Friends still stands as one of the most successful sitcoms of all time, and should be the next 1990s classic to get a 2010s revival. The show ran for ten years, following the escapades of Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross. And, though the last episode aired in 2004, reruns and Netflix have meant the gang never truly went away. Is it time for them to return proper?
Talk of a revival has rumbled ever since the show finished, yet nothing has ever happened; the Friends actors reunited for a tribute to writer James Burrows, but that's the most we've got. Of course, this hasn't stopped fans speculating, and neither does it stop journalists constantly asking the cast if or when they'd all reunite. Now, with the current trend for revivals, rebooots and reimaginings, surely it's the best time for Friends to make a comeback?
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Roseanne Ratings Prove Revivals Are Still Big
Revivals of popular TV shows have always been around, yet in recent years it's exploded: The X-Files, Heroes, Samurai Jack, Hawaii Five-0, Futurama, and, of course, Twin Peaks are just a few favorites resurrected thanks to a fervent fanbase. Netflix has really pioneered this, bringing back shows like Gilmore Girls and Arrested Development for other goes around. Indeed, the streaming service's most successful original show is Full House revival Fuller House, which premiered in 2016 and has already been renewed for its fourth season.
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Of course, while Netflix has had success, the overall perception of TV revivals is mixed. Is resurrecting a show for simple nostalgia's sake really that creative? After all, audiences often don't engage: The X-Files and Heroes Reborn both spluttered, unable to recreate their original seismic impact. That said, recent examples have shown there is real worth here.
Will and Grace made a comeback in September 2017, pulling in a massive 10 million viewers for its season premiere. The series is still getting respectable ratings, too, with an average of 5.7 million viewers, or 9.4 million if you take into account the Nielsen live-plus-seven-day ratings. In an age where TV viewing figures are spread across a cast range of channels and streaming platforms, that's very impressive figures. In fact, the show has already been renewed for a third season of its new run.
But it's the Roseanne revival that really stokes the flames. It's fair to say that many were expecting an impressive audience for the first episode, mostly people tuning in to see what the characters were up to and how they were going to explain Dan's return from the dead (they didn't, just carried on like nothing had happened). Few could have predicted, however, that Roseanne would pull in 18.2 million viewers in Nielsen's live-plus-same-day ratings. Roseanne was certainly very successful when it was running, but not like this; its revival drew more viewers (who are now choosing from a wider variety of channels, don't forget) than its series finale did.
When ratings in general are so low, sharp revivals can still break through. And with Roseanne behind us, the code appears to be cracked to making a return work. With that in mind, it seems almost foolish to not consider a Friends revival...