In 1986, The Monkees experienced a resurgence in popularity after MTV played a marathon of the group's TV series to celebrate their 20th anniversary. In response, Steve Blauner (who worked as an executive producer on the original show) set out to recreate The Monkees for the MTV era. After a highly publicized talent search, The New Monkees hit the air the following year.
The New Monkees features the titular band, who are Larry Saltis, Marty Ross, Jared Chandler, and Dino Kovas, sharing a large mansion with a wide range of inhabitants, including a butler named Manford and a computer A.I. named Helen. The show goes into their wacky adventures as they try to make it as a band. True to its predecessor, episodes featured two music videos.
The New Monkees was originally slated for a 22 episode season, but was pulled off the air after 13 due to low ratings.
The New Monkees contains examples of:
- Artificial Intelligence: Helen is a computer A.I. who tries to run the mansion. Portrayed as an upside-down mouth on a screen...
- Big Fancy House: The New Monkees live in one, along with a wide variety of tenants. How fancy? Instead of a kitchen, they have a diner, complete with a waitress.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Marty.
- Corrupt Church:
- Credit Card Plot: At one point Helen goes shopping with the band's credit cards.
- The '80s: Oh, very much so, both in the music and the aesthetic of the show.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: Jared switches bodies with his dog.
- Greasy Spoon: The diner inside the mansion.
- Man in a Kilt: Marty has a preference for kilts, as seen in the opening.
- Me's a Crowd: One episode features Marty accidentally cloning himself after falling asleep on a copy machine.
- Mirror Universe
- Personal Raincloud: A literal case for Dino in the first episode.
- Shout-Out: One to the original Monkees. The New Monkees are watching TV, and when Micky Dolenz comes on singing "Last Train to Clarksville," they all shout "Dad!"
- Translation: "Yes": Larry, Marty, and Jared are sitting around a fish tank and randomly speaking in (dubbed in) Japanese. Jared says a rather long phrase that translates to just "What?" according to the subtitles.
- Trapped in TV Land:
- Jared finds himself trapped in a "video world" in "King of Space and Time."
- And before in "Test Tube Tube," when Jared zaps himself into a television.