“And Then What?” The Reason We Love Reboots
Hollywood keeps remaking and reimagining cultural classics. The reason we keep coming back to watch them has a lot to do with how God created us.
The last episode of Full House aired on May 23, 1995—nearly two decades ago.
Two decades ago.
That’s absurd. Do you know what else happened in 1995? Microsoft released Windows 95, for starters. Windows 95. Do you remember that? It was a big deal. People were extremely excited about Windows 95, and not just because of its awesome brick wall screensaver (although, let’s be honest, it didn’t hurt).
Also a big deal in 1995: the movie Toy Story, the George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine, and the announcement of a brand-new technology called “the DVD.”
What I am trying to say here is that it’s been a little while since we last heard from the Tanner family—and yet no one seems to mind that Netflix is planning a Full House reboot. In fact, a lot of people are visibly excited to see so many of the original cast reprising their roles in the upcoming series, Fuller House.
Why is that, do you think?
We’ve been down this road before
Full House certainly isn’t the first old show to have new life breathed into it, and it won’t be the last. Beverly Hills 90210, Battlestar Galactica, Fawlty Towers, Hawaii Five-O, Star Trek, Get Smart, Doctor Who and countless others have all been reimagined in one form or another with varying degrees of success. And there are plenty more in the works.
Why are we so unwilling to leave our favorite characters at the end of a trilogy, at the end of a series finale or at the end of the very last page? Why is it that talks of sequels, reunions and reboots fill us with excitement—or, at least, fill up our news feed? Why is it that every ending makes us instinctively ask, “And then what?”
I have a theory.
I think we’re hardwired that way. I think we’re naturally inclined to hate endings, to always be looking for the next chapter, the next verse, the next episode, the next movie. The finality of an ending scene can be hard to accept, especially if we’ve invested any serious amount of time into following a set of characters around their fictitious universe.
The author of Ecclesiastes was inspired to tell us that God placed eternity into the heart of man (Ecclesiastes 3:11). That being the case, it’s little wonder that we have such a distaste for endings or that we jump so eagerly at the chance to once again spend some time with our favorite characters.
The more important question is: Why are we hardwired that way? Why did God place eternity in our hearts? Did He just want us to be able to enjoy Netflix binges or was there a deeper purpose?
Dwelling in eternity
God had a plan when He created us. The Scriptures reveal that plan, and they reveal that God hates endings too. “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit’” (Isaiah 57:15).
God, who dwells in eternity, who exists without beginning or end, wants to share that eternity with us. Just as so many of us hate to see the end of a fictional story, God hates to see the end of our stories. He created humanity to expand His family, and He placed eternity in our hearts so that we would see endings as He does—as sad, undesirable moments truncating a story we would have much rather seen continue forever.
Just as so many of us hate to see the end of a fictional story, God hates to see the end of our stories. He created humanity to expand His family, and He placed eternity in our hearts so that we would see endings as He does.The continuation of our story requires a bit more work than the rebooting of an old TV series. To reboot Full House into Fuller House, Netflix executives had to agree on a plotline and haggle over budgets and salaries. To continue on in eternity with our Creator, we have to allow God to help us change who we are at the core of our being. As we noted earlier, He’s looking for people with a “contrite and humble spirit,” people who seek to understand His way of life and to adopt it as their own way of life.
The end of endings
It’s not easy. But you know what? It’s worth the effort. Even reboots have to end one day. Fuller House might eventually become Fullest House, which could conceivably be rebooted into Seriously, You Guys, We Can’t Fit Any More People in This House Without Violating Several Fire Codes. But they’ll each have an ending. At some point, viewers will have to say goodbye to the characters and stories they’ve come to love watching.
God’s story doesn’t work that way. God’s story doesn’t end, and He wants us to be part of it. It requires work on our part—yes, a lifetime of work—but the end result makes all that’s required of us pale in comparison to what we’re receiving. The apostle Paul explained it this way:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Something incredible is coming, and we have the chance to be part of it.
Now that’s the story I really want to see.
To learn how God offers us the chance to be free of endings, read our article on baptism, “A Clean Start.”