TV reboots take on topic of immigration

Trump immigration policies inspiring new shows, revivals

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A number of television shows revolving around immigration began cropping up as Donald Trump rose to the presidency. Since Trump took office, his administration has ramped up deportations and cracked down on illegal immigration in communities across the country.

Popular shows such as “Superstore,” “Jane the Virgin” and “Fresh Off the Boat” recently tackled stories about undocumented immigrants. And several networks announced upcoming new shows focused on immigration.

CBS announced “In the Country We Love,” a drama about a corporate attorney who begins taking on cases for undocumented immigrants. And the CW is developing “Casa,” which focuses on six Latino siblings who struggle when their parents are deported.

The trend also extends to three reboots of favorite television programs that spent years — in one case decades — off the air and never discussed immigration in their original runs.

• “Roswell”: The popular CW show “Roswell,” which featured bona fide movie stars Katherine Heigl and Colin Hanks, mixed teen high school drama with a story about space aliens living secretly in Roswell, New Mexico. During its run from 1999 to 2002, the show was praised by critics who pointed to its thoughtful mixture of genres: romance, coming-of-age, science-fiction and mystery.

Creator Jason Katims told Complex that what attracted him to the show was “this theme of alienation,” a theme that could easily be expanded to include immigrants in the United States.

Despite its setting in a border state, the show never tackled the subject of immigration. That’s about to change with the CW’s reboot of the show, which is in the early stages of development, Entertainment Weekly reported.

The program will follow the daughter of undocumented immigrants who return to her hometown Roswell, where she becomes reacquainted with a high school crush. He’s now a police officer and also a space alien.

• “Party of Five”: “Party of Five, a Fox drama starring Neve Campbell and pre-“Lost” Matthew Fox, followed five siblings who came together after their parents were killed by a drunk driver. It ran for six seasons from 1994 to 2000, focusing on topics as wide-ranging as domestic violence, alcoholism and abortion.

The show sought to usurp stereotypes and to turn “standard expectations about a family of orphans on its head,” co-creator Amy Lippman told the Los Angeles Times in 2000.

Now, Lippman and co-creator Chris Keyser are readying a reboot of the popular series that will revolve around a first-generation Latino family that has immigrated to the U.S. and the difficulties they face trying to adjust to a new country.

• “One Day at a Time”: Norman Lear’s popular sitcom “One Day at a Time,” featuring Mackenzie Phillips, Valerie Bertinelli and Bonnie Franklin, followed a divorced mom as she struggled to raise two teenage daughters on her own. It was a bold show when it premiered in 1975, as television programs centering on a single mother were sill a rarity.

Lear updated it for the reboot, which landed on Netflix in January, to reflect modern America. Like the “Party of Five” reboot, it swapped its white family for a Latino one, specifically the Cuban-American Alvarezes. The main character is still a single mother, who lives with her two children. But now she’s joined by her mother, who emigrated from Cuba.