Most people have a love-hate relationship with reboots. For many of us, some of our strongest connections to geek media come from shows, comics, or movies that have already been rebooted or may someday get the reboot treatment. Often those reboots don’t live up to what we loved about the original, but there are a few exceptions that get it right—sometimes more so than their predecessor.
Whether you love the original material for nostalgia purposes or for specific qualities that only that adaptation can bring, here are five reboots totally worth checking out.
1. Voltron: Legendary Defender
When I first heard that Netflix was planning to reboot this classic ’80s mecha show, I was skeptical. The original Voltron captured a lot of people’s attention, but, even after watching some reruns of the series, I never entirely understood the appeal. However, the 2016 Netflix reboot has a lot to offer, for Voltron veterans and newcomers.
Netflix’s Voltron is about more than just giant robots battling evil. Voltron‘s showrunners previously worked on the beloved series Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, and they brought new layers of dimension to the series’ characters. The various Voltron pilots each have their own insecurities and complexities that add to their identities as pilots and individuals, which makes their mission of defending the universe even more compelling.
With the clean animation, the added character development of the main characters, and the excitement of the show’s central conflict between the Voltron pilots and the evil Zarkon, this is a standout series. Even in the face of danger and against incredible odds, we find ourselves rooting for our heroes to win. Voltron: Legendary Defender lives up to the hype and successfully lures in both old and new fans of the franchise.
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
The Mad Max series has been around since the original film in 1980, and it’s a franchise I’ve always enjoyed—albeit, in an ironic “I’m in the mood for 80s action and a really good battle soundtrack” kind of way. But Mad Max: Fury Road was one of the first action film reboots to redefine not just the franchise, but the genre itself.
Mad Max: Fury Road is also one of the first action films to give a realistic complexity both to its male protagonist and the female heroes who share his spotlight. Max has a vulnerability that strengthens his resolve against Immortan Joe, while Furiosa and the Brides all have narratives of their own. Gender roles are just one way that oppression rules on the Fury Road, but as Max, Furiosa, and the Brides show, physical strength isn’t the only way to gain freedom.
At its core, Fury Road is great because it redefines who gets to be a “hero.” That alone makes it one of the best additions to the franchise, and to the action genre as a whole.
3. Sailor Moon Crystal
This wouldn’t be my kind of list without an anime addition—and one featuring a magical girl, no less! Sailor Moon is a staple in the anime world, yet Sailor Moon Crystal might be a controversial inclusion.
To put it bluntly, the first two seasons of Sailor Moon Crystal left some fans with more to be desired. However, the third season wrapped up earlier this year and really redeemed the series.
Fans love the original anime for various reasons—the goofy Monster-of-the-Week plot, the transformation sequences, and the satisfying knowledge that cute girls wielding pink, heart-shaped weapons can be strong enough to save the world. But Sailor Moon Crystal has all of these things and more – and it is more faithful to the manga than the original Sailor Moon.
Sailor Moon Crystal may not be for everyone, but if you’ve never jumped into the Sailor Moon franchise, this series can help you do just that.
4. Spider-Man: Homecoming
This film hasn’t officially hit the big screen yet, but I’m optimistic enough about the new reboot to include it here. While many of us remember Tobey Maguire’s role in the original 2002 Spider-Man films, or Andrew Garfield’s adaptation of the role in 2012, Tom Holland’s interpretation of the character could be the the best yet. After all, Holland will be a teen boy playing a teen boy (the first actual teenage actor to tackle the role!)—and after his performance in May’s Captain America: Civil War, my excitement for Spider-Man: Homecoming has only grown.
5. Black Panther
For many comic readers, Black Panther is one of the most iconic series to date. The first reboot issue was released this last April, during a particularly important moment in our nation’s history – at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement. As awareness about the injustice and oppression facing the Black community increases, it’s not hard to see the necessity of a fantasy world where they can effortlessly escape. The new Black Panther series also shows how the comics industry is slowly moving towards greater inclusivity, both on the page and within the creative team.
Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, the new series revisits the story of T’Challa and the rich history of Wakanda. But the titular protagonist isn’t the only one making a difference in this reboot—Wakanda and the world of Black Panther are filled with characters who challenge stereotype and display raw emotion and vulnerability. From the intellectually superior society of Wakanda itself to the King’s all-female guard, the Dora Milaje, we see constant images that reinforce the beauty and power of the Black hero.
The franchise is also making history with the upcoming spin-off comic series Black Panther: World of Wakanda, featuring Marvel’s first Black female head writer, Roxane Gay. Gay’s run of World of Wakanda will shine a brighter spotlight on the complexities of Black identity and put the Dora Milaje on center stage.