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MTV presses the rewind button, brings 'TRL' out of retirement—but why?

MTV presses the rewind button, brings 'TRL' out of retirement—but why?
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For television executives, future success seems to lie in the past. From sequel series, such as "Raven's Home", to reunion reboots, such as "Will & Grace", many TV networks are turning to old favorites to attract new audiences. Yet, while nostalgia certainly seems to sell these days, MTV's upcoming "Total Request Live" revival fails to take the passage of time into account.

When "TRL" began its initial run in 1998, life was much different than we're used to now. YouTube was still about seven years away from its debut, internet connections were primarily of the dial-up variety, and cell phones were bulky, analog devices that belonged to businessmen and... well, Zack Morris. Texting wasn't possible, but beepers were still popular, and killing time on the "World Wide Web" meant monopolizing your family's landline. Without music television, video never would've killed the radio star.

By the time "TRL" called it quits in 2008, the world had transformed dramatically. Smartphones existed, even if they weren't yet widespread, social media was on the rise, though it didn't retain the same level of influence it does today, and nearly every video you could imagine was accessible on-demand thanks to Wi-Fi networks.

Now, nearly 10 years later, MTV's already fighting an uphill battle before "TRL" even premieres.

First and foremost, the team must tackle the elephant in the studio: social media. For those of us who grew up during Carson Daly's "TRL" days—the days before DVR and live-streaming—our idea of "sharing" was talking about the latest Britney Spears video the next morning before the first middle school bell rang.

Today's teens and tweens, however, will likely spend more time staring down at their smartphone screen than their TV. Perhaps that's why the network plans to split hosting duties among five VJs during this go 'round—they need to satisfy this generation's self-induced ADHD. How they'll integrate social media remains to be seen, of course, but it'll likely distract the viewers from the true premise of the show.

MTV presses the rewind button, brings 'TRL' out of retirement—but why?

MTV will also have to pad the show's latest incarnation with plenty of appearances and performances by today's top artists if the network hopes to gain and retain the interest of these fickle viewers. Anyone can watch the hottest music videos of the day via YouTube now—a luxury unavailable to its original audience—so even the countdown alone won't draw people in, no matter how interested they might be. Plus, anyone who's ever watched "TRL" knows that they only play videos in their entirety when they premiere and when they retire, so if they stay true to the nature of the show, they'll need to find a way to alleviate the subsequent disappointment.

While "TRL" was our reason to rush home back in the day, it doesn't hold much allure for modern audiences, at least not in its original form.

MTV lost its way for years as executives focused on developing reality programming that disregarded the "M" in "music television" entirely—think "Jersey Shore" in all its spray tan glory—but the current leadership hopes to return the network to its lyrical roots. If executives can channel today's young music lovers' fascination with social interaction and use these behaviors to enhance the "TRL" experience, they might just attract the audience they seek.

As for us oldies? We will probably take the Carson Daly route and leave well enough alone. If you need us, we'll be off in the corner relearning the dance moves to "Bye, Bye, Bye" for old times' sake.

Images c/o ABC News, Uproxx

'Buffy' then and now: 'The Vampire Slayer' turns 20

'Buffy' then and now: 'The Vampire Slayer' turns 20
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Feminism's recent surge to the forefront of society's collective mindset signals the definitive shift in both popular culture and modern perceptions. Yet, while we see strong women leading the way on-screen and off, that wasn't always the case. In 1997, it was still quite commonplace to see women portrayed as nothing more than the stereotypical damsel in distress.

Then “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” came along. Instead of needing someone else to save her at every turn, she's the one everyone depended upon to vanquish evil and restore order. She wasn't helpless, but she wasn't flawless, either, making her one of the most relatable female characters on television (aside from the whole "vampire slayer" aspect, of course).

Joss Whedon's legendary storytelling also introduced one of the first mainstream lesbian storylines to grace our screens, as Alyson Hannigan's Willow Rosenberg found herself falling for Amber Benson's Tara Maclay. Thanks to Whedon's steadfast belief in LGBTQ representation, the characters' level of intimacy made this relationship stand out from all other same-sex TV couples prior, for they offered more than the usual two-dimensional depiction of the time.

Earlier this year, the groundbreaking series marked its 20th anniversary, inspiring fans to reminisce about the show that changed the entire course of television history. (Think that's an overstatement? Then you might want to read this interview with Shonda Rhimes...)

Here's what some of the cast's biggest stars have been up to since the show's finale in 2003:

'Buffy' then and now: 'The Vampire Slayer' turns 20

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers): While Gellar has experienced great success on- and off-screen—she's been married to fellow actor Freddie Prinze Jr. for nearly 15 years, a.k.a. practically forever by Hollywood's standards—she also co-founded Foodstirs, which sells baking kits for kids, in 2015.

'Buffy' then and now: 'The Vampire Slayer' turns 20

Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg): We all know Hannigan will be forever remembered as the "band camp" girl from the “American Pie” franchise, but Buffy's witchy BFF has since found even more success as Lily Aldrin on CBS's “How I Met Your Mother” for nine straight seasons.

'Buffy' then and now: 'The Vampire Slayer' turns 20

Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris): While Brendon's character will always be remembered for his quirky, comical lines, the actor's real life has been anything but funny, as he's been arrested six times in recent years for allegedly choking his girlfriend, trashing his Florida hotel room, and numerous other incidents.

'Buffy' then and now: 'The Vampire Slayer' turns 20

Anthony Head (Rupert Giles): Head voluntarily downgraded his role to guest star during the show's final season because he wanted to spend more time at home in Britain with his family, but his career hasn't slowed since his move. He's also starred in BBC's “Manchild,” “Silent Witness,” “Spooks,” and “My Family.”

'Buffy' then and now: 'The Vampire Slayer' turns 20

James Marsters (Spike): While Marsters went on to expand his sci-fi repertoire with roles on “Smallville” and “Torchwood” over the years, he's also spent his post-Buffy days working on his musical career. His band, Ghost of the Robot, reunited in 2010 after Marsters concluded his relatively successful solo stint.

'Buffy' then and now: 'The Vampire Slayer' turns 20

David Boreanaz (Angel): Everyone knows Angel left Sunnydale behind for his own spinoff long before Buffy bid the airwaves adieu, but after five seasons, Boreanaz quickly transitioned to his new role as FBI Special Agent Seely Booth on FOX's “Bones” for the show's entire 12-season run, which wrapped earlier this year. 

'Buffy' then and now: 'The Vampire Slayer' turns 20

Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn Summers): Yes, Dawn started off as one of those characters who seemed destined to ruin the series, but it was hard not to give Harriet the Spy the benefit of the doubt. Trachtenberg has since earned featured roles on “Six Feet Under” and “Gossip Girl,” as well as leading roles in both “EuroTrip” and Disney's “Ice Princess.”

'Buffy' then and now: 'The Vampire Slayer' turns 20

Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase): Soon after 'Angel' left the show at the end of season three, Carpenter's character joined the vampire on his quest for redemption in Los Angeles. While her subsequent roles haven't replicated the same sustained success, fans can see her alongside action's biggest names in “The Expendables” and “The Expendables 2.”

'Buffy' then and now: 'The Vampire Slayer' turns 20

Seth Green (Daniel "Oz" Osbourne): If you haven't seen Green's face in quite some time, that's probably because it's his voice that's doing all the work. Not only does the ex-werewolf voice Chris Griffin, on “Family Guy,” but he's also the co-creator, co-producer, writer, director, and frequent voice actor of “Robot Chicken,” the Emmy-winning sketch series. What a mouthful!

'Buffy' then and now: 'The Vampire Slayer' turns 20

Eliza Dushku (Faith Lehane): Buffy's fellow slayer went on to land starring roles in both “Tru Calling” and “Dollhouse,” but it's her recent actions that are making a mark. Not only did she reveal her battle with drugs and alcohol at the Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness, but she also went back to school to obtain her degree in sociology from Suffolk University. I do believe that satisfies the modern definition of "slay.” Don’t you? 

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Keepin' it short since 1987.