Fans of cult television are currently living in a golden age in which several beloved programs are being revived years after they came off air. In the last few years alone, shows like The X-Files, Prison Break, and Samurai Jack have been revived, and welcomed with (mostly) open arms. Even Twin Peaks is coming back, which is all the more shocking given that creator David Lynch always maintained the show was dead.
Nostalgia plays a big part in this, with viewers wanting to revisit the programs they loved from their youth. More and more, there’s a push to bring back old favorites with the original cast intact, and networks are more than willing to give viewers what they want.
But there are limits to how far good will can go, because no matter how much audiences might want a particular show to return to the small screen, it just won’t happen in certain cases. It could be the actors are now too big to come back, or key people flat out refuse to return. In some cases, of course, this is a positive, since the show ended on a strong note and shouldn’t be touched. In any event, here are 15 Revival Series We Want – That Will Never Happen.
15. Star Trek: The Next Generation
Patrick Stewart has admitted he didn’t think Star Trek: The Next Generation was going to work, and his agent told him it wouldn’t last a year. Obviously, it didn’t work out that way, and the Next Gen crew – including Picard, Data, Geordi, etc — became beloved among Trekkies and sci-fi fans the world over.
The show lasted seven seasons and the crew starred in four movies, ending with the decidedly underwhelming Nemesis in 2002. While Nemesis was hardly the swansong fans wanted, it was always intended to be the final outing. Like the original cast, they were getting on in years, and considering the fact that Brent Spiner’s Data is supposed to be ageless, it was time to move on. Even Stewart seems dubious about the idea of a return.
That was fifteen years ago, and with a rebooted movie series and another Star Trek show on its way, the chances of a Next Generation revival are near zero. The cast is realistically too old to convincingly man another five-year mission, and even fans would probably confess that it’s better left alone.
14. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Buffy The Vampire Slayer is the show that made Joss Whedon one of the biggest names in geekdom, where he was able to combine the horror of being a teenager with a kickass fantasy show. It sported some seriously awesome characters and dialogue, and Whedon was never afraid to kill off a few fan-favorites off to keep things interesting.
The high school backdrop was such an important part of the show’s DNA that it’s tough to imagine how it would work in a different framework, a sentiment Sarah Michelle Gellar agrees with. Becoming an adult while facing your demons – in the show’s case, metaphorical and literal ones – is what Buffy was about. Gellar believes it would be tough to translate this to adulthood, and we have to agree.
Immortal characters like Angel and Spike have aged in real time since it ended, and David Boreanaz has ruled himself out for a potential return to his career-making role as Angelus. As we close in on the 20th anniversary of the series’ debut, fans that are looking for more Buffy adventures should check out the comics, which are considered canon by Whedon.
Spaced was the sitcom that put Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright on people’s radar, thanks to the lovable characters, witty writing, and top-notch geeky references, from Star Wars to The Matrix. It’s a show that rewarded repeat viewings, with numerous easter eggs planted throughout.
The aforementioned trio went on to make Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz together. They’ve been working almost non-stop since, and reteamed to complete the “Cornetto” trilogy with The World’s End in 2013. While Spaced didn’t get a proper TV finale, they’ve always been open about the fact that they’ll never return to it.
Wright and Pegg have stated the show is about being young, so he doesn’t want to revisit the characters in their older years. The show also got some resolution in the making of documentary Skip To The End, which has an epilogue confirming that Tim and Daisy ended up together and had a baby, too. Why mess with that?
Moonlighting made Bruce Willis a star, thanks to his charming, cocky performance as a private detective. The show featured some truly great, snappy writing that often broke the fourth wall, and Willis had fantastic chemistry with his co-star Cybill Shepherd.
It was an open “secret” that the two actors weren’t fond of each other and often had screaming arguments. Once Willis became a movie star thanks to his lead performance in Die Hard, the show’s days were numbered. Since it ended in 1989, there hasn’t been a whisper of it returning, which isn’t a shock since Willis’ movie career kept chugging along.
Today, Bruce seemingly doesn’t turn up on set unless he’s been paid truckloads, and he famously dropped out of The Expendables 3 because he was “only” being offered three million for four days work. On the rare occasions he’s asked about a Moonlighting movie or revival, he shrugs the idea off, and even if Cybill Shepherd was keen for it, it simply wouldn’t be the same without the two of them back together — despite how the pair may feel about each other behind the scenes.
Few could have predicted that, out of all the great characters on Cheers, it would be Frasier — the neurotic psychiatrist played by Kelsey Grammer — that would be the one to get a spin-off. Thank god he did, since Frasier has since gone down as one of the best sitcoms of all time, combining great comedy writing with top notch performances.
It also had a great finale way back in 2004, and fans appeared to be happy with how things wrapped up. Of course, viewers still have a lot of affection for those characters and wouldn’t mind seeing where they are now, though Grammer himself isn’t so keen on the idea.
Having played Frasier for so many years, he’s sought to move on and play new parts, and while he has a fondness for the show he doesn’t seem interested in heading back to the role that made him a household name. He’s hardly hurting for work either, having appeared in blockbusters like Transformers: Age Of Extinction and The Expendables 3 in recent years.
10. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Of all the follow-ups to James Cameron’s first two Terminator movies, The Sarah Conner Chronicles is the only one that felt worthy. It had a great cast and explored the franchise’s core concepts in unique ways, introducing its own creative ideas to the mythology along the way. After a slow start, the show steadily built up a fanbase, which sadly wasn’t enough to prevent it being canceled.
It ended on a whopper of a cliffhanger too, with young John Conner being sent to a version of the future war where no one knows who he is. For a couple of years afterwards, there was some talk of a TV movie to wrap it up. But as time marched on, the cast and crew went their separate ways and the momentum died.
Fans even looked into trying to revive it via Kickstarter, which the producer of the show personally shot down, stating rights issues and a lack of widespread interest that doomed such an idea right out the gate. With the timeline already being hopelessly tangled and James Cameron mounting yet another reboot in 2019, it looks like The Sarah Conner Chronicles has been left in the franchise’s rearview mirror.
Blackadder is an unlikely success story, especially considering the mixed reaction to the first series. To put it mildly, the first season isn’t highly regarded, and it was only from season two on that it started to put up acclaim. The show is also unique in that each series takes place in different time periods, following the descendants of Rowan Atkinson’s Blackadder as he schemes his way through history.
Many consider the fourth season – which takes place during World War I – to be the best, and while various ideas were floated for another series, things never quite came together. Atkinson and co-star Stephen Fry have also spoken of how they feel the show went out on a high, and that it would be dangerous to return and mess things up.
8. Chappelle’s Show
The short-lived Chappelle’s Show quickly became a big hit back in the early 2000s, thanks to Dave Chappelle’s pitch-perfect comedic timing and classic sketches like the Prince skit pictured above. It also infamously came to an abrupt end during filming of the third season, where Chappelle left the show due to the immense pressure of the production.
He essentially walked away from a $50 million dollar check, which he has expressed few regrets about in the years since, as he valued his mental health more. Given the messiness of his exit, a return to the show looked impossible, but a faint glimmer of hope emerged when Chappelle hosted Saturday Night Live late last year and revived some of his classic characters.
Despite this, Chappelle seemingly has no desire to revive the series, and co-creator Neal Brennan has said the chances are “incredibly slim”, since neither of them feels a burning desire to revisit it. That’s not to say Chappelle will never do another program or even a sketch show, but the enduring legacy of Chappelle’s Show is best left untouched.
7. My So-Called Life
My So-Called Life was a poignant drama following a teen named Angela as she navigated the various problems of being a high school kid in the ’90s, namely teenage romance. While the show didn’t get the high ratings it deserved, it certainly garnered its share of critical acclaim. Unfortunately, all that love couldn’t save it from being axed after one season.
The show has gathered a loyal fanbase over the last two decades, thanks to the superb writing and the way it captured the feeling of being a teen in that era. While fans still express a desire to see where Angela ended up, the show is unlikely to get resurrected for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Claire Danes and Jared Leto are pretty big stars these days, and their fees alone would probably rule out a revival series. Danes’ lack of interest in returning for a second season is another killing blow to hopes for a revival series, since she felt overworked at the time and wanted to quit even before the show was canned. Creator Winnie Holzman has commented that it’s fitting the show was short-lived, since it died young and didn’t fully realize its potential.
6. Mad Men
Mad Men is one of the most acclaimed dramas of the last decade, sucking viewers in with its depiction of a 1960s ad company. Jon Hamm led a top-notch cast, and while the characters could be somewhat unlikeable at times, they were always utterly compelling to watch.
It maintained an eyebrow-raising amount of critical acclaim throughout its run, right on up to the finale. In fact, the final episode was such a perfect capper to the series that there hasn’t been too much noise in the way of people campaigning for it to come back. The ending had actually been planned years in advance, and it would be hard to see creator Matthew Weiner uprooting it for further episodes.
The show’s ’60s setting was also a vital part of its identity, and while the ’70s could also be a fascinating period to explore in their own right, neither the cast nor the crew appears keen to go back.
Friends was damn near inescapable during its ten season run, and the show has been repeated on a constant loop ever since via the magic of syndication. The actors all went their separate ways once it ended, and none of them have ever sounded hopeful about a reunion movie or series ever happening.
This is to be expected after walking away from playing the same characters for a decade, but they’ve stuck to their guns ever since. The fan base got excited about a supposed “reunion” in 2016, which was simply an event in honor of director James Burrows that most of the cast — minus Matthew Perry — agreed to show up for.
Jennifer Aniston has always poured acid on the notion, and the most recent denial came from Lisa Kudrow, claiming she wouldn’t even know what a reunion series would be about, since the thrust of the show was about twentysomethings learning to grow up. With the cast and crew dead set against any kind of return, it safe to assume Friends is finished.
4. Life On Mars
An acclaimed cop drama/sci-fi story from the BBC, Life On Mars featured a policeman seemingly being sent back in time to 1973. Despite only running for two series, the show quickly became a classic, thanks to the quality of the cast and the writing.
The show got a sequel series with Ashes To Ashes, which was also named for another David Bowie song. When that show ended, there was some talk of bringing back John Simm’s Sam Tyler to tie into it, before the creator decided it was a bad idea. While Simm has expressed slight regret about only making two series, he feels the story is complete, and that returning in any form would be a mistake. He also feels he took the character as far as he could go, making a return an exercise in pointlessness.
3. Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad started as an acclaimed drama about a meek high school chemistry teacher becoming a drug dealer and grew into one of the best shows ever made. Watching Walter White’s fall from a good man to calculating kingpin made for addictive viewing, and it pulled off a finale that managed to make just about everyone happy.
It also appeared to close the book definitively on Walter, since the final shot of the series sees the character lying dead. Despite the show tying up just about every loose end, some viewers hold out hope maybe Walter is still alive and could possibly return. Bryan Cranston himself has refused to rule out the faint possibility, but the realistic chances are slight at best.
Walt’s story is finished even if he survived – if he somehow pulled through, he still has terminal cancer – and if he’s likely to reappear anywhere, it would be in a guest role on Better Call Saul. Breaking Bad is one of the few shows that recognized when its time had come, so any kind of continuation beyond that final scene sounds like a disaster in the making.
Firefly‘s early death is one of television’s greatest tragedies, as Joss Whedon’s space western was absolutely dripping with potential. It was perfectly cast, it featured a rich universe worth exploring, and it managed to blend genres seamlessly. The show briefly flew again thanks to the movie Serenity a few years later, but its underwhelming box office take (it just made back its $39 million production budget) essentially doomed another return to the universe.
It’s not like Joss Whedon hasn’t been busy since then, especially due to his productive time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Whedon and his cast are still breathing, they’re cursed to a life in which they’re asked endlessly about the chances of a reunion, and while David Madden – Fox’s head of entertainment – recently announced he was open to the idea, the odds of it actually happening are slim to non.
Nathan Fillon doesn’t sound all that interested in the show coming back, feeling it’s best left alone. Just like Buffy, the crew of the Serenity lived on in comic form, and Joss appears eager to get working on some original ideas.
Seinfeld is one of the most iconic shows of the nineties, which isn’t bad for a sitcom that even the creators claim is about nothing. The final episode may have been something of a disappointment to some, but the show is so packed with classic moments that its divisive finale is easily forgiven.
The possibility of some kind of reunion was stoked with Curb Your Enthusiasm, which featured the cast reuniting for a fictional reunion season of the show. It was comforting to see the gang back together, but both Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld were quick to dismiss talk of the show returning in the real world.
The comedian also revealed that an unnamed source offered him the chance to make a live reunion episode, which he turned down immediately. This is the right move ultimately, because the show is so iconic that going back would be a mistake, and would only risk denting its legacy. As much fun as it could be to see the characters navigating middle age and the current social climate, a revival seems best left to the imagination.
What other TV series do you want to see return to the small screen, despite the virtual impossibility of it all? Let us know in the comments.
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