Paramount Gets Scared And Pulls 'Heathers' Reboot, Says It Hits "On So Many Hot Topics"

The idea of a Heathers remake always seemed like a bad idea, whether it was to be a movie or a TV series. The original movie, which is brilliant and a personal favorite to '80s kids like me, took a tongue-in-cheek view at school violence which was destined to rub people the wrong way nowadays. It went forward anyway and seemed to have found a home on the Paramount Network, but a few months ago they delayed the premiere after the Parkland shooting, a move that was understandable. Now the network has decided a delay simply isn't good enough.

Viacom has decided to pull Heathers completely off their slate with no plans to release it on any platform. They have begun a search to sell the anthology series to another network. The action comes in response to the Sante Fe high school shootings last month. Here is Paramount Network president of distribution Keith Cox...

“This is a high school show, we’re blowing up the school, there are guns in the school, it’s a satire and there are moments of teachers having guns. It’s hitting on so many hot topics. This company can’t be speaking out of both sides of its mouth, saying the youth movement is important for us and we’ve done all these wonderful things to support that and at the same time, we’re putting on a show that we’re not comfortable with."

He added that this is a "bold" decision that they stand by.  The network had already greenlit a second season which would have gone a totally different direction, focusing on Marie Antoinette's court.

This version of Heathers is similar to the 1988 classic and centers on Veronica (Grace Victoria Fox, in the role made famous by Winona Ryder), a high school insider who grows disenchanted being part of the popular but vicious Heathers clique. She and her rebel boyfriend JD (James Scully, not Christian Slater) take it upon themselves to fight back against the high school hierarchy.  The reboot saw the return of OG Heathers star Shannen Doherty in a supporting role as JD's mom.

I imagine if this show is going to move forward it'll be somewhere like Netflix, which already airs the controversial teen drama 13 Reasons Why. But if a deal can't be worked out there then I expect we'll see Heathers die a quiet death. On the one hand I'm not sad to see this reboot go away, I think the original movie is more relevant right now than ever, especially its commentary on school bullying. But at the same time I'm against shows like this being shelved because they're too hot for some people to handle. These are probably the same folks who blame TV and video games for mass shootings.

Cox is worried the show hits on too many hot topics, but what he really means is the show hits on too many hot topics in a satirical way and some people are dumb and will take it as literal. I think there are too many dumb people out there and we should be attempting to educate them through smart, high quality shows. Not saying that Heathers is one of those, we haven't seen it to be able to judge, but we also may never get the chance to find out and I suspect this happens more often than we know. I suspect there are a lot of great ideas that never make it past the pitch stage for fear of exactly what is happening now. What Paramount is doing is cowardly, not a show of respect. The latter would be to take on the issues of school violence head on, not to turn and run from it the way Paramount is doing now.