File this one underneath “W” for “Wha’ the Wha”: Punky Brewster, a staple of 1980s sitcom land, is steering its course from gently half-forgotten romp to souped-up revival for the 21st Century, this according to Variety.
In an era where tumult is the Alka-Seltzer rule of the day, once popular sitcoms, movies and reality shows are making a comeback not only in an newfound appreciation of their back catalogue of material, but also in full-on revivals which, in many cases, is bringing back all or most of the surviving casts: Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Saved by the Bell, The Real World: New York, Beverly Hills 90210, Young Guns and Dexter are but a drop in the bucket of nostalgia porn that is currently sweeping the globe. And why not? Most of these projects take us back to a better place in time when we were younger and the whole world was laid before us. Ye olde writer of all things pop culture will gladly take high-quality revivals a la Cobra Kai over most of the dreck force-fed to us by the Hollywood studio system (not naming any names – I don’t play that McCarthy foul game – but you know who you are. AHEM.). And now an unlikely comeback as the one and only Punky Brewster is set to drop a revival series this February 25 on the Peacock streaming platform.
Punky Brewster is one of the more obscure of the recent spate of revivals, yet it’s fondly recalled by those like Yours Truly whose memories go back further than the latest iPhone update. The premise is simple enough: A young girl by the name of Penelope “Punky” Brewster (the wonderful Soleil Moon Frye) and her dog Brandon is abandoned Oliver Twist style and, in best 80s primetime television fashion, is taken in and adopted by kindly old Henry; if ever Daddy Warbucks had a lower-rent cousin with a heart of gold, it was Henry. The series was an immediate hit and ran from 1984 until ’88 and even inspired a cartoon spin-off series. And now, its back!
The new series – also titled Punky Brewster (why mess with a winning formula, right?) – has a ten episode order and the story will follow Frye as she meets an orphan who reminds her of her own former self. Joining Frye for this new Punky iteration is original cast member Cherie Johnson and newbies Freddie Prinze Jr. (I Know What You Did Last Summer), Noah Cottrell, Oliver De Los Santos and Lauren Lindsey Donzis.
So grab those multi-colored shoelaces and get set for a return of the one and only Punky Brewster!