‘Highway to Heaven’ Reboot Star Opens Up About Succeeding Michael Landon

by Kati Michelle
(Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

If you’re a fan of classic TV, like most Outsiders, you probably don’t have to be reminded about “Highway to Heaven’s” legacy. The original drama ran on the NBC network from ’84 to ’89 starring Michael Landon as Jonathan Smith. The premise of the show involved the story of an angel sent down to Earth to help those in need. The newly announced “Highway to Heaven” reboot actually premieres this weekend. As with any reboot, fans might be a little weary of the new cast.

Michael Landon’s got some pretty big shoes to fill, after all. The revamp sees actress Jill Scott co-starring alongside actor Barry Watson. Turns out, Watson actually grew up watching the series and wants to do it justice. Here’s what he said about tackling the “Highway to Heaven” legacy that Michael Landon left behind.

‘Highway to Heaven’ Reboot Star Says Michael Landon Was a Big Piece of His Childhood

Not only did Michael Landon star in the original “Highway to Heaven,” but he actually created and executive produced the whole thing. He also ended up directing most of the episodes over the show’s 5-year run. The hit show marked Landon’s third and final TV series. It was also the only work of his set in the more modern-day.

Like the original, the “Highway to Heaven” reboot revolves around a modern junior high school. Jill Scott plays the angel returned to Earth in the form of a junior high counselor and Barry Watson plays her right-hand man. He gushes about Michael Landon’s legacy and how it impacted him:

“Michael Landon was such a huge, huge part of my childhood,” he said in a recent interview. “I was just really honored to be a part of it and nervous as well.” He also went on to praise his co-star Jill:

“She’s got this sort of like angelic presence about her. I can’t imagine anybody else playing that role besides Jill Scott,” said Watson.

Barry Watson Talks Spirituality and Religion

Barry Watson played Matthew “Matt” Camden on the family drama “7th Heaven” from the early 2000s. This makes the “Highway to Heaven” reboot the second work from the star to hold a religious reference in the title.  “What’s the next heaven thing I’m gonna do?” he jokes.

Although his family raised Watson as Roman Catholic, he prefers a different label nowadays. At the end of the day, he feels more “spiritual” than “religious.” And he thinks everybody can relate to that in some sense.

“I think everybody’s got some sort of spirituality within them,” he says. “We’re all angels, we’re all here to help each other out, and I think there’s something very spiritual about humanity in that way.”