HBO Max continues to make some big moves in setting up for its launch in 2020, and it's going to bring back a classic family comedy franchise for a whole new era. National Lampoon's Vacation is a bonafide classic, and we got a reboot of the franchise in 2015. Now HBO Max is planning a Vacation TV spinoff called The Griswolds, which "brings the iconic family home from vacation and explores their daily lives in the suburbs of modern-day Chicago." The series is planned as a half-hour single camera comedy, which will stream on HBO Max. The series is being developed by The Middle writer Tim Hobert and Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki.
With this move, HBO Max is clearly delving into the sort of network family-friendly comedy that has sustained broadcast networks like ABC and CBS during the rise of the streaming era. Shows like The Middle, The Goldbergs, Black-ish, Fresh Off The Boat or ratings king The Big Bang Theory are still staples for a large part of the American viewing audience - and importing that experience to streaming (without the cost of licensing fees for acquiring other networks' content), is a pretty crucial move. As services like Netflix and Hulu have discovered, users binging half-hour TV sitcoms is a major factor in snagging and (more importantly) sustaining a viewer base.
As stated, the Vacation franchise has been through several installments since the original film was released in 1983. In each case, the films have followed the Griswolds during some kind of "event" in their lives (a family vacation; the Christmas holiday; a Las Vegas trip) - we have yet to see how the family dynamic (and all the hijinks that go along with them) functions in an everyday, slice-of-life, format. It could be great, or could pale into other popular TV families of today - like Hobert's own creation, The Heck Family, from The Middle.
Obviously, the series would open the door for various actors from the movie franchise (Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Beverly D'Angelo) to make an appearance - as well as other famous faces. No word yet on casting for The Griswolds yet - including whether or not Galecki would appear in the show. Now that the show has been announced, that information should be coming shortly. Stay tuned.
HBO Max will launch in May 2020.