Netflix readies ‘One Day at a Time’ reboot

The latest series to land at Netflix is a rebooted version of the classic 1970s sitcom “One Day at a Time.” The new series will be executive produced by Norman Lear, the television pioneer who created the original series and who is still active at the age of 94.

The 1970s “One Day at a Time” depicted the trials and tribulations of a divorced mother and her two daughters living in Indianapolis. The supervisor of the building they lived in, a scruffy fellow named Schneider, rounded up the cast. As was typical with a Normal Lear production, “One Day at a Time” dealt with a number of social issues mainly having to do with the problems of a single mother trying to juggle career and family. Schneider provided comedy relief with his often unwanted advice to his favorite tenants.

The 21st century “One Day at a Time” has undergone something of a makeover. The show centers around a Cuban-American family that consists of an old-school grandmother played by Rita Moreno, her daughter played by Justina Machado, who in turn has a teenage daughter devoted to liberal causes, and a young son. Schneider is now a younger man who still provides comedy relief, partly derived from race relations.

Making the family Latino breaks down a lot of sitcom barriers. Hispanic families are more common in real life than in episodic television. Also, the show will feature Cuban-American customs and snippets of Spanish that the non-bilingual viewer will understand in context.

Also, Machado’s character is a military veteran separated from her husband who, also having served in the military, is currently working in the Middle East in a private security job. The back story will doubtless serve as a vehicle to add to the problems of a single mother the difficulties faced by veterans returned from overseas wars trying to adjust to civilian life. Vets are another group overlooked by episodic television. Machado’s character will be taking medication for depression, and her estranged husband will be dealing with more severe mental health issues.

To complete the Latinization of “One Day at a Time,” music legend Gloria Estefan has recorded a new version of the theme song. Also, unlike a lot of modern sitcoms, the series will be shot on a multi-camera arrangement, more in keeping with the practice when the original version ran.

The 14-episode first season is scheduled to be available on Netflix starting January 6, 2017.