Who says there is no originality in television? Well, lots of people, actually. So the idea of a sitcom inspired by My Fair Lady sounds… only okay. Selfie, starring Karen Gillan (Doctor Who) and John Cho (Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle) is an update of the Eliza Doolittle-Henry Higgins tale. The title may be the best thing about it. Gillan stars as “Eliza Dooley”, a narcissistic social-media addict: she “has 263,000 followers who hang on to her every post, tweet and selfie. But one lonely day, she has a revelation: being friended is not the same as having actual friends.” She hires a publicity guru (Cho) to rehabilitate her image after an embarrassing video goes viral. The new show begins on September 30th on ABC but you can stream the pilot on Hulu.
There’s nothing new about updating old concepts (see what we did there?). The shadow of Dragnet looms over every police procedural from Cagney and Lacey to Homicide to The Wire to the various incarnations of Law and Order. Crime shows that feature forensics all owe something to the original CSI. The short-lived reboot of Fantasy Island depended a lot on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Still, though, audiences should be concerned not just at the lack of originality in Selfie, but in the idea that it’s inspired by the musical My Fair Lady instead of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. Then again, Shaw’s play was itself a version of something even older.