I honestly don’t remember much about Varsity Blues, the late 90s coming-of-age drama from MTV. I remember some of the stars, I remember the most memorable lines, I remember the soundtrack but that’s about it. It’s all a bit of a haze but, hey, I was all of 13 when it hit theaters.
The film has garnered quite the following over the years with some heralding it as a damn near classic. Up-and-coming streaming service Quibi has noticed this acclaim because they are planning a Varsity Blues remake when the streamer launches in 2020. The sorta series (more on that later) will be directed by Anne Fletcher and written by Tipper Clancy. Will it be a straight-up remake? A reboot? A sequel? We don’t know at this early stage.
So what is Quibi and what will this Varsity Blues be like? Quibi is a short-form video service created by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman. It promises “quick bite” movies and shows that will be told in chapters. So this Varsity Blues remake might essentially be a movie but it’ll be broken down into 8-to-10 minute snippets. On one hand, it makes sense: in the era of YouTube and viral videos, a lot of audiences want short content. On the other hand, that’s a difficult way to tell a cohesive story and could prove frustrating for audiences. But Katzenberg is no slouch, the guy has faith in the service and A LOT of money to spend. He’s also attracted some big talent, like Don Cheadle, Iris Elba, Paula Pell, Darren Criss and even Steven freaking Spielberg. So don’t write off Quibi just yet.
If this new service is able to capture something special in their short-form productions and is able to grab the attention of millennials who are comfortable with such storytelling then it could be big. Remaking a popular high school drama is a damn good start at grabbing that audience.