I have nothing against Head of the Class, a modestly rated sitcom starring Howard Hesseman that ran from 1986 to 1991. I remember watching it rather frequently — it was sort of a Welcome Back, Kotter knock-off — but I couldn’t tell you about any single episode. Rebooting it for HBO Max feels random, like rebooting Suddenly Susan or Major Dad, sitcoms that we might remember but that no one had any real affection for. We are apparently at a point where we’ll just take any IP lying around whether it has any value or not.
What the original Head of Class had going for it, however, was a couple of cast members that would become powerful execs. Dan Schneider, of course, was responsible for creating fully half of Nickolodeon’s biggest hits — iCarly, Drake & Josh, Victorious, Kenan & Kel and Henry Danger, among others — before he was fired for misconduct. There was also Brian Robbins — who basically played the Travolta bad-boy type — who is now the head of Paramount (he was also a director, whose last two films — Meeet Dave and A Thousand Words — were massive box-office and critical bombs). Rain Pryor — the daughter of Richard — was also on the series for a couple of seasons. Robin Givens was probably the biggest star in the world of acting to come out of it (she was also famous for being married to Mike Tyson).
Givens, in fact, is returning for the reboot as an overachieving parent. It is not a series I would expect anyone here to actually watch, unless you have kids in the tween-ish range. Bill Lawrence’s Doozer shingle is producing, and Lawrence’s wife, Christa Miller, will play the principal of the school. The series stars Isabella Gomez (One Day at a Time) as the head of the class, plus a bunch of kids. Phill Lewis — he of the Hooch is Crazy fame — is also producing and appearing in the series.
You can watch the trailer, but even for fans of the original, there is next-to-no-nostalgia value. They probably should’ve just rebooted Welcome Back, Kotter. At least it had the famous yet incoherent Travolta catchphrase, “Up your nose with a rubber hose.”
Head of the Class premieres on HBO Max on November 4th.
Header Image Source: HBO Max