Reboots continue to prove there’s nothing new under the sun, but “Get Shorty,” a dark and satisfying 10-episode series premiered Sunday on Epix, makes a persuasive case for recycling. Based primarily in spirit on the 1990 Elmore Leonard novel, the series is a fine upgrade from the almost forgettable 1995 film version that starred John Travolta in his “Pulp Fiction” afterglow. This “Get Shorty” succeeds mainly by making a viewer forget that anything else came before, and shouldn’t that be the goal of all remakes?
Creator/showrunner Davey Holmes (whose writing credits include “Shameless” and “In Treatment”) and co-executive producers Allen Coulter (“The Sopranos”) and Adam Arkin have basically ripped “Get Shorty” down to the studs, remodeling it with a longer arc and richer context.
It’s still about a hit man who tries to make it in the movie business, but this time there’s a “Breaking Bad” sense of desert seediness matched with naive Hollywood scheming that feels somehow fuller and more authentic than past iterations. If nothing else, “Get Shorty” proves just how good the people who make TV are at making TV!