Once limited to your cable box, television shows now appear on every device imaginable thanks to streaming services. With a plethora of content available at your fingertips at any given moment, you’re more than likely to find an old gem that appeals to you.
When an old show finds a brand new audience, producers realize that they should easily capitalize on what they already own rather than creating new content that is an unknown quantity. Often times, these shows have been canceled and their endings are left undetermined, so why not come back one final time and finish it? Other times, these shows are just too good to be off the air and deserve another chance to show off their skills to a brand new audience.
This method has worked with the likes of Twin Peaks and Arrested Development, but no so well with the shows like Fuller House and The X-Files. With a medium as large as television, there are many shows that deserve a second chance, and some that are better off staying canceled or unaired.
Whether it was prematurely canceled or was ahead of its time, here are 10 TV Shows That Deserve A Revival (And 5 That Don’t).
15. Do Revive: Hannibal
One of the most critically-acclaimed shows of this decade, Hannibal has cemented itself as a show that was gone too soon. While critics and fans loved Bryan Fuller’s unsettling, moody take on Thomas Harris’s character of Hannibal Lecter, NBC cancelled the show due to its low ratings. Despite ending on a literal cliffhanger and teasing The Silence of the Lambs arc for its next season, the show was considered to have had a fitting, open-ended finale.
Since its cancellation, the show has found an ever larger audience thanks to streaming services and word of mouth. Bryan Fuller has explained that he won’t be giving up on the show and the main cast has confirmed that they’re all game to return if the show manages to get a revival.
Fuller already knows where the show could go and has expressed interest in the show evolving into an on and off again mini-series of sorts. At this point, the only hurdle facing Fuller and the cast and crew is the green light to start filming.
14. Do Revive: Jericho
When it comes to revivals, no show is more synonymous with the term than Jericho. Centering on a fictional town in the United States after a nuclear attack, the show had an interesting, subtle premise that was far ahead of its time. Cancelled due to low ratings, CBS brought the show back after a huge campaign from fans, but once again, the show barely managed to find a mainstream audience.
With our current muffled political climate and interest in post-apocalyptic television at an all-time high, a Jericho revival could easily find an audience in this age. The second and final season ends on a high note, paving the way for comic books that directly continue the story.
It could entirely be possible that a Jericho reboot or spin-off could be created, detailing other stories in the world, as opposed to retelling the stories shown in the comics. Netflix expressed interest in a Jericho revival by offering CBS the rights to the show, but CBS refused, which hints that maybe the original station has a plan for the show. With Star Trek Discovery finding a home on CBS All Access, maybe Jericho can find one too?
13. Do Not Revive: Mad Men
Ending on a perfect note in television is almost unheard of, but Mad Men somehow managed to end on a high by tying up all loose ends and giving each principal character a fitting end. Regarded as one of the greatest television shows of all time, Mad Men has found an audience even after its final season aired in 2015. With such a large fanbase with a wide demographic, it’s likely that many want the show back on the air. The series’ finale is entirely open-ended, and it teases some pretty big things for the main character of Don Draper.
While the prospects of the characters dealing with the trends and ideas of the late ’70s and early ’80s seem exciting and undeniably fun, it’s best to leave the show off the air. Everything these characters have to offer has been dealt with over the series’ 8-year run and seeing them go beyond the finale would simply hinder our final image of them.
12. Do Revive: Sports Night
One of the smartest shows of its time, Aaron Sorkin’s first television show, Sports Night focused on the behind-the-scenes lives and intricacies of those working on a fictional sports news show. Among Sorkin’s most comedic works, Sports Night was genuinely hilarious but was plagued with the generic laugh track best suited for mind-numbing sitcoms. Sorkin’s tone on Sports Night was a distinctive mix of comedy and drama, but his take simply didn’t mesh with mainstream audiences.
When ABC cancelled the show after two seasons, many networks, including HBO and Showtime, made a bid for the show to move to their network but Sorkin decided it would be best to focus on his new show: The West Wing. Two decades later, Sorkin is a household name and audiences are more aware of his distinctive writing style.
In an era where 30 Rock, unReal, and The Newsroom managed to find an audience, a Sports Night revival could easily succeed. The show could adapt to our current climate of sports as well, seeing as every other week it’s plagued with a new controversy of sorts.
11. Do Revive: Miami Vice
Miami Vice is still regarded as one of the best shows from the ’80s and one of the most quintessential crime dramas of all time. A high-energy, chaotic take on the Miami crime scene, Miami Vice still manages to thrill new viewers. With most shows channeling darker narratives with flawed characters, Miami Vice had fun with its execution and adherence to the Miami culture of the ’80s.
The show was executive produced by Michael Mann, who later went on to adapt the show into a feature film in 2006, starring Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell. The film managed to be just as cool and interesting as the original show, despite being set in the modern day.
The idea of a revival could easily be set either in the ’80s or in the present day, though fans would much rather prefer the ’80s setting. With shows like Narcos and Mad Men embracing the past, a Miami Vice revival could easily become a favorite for fans and new viewers.
Rumors of a revival have surfaced in the form of another film, but nothing has come to fruition yet. A brand new TV show could allow the creative team to craft something truly unique, especially in this current age of television that focuses more on quality rather than quantity.
10. Do Not Revive: The West Wing
When it first aired in 1999, The West Wing was an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the most important office in America: the Oval Office. The West Wing was rooted in optimism and hope, characteristics of a time when people didn’t have to deal with the current political climate. Simply enough, the show cannot function without its unrelenting positive attitude because it was what made the show so engaging and relevant.
In an age where anti-heroes like Frank Underwood of House of Cards and Walter White of Breaking Bad are revered and considered to be the embodiment of modern society, the presidency of Josiah Bartlet seems almost foolish. The West Wing is best left as a reminder that good can prevail in politics, but the current age of political television belongs to shows that prefer to cause a bit more chaos.
9. Do Revive: Terra Nova
Pitched and marketed as a big-budget Jurassic Park/Lost hybrid, Terra Nova had a ton of hyping behind it, especially with Steven Spielberg executive producing. Ultimately, the show was cancelled after one season by Fox, thanks to its skyrocketing budget and uninterested audience. With its heart in the right place, Terra Nova’s pilot promised something brand new and interesting, yet the show devolved into weekly hijinks as the season progressed, clearly a symptom of the show’s restrained budget.
With a revival, Terra Nova could continue its interesting premise that focuses on humans being sent back in time to colonize the Earth. Terra Nova had tons of potential but it simply came out too soon. If the show had aired today, it would have benefited from a larger budget that would have allowed each episode to remain a spectacle. With an interesting premise and a high-budget, the show would become an instant success just like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.
8. Do Revive: Are You Afraid Of The Dark?
Back in the day, it used to be cool to scare kids. Are You Afraid Of The Dark? filmed almost a hundred episodes and managed to terrify and thrill an entire generation of kids with its anthology format that brought something new to the table every episode.
The beauty of Are You Afraid Of The Dark? was that it channeled almost every influence it could get its hands on, with episodes ranging from straight-up horror to brand new takes on already existing stories.
While shows like Black Mirror makes us theorize and philosophize about a possible future, Are You Afraid Of The Dark? allows us to simply be scared through a stand-alone 22-minute episode. With the original audience for the show all grown up, the series could easily be revived as a continuation of the original tone, with the original storytellers telling their children new stories. It has been a while since television has given us a good scare, and Are You Afraid Of The Dark? would gladly be welcomed.
7. Do Not Revive: Freaks and Geeks
It only lasted a season but no show has had more a successful and popular cast/crew than Freaks and Geeks. Focusing on a group of high schoolers trying to find their way in life, Freaks and Geeks resonated with most viewers due to its humor and talented cast, which included Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Linda Cardellini. Despite the success the show has found on streaming services, it’s hard to imagine where the show could go after its finale. With the entire cast now well into their adulthood, it would be hard to continue the series.
Producer Judd Apatow even stated that he isn’t interested in going back to the show, despite the outcries from fans. Since 1999, our societal definition of “freaks” and “geeks” has changed, so the show clearly wouldn’t fit in our current timeframe. Beyond that, the cast and crew are so successful that it would be hard to convince them all to come back for a few more seasons.
6. Do Revive: The Twilight Zone
One of the greatest television shows of all time, The Twilight Zone has had not one, but two revivals since the show first aired in 1959. A timeless concept that focuses on multiple genres, The Twilight Zone has been wildly influential on both television and pop culture.
With the popularity of anthology series at an all-time high, now is the best time for the original show to come back. A lot has changed since the show first aired and a revival could easily provide commentary on how the world has changed through its wacky and terrifying storytelling techniques.
A third revival has been planned with Ken Levine (creative director of Bioshock Infinite) directing the first few episodes, though nothing has been set in stone. With a name like Levine behind the mantle, the show will easily be able to go back to its roots as a show that not only manages to terrify its audience but also makes them ponder their existence.
5. Do Revive: Constantine
Aslo cancelled by NBC due to low ratings was Constantine, a genre show that never managed to reach its full potential. In the golden age of superhero television and films, Constantine focused on a British detective who attempted to rid the world of demons. Dark and edgy, Constantine was met with unanimous acclaim from fans and critics alike, but the show didn’t find the right audience on NBC.
When the show was cancelled, the titular character made an appearance on another DC show, Arrow, which is a part of the Arrowverse on The CW.
With Constantine existing in The Arrowverse, it’s possible that the show could be revived on The CW, with the entire cast and crew back. With the backing of the Arrowverse, the show could bring in a brand new and untapped audience. Constantine could also be a nice change of pace, considering it has a much darker and brooding tone than the other shows in the Arrowverse.
4. Do Not Revive: Friends
Everyone and their mother loves Friends, and many are still holding out for a revival, but for good reason, it’s doubtful that the cast would ever come back. One of the most popular and talked about sitcoms of all time, Friends managed to be on the air for 10 straight years and barely managed to dip in quality. Unlike many sitcoms, Friends ended on an impressive high-note, with each character getting their beloved send-off, but if the show were to come back, where would they go? The crux of the show was (obviously) the titular friends, but seeing as the finale let them go their separate ways, what else could be done?
It’s clear that interest in the property dipped, especially when Joey got his own spin-off that was cancelled due to poor ratings after two seasons. Most of the stars of the show have expressed mixed interest towards a revival, but more recently, star Matthew Perry said that he would never do a revival series, citing it as a nightmare of his.
3. Do Revive: Pushing Daisies
Another show by Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller, Pushing Daisies lasted for two short seasons and focused on a piemaker who could bring things back to life. With a loveable cast and a unique premise, Pushing Daisies pushed boundaries during its short run by bringing in a new mystery every week.
Hilarious, heartfelt, and absurd, Pushing Daisies channelled many genres to tell a charming story that was rooted in the feel-good vibes from the ’50s. Despite being an Emmy-winning series, the show was ultimately cancelled by ABC due to low ratings.
Bryan Fuller has expressed interest in a revival, both on and off the small screen, though fans would clearly love to see the show back on television. Fuller was interested in funding the film through Kickstarter but realized that it would take roughly $10 – $15 million to fulfill the show’s potential.
At this point, the best outcome for the show would be to land on Netflix, where the showrunner could easily mold one singular narrative over the course of 13 or so episodes. With a higher interest in fantasy shows, Pushing Daisies could do away with its “story of the week” template and instead could adopt a longer, more cohesive season that focuses on one singular mystery.
2. Do Revive: The Addams Family
The Addams Family has managed to influence every facet of pop culture imaginable. Starting off as cartoons, the Family quickly spun-off into its own television show that lasted for two seasons on ABC from 1964 to 1966. Since then, the franchise has enjoyed another short-lived live-action revival, as well as multiple live-action movies in the ’90s that enjoyed both critical and commercial success. Since then? Nothing.
The franchise still continues to resonate with modern audiences but there has barely been any development of new content. While a film reboot was planned, not much has happened since its announcement. At this point, it would be best for the family to go back to the small-screen, either on streaming services or network television. With modern technology so advanced, it would be great to see the family dealing with our modern issues such as social media.
1. Do Not Revive: Lost
Lost premiered 13 years ago and is still regarded as the best and worst thing to happen to TV, depending on who you talk to. The best was that we got a big-budget, mystery-driven show that appealed to everyone and the worst was that the writing significantly dropped in quality, resulting in some wonky and questionable choices. Despite its finale leaving many infuriated, some are still hoping for a revival that will remedy things. Lost should serve as a reminder that it truly is the best and worst of the medium.
Raising questions before the writers even had the answers is one of the reasons that Lost failed to continue its success, but it also adds to the charm of the show. Without Lost paving the way for modern television audiences and creators, we’d still be dealing with cheesy sitcoms. Bringing back Lost would most likely ruin the reputation of the series even more, considering that it will never live up to the monumental expectations fans have.
Which shows do you want to see come back? And which should stay dead? Let us know in the comments!
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