Good ol’ Night Court. I have to admit: I’ve been a fan as long as I can remember. Growing up in the ‘80s rocked and that included TV. My favorites were The Cosby Show, The Wonder Years, Cheers, and of course, Night Court. Something essentially slapstick quirky just resonated with kids. I largely tuned in for all the zany characters and the craziness that befell the cast. Keep in mind I was all of 11 when it went off the air.
My mom remembers that my favorite character was Dan, which rightfully left her a little concerned. That is not how I remember it at all. Yes, I loved to laugh when Dan quite rightfully got himself into trouble every episode, but my favorite characters were Christine and Harry. Just like everyone else, I wanted them to end up together. The bailiffs – and I mean all of them going back to Selma – were great too. I suppose that is what bothers me most: Night Court never seemed to get the proper sendoff or recognition it rightfully deserved. What endears me most about Night Court is the fact that it never tried to be something it was not. We just loved it for the campy, quirky, crazy show that it was. Anything could, and often did, happen.
This is precisely what gives me hope for the reboot. Going by what I saw in the first two episodes, Night Court isn’t trying too hard. Is it perfect? No. I want to know what happened to Christine, Max, Roz, and Bull. Christine especially deserves a mention considering the “ending” of the original series included both Harry and Dan professing their love for her. While Harry decided to remain a judge and turndown several incredible job offers, he and Christine acknowledged their feelings for one another. At the end of what should have been the last episode (altogether another story that only highlights issues with the ending), Dan decides to resign as assistant DA and follow Christine to Washington, DC. Harry is told this, and immediately exclaims “My Christine!”
In the first episode of the reboot, Harry’s daughter Abby moves to New York to become the new night court judge, taking over a position her father held 30 years ago. She is just as idealistic as her father. She also happens to look as though she could be Harry and Christine’s daughter. Almost immediately, the public defender in her court quits and she looks up Dan. Given the “ending” to the original series, Dan most assuredly would have asked after her mother if indeed Christine was her mom. We only know that Harry is her dad. Sadly, much of the original cast has since passed on, including Harry Anderson (Harry Stone), Markie Post (Christine Sullivan), and Charles Robinson (Mac Robinson). If I have one hope for the new reboot, it is that they find subtle ways to allude to the earlier show/cast. They do a wonderful job of doing so in the case of Harry and Dan. As of yet, no one else is mentioned.
I admit, I wavered as to whether or not I was even going to watch. Then I learned that John Larroquette (Dan Fielding) was instrumental in getting it made, and the new cast consists of fans who grew up with the show much as I had. The first two episodes are off to a solid start. We will see if it will find its own niche. I will say that the creators of the reboot did an incredible job of keeping the vibe of the old show (the dingy old courthouse in particular) while “updating” things a bit. The new bailiff, Donna Gurgs, somehow channels both Roz and Bull at different times throughout the show. There are tons of nods to the ‘80s in new show, my favorite being the mural of the Golden Girls – a stupid silly plot point that could only take place in Night Court.
I recently watched some of the earliest episodes of the original Night Court from season 1. It is clear that it took a while for the show to hit its stride – a few years, in fact. The reboot definitely has potential, and I am reassured that it is in the hands of fans of the original. Do not be afraid to check it out. It is currently streaming on Peacock.