Peacock is making a ‘reimagined’ series based on Gen X classic ‘Reality Bites’

I apologize for not seeing this sooner, this news is basically a week old, but I only saw it on LaineyGossip this week. Apparently, Peacock is “reimagining” Reality Bites, the iconic 1990s film starring Winon Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Steve Zahn, Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo. People always forget that Ben Stiller directed that too, and that the movie was very far from a sure thing. While Reality Bites captured one version of Generation X’s ennui, I have to admit that I’ve always kind of hated that movie. I understand it’s importance and all that, and God knows I’m an Ethan Hawke fan, but Troy Dyer is such a manipulative POS. Anyway, they’re making it into a series. Set in the 1990s.

Peacock is bringing another iconic title from Universal’s film library to television. The NBCUniversal-backed streamer is developing a “reframing” of the 1994 Gen-X classic Reality Bites, with screenwriter Helen Childress attached to pen the update.

Like the film starring Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke and Ben Stiller (who directed), the Peacock take is centered on the driven, idealistic Lelaina Pierce and her three best friends as they leave college and try “adulting” in the 1990s. As the world around them is on the brink of a seismic shift, they struggle to hold onto who they are, and to each other.

Reality Bites is the latest Universal feature title to get the TV treatment as the streamer, like others, continues to mine its library for popular properties that could bring subscriber dollars to the platform. Peacock also has adaptations of Universal’s Field of Dreams, Pitch Perfect and Ted in the works. The streamer’s slate also features the third take of the groundbreaking drama Queer as Folk, Sam Esmail’s update of Battlestar Galactica and originals including Girls5eva, Rutherford Falls and the Pete Davidson comedy Bupkis, among others.

[From THR]

This reminded me of the Zoe Kravitz-led High Fidelity reimagining. The reason why the film High Fidelity worked was because it was so zeitgeist-y for that point in time, the late 1990s. I think the High Fidelity series was canceled partly because that story had a hard time translating. I imagine this will too, although I appreciate the fact that they’re not moving the characters into modern times. This will be a “period piece,” and part of the current 1990s nostalgia. The youths – the people born in the 2000s – are very nostalgic about the 1990s. Let me tell them, there were so many Troy Dyer-esque douchebags out there. There was also a lot of fear of “selling out” and/or being seen as a “poseur.” Anyway, since I never loved the movie, I don’t really care that they’re reimagining it into a series. I do wonder how authentic it will be, because there was so much wild everyday sh-t happening in the ‘90s.

Poster courtesy of Universal, additional photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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33 Responses to “Peacock is making a ‘reimagined’ series based on Gen X classic ‘Reality Bites’”

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  1. Kelly S says:


  2. ABCD says:

    I am sure I am not the only one who saw this movie at 12 and thought Troy was the most romantic ever. Saw it again as an adult and realized he is so toxic

    • EnormousCoat says:

      Troy was such trash, but it perfectly captured the start of the man-child movement and women being made to feel guilty and responsible for loser men. I haven’t seen it since I was very young – maybe 14 – but that’s what lingers on my palate.

      • lanne says:

        Yes, he’s a complete douchebag. Today, he’d be a crypto bro who says, “well, actually” a lot and would vote for Trump “ironically.”

      • EnormousCoat says:

        @Lanne. Nailed it. Are you pitching that to the network execs? Bc that is the true evolution of his character.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      I was just out of college when this came out so it was very relatable…and I fully recognized at the time was a d-bag he was. I was like “WHY would ANYBODY want to be with this jerk?!”

      Full disclosure – I went to high school in the same town as Hawke; I was at the only public hs in town and he went to one of the several private schools. but we all hung around and partied together since some folks had been in public school until middle or high school. and he was a total d-bag back then, too. likely because he had been in a movie in hs, but still. so I didn’t like the actor in that role but the character was so jerky!

      ETA: lanne, TOTALLY SPOT ON.

    • Lmao, I actually used to have such an irrational dislike of Ethan Hawke for years because of this movie! I knew SO many douchebags in real life exactly like Troy, and Hawke was so on the nose with capturing the essence of such a person, so much so that it caused me to side eye HIM for the longest time! 😂

    • AuntRara says:

      Haha I saw it when I was 16 and was like WHY DOES HE LOOK SO DIRTY IN EVERY SCENE. Ethan Hawke is/was a really good-looking guy but his character always looked like he slept in a pile of greasy laundry.

  3. Jules says:

    Yea, no. What the hell Hollywood, can’t come up with an original creative idea?

    • Kelly S says:

      No they cannot. Eventually, every single thing ever made will be remade and then rebooted.

      I refuse to watch remakes on principle, as well as refusing to watch any comic-book movies. Yawn.

    • Saba says:

      Writers are still creating new stuff. It’s Hollywood execs fault! It’s always about money.

      They figured out that everything old has a built-in audience, so it guarantees a minimum amount of ticket sales.

      It’s why they keep doing sequels, franchises, books, games or anything already ‘out in the public’ – no need to take the financial risk of trying find a brand new audience!

      It’s called IP (intellectual property), and it’s pure gold for corporate hollywood right now.

      It’s why it’s so important for audiences to take a chance and spend their money on ‘new and unknown’ rather than keep showing up to the ‘familiar’.

  4. ME says:

    Ok I’m a Gen X’er and I have never seen Reality Bites. Maybe it just didn’t speak to me/couldn’t relate to it.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I co-sign ALLLLL of this–that movie was one of several movies–many of them made in the 90s!– that did damage. Maybe everyone else who was roughly the same age as these protagonists had a more solid sense of self, but Jesus H., the message of “if they’re mean to you, that means they like you” was TOXIC AS FUCK.

    Although…I haven’t seen it in a very long time. Maybe the message was ACTUALLY “don’t do what this dummy did” and I just missed it because I was already so socialized toward the “mean people are the people you WANT TO GRAVITATE TOWARD”.


    • angrypineapple says:

      The messages I walked away from were definitely 1/ Douchebag dudes like EH are the norm, 2/ Start smoking at 18 so you can hope to be cool, and 3/ Bad financial decisions around credit cards are going to happen. 2/3 of those did some serious damage to this GenXer.

  6. Nicole says:

    As someone who became a young adult in the 90’s (graduated college in 96), I do not understand the youngs’ nostalgia for that time. Maybe because my parents were splitting up and I was constantly broke, I just kind of grimace when I think about that time. One of my younger cousins (born in 97) loves him some 90’s. He loves higher learning and wants all the tales from the 90’s as if it was some magical time. I got nuthin. Except, I will concede the music was slammin and I do kind of feel that Black cinema was pretty good with Spike Lee, John Singleton, and Eddie Murphy’s career resurgence.

    • Twin falls says:

      I was a 90s college kid and I remember road trips, we were always on a road trip somewhere, with no phones and no google maps. It was different.

    • AuntRara says:

      Being a child in the 80’s was awesome. The way I experienced the 80’s then was really childlike: the sense of optimism I remember, the bright colors, the way everything seemed designed to be over-stimulating. It really fit with how I felt as a kid.

      Being a teen in the 90’s was weird for me because I’m an enthusiastic person who loves to love things and I remember the 90’s as a time when you’d better hide enthusiasm and excitement (even from your friends!) or everyone will think you’re a dork.

  7. Snuffles says:

    I think this movie permanently turned me off of Ethan Hawke. Which is said because I really liked him in Dead Poets Society. I feel like he’s been playing some variation of smug jerk ever since.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      because Hawke is a smug jerk. been that way since hs.

    • I wrote something similar above before seeing your comment, I 100% agree about this movie turning me off to Ethan Hawke and there seeming to be a smugness to a lot of his rolls thereafter. I’ve softened towards him somewhat as he’s gotten older and have wondered retroactively if I was just projecting because I hated the Troy character so much, but now I’m not so sure…

  8. Hootenannie says:

    As a newly 30-year-old millennial, the fact that the 90s would be categorized as a “period piece” really stings.

    Have you seen those TikTok’s of Gen Z saying “if you were born in the 1900s”? It makes me feel positively ancient.

    Like… do they think of the 1900s the way I think of the 1800s??

    To them- Is Bill Gates the 1900s Andrew Carnegie? Are Banksy and Andy Warhol the 1900s Monet and Van Gogh?

    I can’t do this. Please, get me to my walker so I can shuffle off to eat applesauce!

    • AbominableSnowPickle says:

      I turned 37 a week ago…I feel your pain. Hey, wanna play canasta and fight about boy bands?

      * I was more the Daria type, but damn those songs were fun and catchy! BSB, alright!

    • N0b0dy says:

      I think the way they see the 90s is how we saw the 60s. Which… is still depressing 😂

  9. schmootc says:

    I remember when I first started to feel old! So nostalgic for that time. I’m squarely Gen X (about a year and some change away from 50), so I remember this time well. I was running around as a college student/recent grad with little to no money or job prospects. Not a time I think of fondly, but maybe if I’d been a teenager then it would be different.

    I could do without the remake though. I know it’s the same screenwriter and all, but leave it be. I definitely won’t be watching it.

  10. Bettyrose says:

    Winona Ryder is so breathtakingly pretty. And She still is.

    • nb says:

      She really is! I remember an interview where she said when she was getting into acting she was told her looks were too boyish/plain and she wouldn’t make it big because she wasn’t a typical beauty. She even had to fight for her role in Heathers because she wasn’t considered attractive enough to be thought of as a popular girl in high school. How someone could look at her and think that is beyond me. I think she’s one of the most gorgeous women I’ve ever seen TBH, and she’s such a talented actress.

  11. Marisa says:

    Singles was better

  12. Saba says:

    Lelaina and Troy would be horrified!

    The irony of this story being remade given the driving themes of finding your voice / having creative integrity / saying something new and relevant / not selling out / fighting for original content…

    Whoever signed off on this clearly identified with Ben Stiller’s poseur character rather than the rest of the gang, no?

  13. Esme says:

    I seem to recall Winona and Ethan also did NOT get along during the filming of this movie because he was at the height of his unwashed poet phase. But I loved Jeneane Garafalo so much and Ben Stiller knew how to write for her (back from her time on the Ben stiller show!