick on the TV, and it happens to be playing Totally Spies! But who turns on the TV anymore? The repetitive structure of the show makes for good mindless entertainment, but it affects how much you want to rewatch or binge watch the show, which in turns affects its memorability.

Really, who cares that TS isn't designed with Netflix binge watching in mind?  Neither was Seinfeld, but I'm pretty sure people still watch that show to this day to the point it's probably the most valuable series in syndication.

Quote:Couldn’t one of the main characters simply identify as gay or maybe have one be completely not interested in dating at all. This aspect brings more representation to viewers and helps them understand that you don’t always have to be interested in the opposite gender or date at all.

Well, first, a lot of people don't want to identify as anything, not because of being in the closet, but because some people are bisexual, etc. and don't want to be shoved into a box.  Why should any character have to announce their sexuality instead of letting you learn it through storytelling?

Also, I think in regards to having gay, bi lesbian characters or yuri or yaoi, it shouldn't be done just for "representation."  I know this idea is being lost on people these days, but that's what we used to call tokenism.  It's a form of pandering.  You know, just checking off a box.  The real question you should be asking is if this character being queer (or hetero, or anything) serves a purpose for your story and characters or for entertainment reasons.  This is how Japan does it, and last time I checked most people I know that are into same sex pairings are into Japanese stuff and not the western stuff that is almost too cringe-inducing for people to watch. 

This even goes back to oldschool femslash fandom.  People loved Xena's subtext because it was fun, not just because they wanted to feel represented, which is a somewhat odd concept imo because I don't think everyone watches fiction just to self insert.  Like the African American people that like Dragon Ball I don't think want Goku to be black for example.  I don't believe in Death of the Author, and I think stories from people who want to include gay characters because they want to are better than the shows where it's done to check off a diversity quotient box. 

I don't know what the point about having a character who doesn't date is.  My asexual friends like watching stuff for shipping as much as anyone else, so I don't know what exactly that is trying to accomplish other than conforming to some weird feminist ideal.

Quote:It’s a shame that the production company of Marathon Media shut down in 2016

I hadn't heard this, but I am the last one to learn these things.  A know a lot of people left, but according to Wikipedia, they were bought out and then renamed.  I'm sure the IP could come back at some point, but with the way things are now, I don't know if I want it to.  Even a company as profitable as Disney couldn't bring back something as simple as Star Wars without majorly fucking it up.  So I'm kind of suspicious of reboots in general until we get back to a more sensible status quo on what entertainment is and what it's supposed to do.
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#4
Personally I would love for either a remake or a continuation (after the end of season 5) of TS! with some of these ideas in mind.
I love the idea of an actual story arc with character development for the main cast. The base show itself is good but there's always room for improvement. 
It doesn't need to be game of thrones level of story, but I would appreciate it having continuity throughout its own show.

Say totally spies were to get a reboot and it just does what season 6 did continuing off with the girls in university, working for whoop, snapping characters out of existence then replacing them with completely new characters and ignoring lore from their own show like when they completely acted like the season 5 finale didn't happen or having Alex say she is allergic to cats in the episode The Fashion Crime in season one only to have her be surrounded by cats and then become a cat furry in the episode Nine Lives in season 6 and somehow she doesn't just die from this???
then I would rather they not make a reboot or a continuation if it's gonna be as weak as season 6 was.

Season 6 had great animation and a lot of it is clean with a cute art style, but I had to force myself to watch the whole season or to care what was going on and the season finale two-parter was so fucking BORING god damn my dude I'm not surprised it didn't get greenlit for another season.
also marathon or whoever has the rights to TS! just don't try to pull off another the amazing spiez cuz that was cringe.

if they ain't gonna make a TS! continuation/reboot with lore that they stick by with characters arches and a story-line I'll just make it myself lol, look out for my edge lord TS! fanfic coming out whenever I feel like it.



I agree with Ryofu that if they decide to add any gay characters in the show that it shouldn't just be for internet woke points. Having a gay character only to be pushed into the background most of the time only to come on screen for the show writers to pull a JK rowling and go

" I'm gay even though I show no interest in anyone nor do I have a partner whom I can without words tell the audience that I am in a relationship with... just wanted to remind you i'm gay "

fuck outta here with that weak shit. Make this character be apart of the main cast and be involved in the story as well as showing their interest in the same sex or them being with their partner or there's literally no reason for them to be there.

also could you imagine the show trying to change Clover and pass her off as gay even though there are 6 seasons worth of her trying to get almost every guy she lays her eyes on back to her house? no one is gonna believe or support that, I WONT BELIEVE OR SUPPORT THAT!

Representation is nice and all cuz I'm a lesbian but it's just not what I'm looking for when there's a possible lesbian pairing that could flourish in a series I'm interested in. I don't want to have to sit through countless episodes of someone struggling with their sexuality or dealing with homophobic people telling them "gay bad, straight good" I watch animated series to GET AWAY FROM THAT SHIT! its fiction!
If you want to see gay people struggle go watch a documentary.
I just want to see two animated women that aren't real that I think are cute together kiss GOD DAMN IT!!!

and if it ends up just being yuri bait ehh fuck me I guess, it's just me looking like boo boo the fool once again  LOL LOL





P.S bring gladis back
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#5
(01-07-2020, 04:35 AM)slime Wrote: also could you imagine the show trying to change Clover and pass her off as gay even though there are 6 seasons worth of her trying to get almost every guy she lays her eyes on back to her house? no one is gonna believe or support that, I WONT BELIEVE OR SUPPORT THAT!

Well, in my own retarded head canon, I see Clover as hypersexual and as a possible bisexual in different scenarios.  You can see this coming through in certain episodes.  Like when she's captured by Violet Vanderfleet, I felt she was starting to get a little flirty with her to get on her good side.  Also when Tara was her assistant, her dom side came out and expressed itself pretty clearly, which could have sexual underpinnings.  Not to mention her entire conflict with Mandy, which you could interpret as two doms battling it out to see who can be subjugated into a submissive role.  That's pretty clearly Mandy's motivation as shown in the whole M.I.G. foot worship ordeal.  lol  Of course any scenario in which you try to pretend like Clover doesn't really like dick after all after chasing after it for hundreds of episodes would be insane, which is why some fanfiction never really manages to suspend your disbelief because they just gloss over that like she was pretending the whole time.  lol

Quote:I don't want to have to sit through countless episodes of someone struggling with their sexuality or dealing with homophobic people telling them "gay bad, straight good" I watch animated series to GET AWAY FROM THAT SHIT! its fiction!

If you want to see gay people struggle go watch a documentary.

Yeah, I call this the Glee Syndrome.  Western writers are pretty awful at this because they see their writing as some kind of postmodern social messaging instead of storytelling or entertainment that stands on its own outside of their own personal social context.  I don't really know why anyone would want to watch "oppression porn" especially if you have experience with it, but the stupid writers of these shows can't see anything from any other view point than their own back getting patted by their peers like their crappy low budget drama is the modern Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Quote:P.S bring gladis back

When Season 3 aired, there was a ton of complaining about GLADIS that she was annoying and stealing Jerry's spotlight, etc.  I guess they listened to that and just trashed her.  I don't know what my feelings are about GLADIS.  I'm kind of neutral on her.  I was more annoyed Mindy was replaced with some male lacky.  lol
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#6
If it's a continuation instead of a reboot, set after season 6, I hope we could see a second round between Ariel and the Spies. At the end of W.O.W she said "I'll be back".

In the case of a reboot, I doubt we'll see that kind of stunt today like they did with Madison in First Brat. https://totallyspies.fandom.com/wiki/Mad...at0255.jpg

Edit: Maybe the current group who hold the right to TS, could allow a Japanerse studio to do a TS reboot in a similar style to PPGZ (Powerpuff Girls Z) who was an anime adaptation of PPG then I mentionned often ^^; in the old forum, called TS Z.
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