The nostalgic in us loves the idea of revival television shows. This concept of being taken back to a show that we loved so much, not to mention being brought back to that time in our lives when we were watching it, is incredibly powerful.
Unfortunately, the idea often is far better than what comes. With some exceptions, most revival TV shows are a colossal failure, or at least never manage to recapture what the original once had to offer; that which made it so special in the first place.
From over-acting to an over-use of guest stars, the recent influx of revival TV shows is as much exciting as it is disappointing. Long-time fans become enamored with the idea of a revival, the show’s producers take up the idea, and the result is almost never what we hoped.
Certainly, Twin Peaks stands as an exception to this desire of having finally a good revival, coming out with overwhelming positive reviews. Even so, in general, revival television shows rarely meet our very high expectations. From the disappointing overacting of Fuller House to the overly-predictable and overly-done drama of reboots like 90210, Melrose Place, and Degrassi: Next Class, revival TV shows are consistently bad.
Read on for the 15 Worst Revival TV Shows.
15 Fuller House
Even the original Full House was at times hard to swallow. The feel-good message at the end of each episode was as annoying as it was endearing, and the show was mercilessly mocked when it aired.
In terms of the revival, Fuller House, the charm of the Full House message from before has been entirely lost in the sticky-sweetness of the material. The over-acting, the corny jokes, and the appearance of old cast-members at every episode, which brings about an immediate round of applause from the sit-in audience, is just too much to handle for a 30-minute Netflix episode. Whatever rose-colored memories we had left of the original show were swiftly destroyed.
Without young Uncle Jesse or that 1990s vibe, Fuller House’s over-the-top-ness is just that, and not a whole lot more.
14 Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
There is no show more iconic in terms of its mother-daughter relationship and its small-town charm and characters, not to mention the long-term build-up of Luke and Lorelai. The soundtrack was amazing, the characters were so, so lovable, and the relationship between Lorelai and Rory was not only enviable but real.
But Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life managed to ruin it all, by creating what was arguably the most tortuous 6+ hours of our lives, destroying all respect we had of almost every character on the show (save, of course, Emily Gilmore and Paris Geller), painting Rory out of character in her affair with Logan and her career choices, reducing Lorelai to nothing more but a jokester with no substance, and inserting so many references to the good old days that the charm that should have been was instead just plain annoying.
We would have far preferred the show to have ended with season 7, and to never have been forced to see our favourite characters’ lives turn into shambles.
13 The New Leave It To Beaver
The original Leave it to Beaver was such a classic that producers of course felt the need to create a revival film, Still in the Beaver, in 1983. With its success came, of course, a real revival television series from 1986 to 1989: The New Leave it to Beaver.
The problem with this revival was that it focused on the same character that the original Leave it to Beaver featured, which -- similar to some other revivals on this list -- made it a bit depressing. As much as we'd miss the old characters from previous installments, it’s nice to see young faces brought into the mix.
The reappearance of original actors who try to capture the character they had before rarely works, and most often just comes off as a bit sad.
12 The X-Files (Season 10)
After the disaster that was the X-Files: I Want to Believe reboot film, you might assume (correctly) that producers wouldn’t dare try again. Unfortunately, they did— a wrap-up style six-episode series that did nothing but destroy our perception of our favourite characters, Fox Muller (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), who had wisely withdrawn from the show years earlier. This time, they were back in full force, but their names alone were not enough to make the show what it once was.
Particularly in the case of the mythology episodes that made no sense and did little to give us insight into the paranormal activity that the characters have for so long tried to solve, we were wholly disappointed by the lack of substance that came with the entire season.
Of course, nostalgia won this time, as the show was picked up for an eleventh season, scheduled to come out later this year.
"Tired" is perhaps the most descriptive word of choice when describing the revival of Beverly Hills, 90120, newly rebranded simply as 90210.
As heart-warming as it was to see the re-introduction of some of the old series’ actors, like Tori Spelling, Jennie Garth, and Shannen Doherty, the show did not manage to grab our attention like the old one did. Seeing our old favorites appear once more was possibly more depressing than anything else.
Although the second season was considerably better than the first, all five seasons felt rather repetitive and drab. Other than it being far trashier than the original series, 90210 offered very little that was new or original, and was altogether a disappointment. Certainly what we don’t need more of is trashy teen TV, but it seems that’s all we got from this reboot.
10 Degrassi: Next Class
It is possible that upon reading this, some may have been shocked that Degrassi still even exists. Much to our chagrin, it does.
Not that we have anything against Degrassi, per se. But haven’t we had enough, already?! From the original The Kids of Degrassi Street, to Degrassi Junior High, to Degrassi High, to Degrassi: The Next Generation, it is high time that this franchise sees its end.
It’s not that we’re so against the show in itself. Touching on issues like drug abuse, sex, depression, LGBT rights, and a ton of other important issues facing teens, we love the progressiveness of Degrassi. But Degrassi: Next Class is so very repetitive, and the plot lines of each episode have become so very over-used, that it all makes for a difficult watch.
9 The Odd Couple (2015)
Based on the 1965 play, the 1968 movie, and the original television series from the 1980s, The Odd Couple from 2015, starring Matthew Perry as Oscar Madison and Thomas Lennon as Felix Unger, was as unoriginal as it was boring. Fortunately— although we are sad for Matthew Perry, who was also a producer— it was canceled in early 2017.
The jokes were overused, and held none of the old school charm of the old series. What was worse, though, was that the show managed to be offensive, too.
In one episode, there is an off-hand reference to the Srebenica Massacre. Although we knew already that the show was searching hard for cheap laughs, this reference in the episode “From Here to Maturity” was enough to make this revival a complete write-off.
8 The Muppets (2015)
To be fair to this remake of The Muppets, the idea behind the show was cool and cute: a mockumentary in the style of The Office and Parks and Recreation. However, the show didn’t fully hit the mark.
For one, the humor was mostly over-the-top rather than genuinely funny. It felt as though the producers thought that because they were doing a remake, they had to top what had been done before. They forgot that The Muppets are special in their own right, and don’t necessarily need any more added punch.
For another, the adult-style jokes that were added in to make it… more relevant? more interesting? made the show more corny than anything else. We long for the days of a more innocent Muppets cast.
7 Melrose Place (2009)
Given that the original Melrose Place was such a success, airing from 1992-1999, fans were unsurprisingly supportive of the idea of a remake.
Alas, the lackluster plot lines that felt repetitive and overdone, along with the below-average acting, made for an altogether disappointing experience. The show was canceled after just one season.
We’re not sure what it was exactly that made it so unpopular— that is, whether it was the repetitiveness of the storylines of each episode, or perhaps the truly cringe-worthy acting by Ashlee Simpson as Violet. Whatever it was, the 2009 revival of Melrose Place never managed to recapture what the original had boasted. In the latter’s case, at least scandal and drama was mixed with some level of reality. The new Melrose Place, on the other hand, was just too out of touch.
6 Team Knight Rider
Considering that even the original Knight Rider television series wasn’t met with overwhelming success, totalling only four seasons and receiving pretty low ratings in its final season, Team Knight Rider was even less successful.
Perhaps it was that there were so many characters and so few that were really examined in depth. Maybe it was the fact that there were no real celebrities or really high-caliber actors in the show. But something about this new rendition of the original Knight Rider fell short of impressing us.
Not to mention, without David Hasselhoff and Williams Daniels to steal the show, there wasn’t a whole lot to see. This time, Team Knight Rider didn’t make it past one season, and the tired plotlines made us grateful for that.
5 Heroes Reborn
The original Heroes only ended in 2010, having run for 4 seasons, so it came as a bit of a surprise that the producers would already come through with a revival-style mini-series. But it is indeed what they did, and they ultimately failed at it.
Although the show’s producers have since defended their decision to bring back Heroes in Heroes Reborn, claiming that it was never supposed to be a revival per se, but rather a "wrap-up" for some unsatisfactory endings from the 2010 season finale, most fans thought this was going to be a revival, and a successful one at that.
It was certainly not successful, though, and at the end of the day, Heroes Reborn felt like an amateur attempt at bringing back a show that should have simply been left for dead
4 The Twilight Zone (2002)
The Twilight Zone from the 1960s was some of the scariest stuff on TV for back in the day. Truly terrifying, and surprisingly accurate when looking back, Twilight Zone made reference to a future of supernatural terror.
With the rebooted Twilight Zone of the early 2000s, however, there was very little that was original. If viewers decided to watch this to be scared— as we all were when watching the original— the new Twilight Zone is unsuccessful, with predictable plot lines and poor acting distracting from the purpose of such a show.
Since that time, of course, Black Mirror has come out, and we have fortunately been privy to some real quality original Twilight Zone-style TV that is more relevant to today’s culture. Sadly, the Twilight Zone revival of 2002 never managed to do this.
3 The Bradys (1990)
It’s hard to remake something as classic as The Brady Bunch, but that is indeed what the producers of The Bradys tried to do. And, not unexpectedly, they failed.
For one, unlike The Brady Bunch, The Bradys came from the 1990s rather than the 1970s, and this fact alone took some of the show’s original charm away.
But for another, it was consciously decided that The Bradys would be a more dramatic show, with more intense plotlines for each of the characters. Although some of the previously mentioned shows on this list could have used this, for something as light-hearted as The Brady Bunch, the attempt at change did not work in The Bradys’ favor, and the show was canceled after just one month.
2 Prison Break (Season 5)
On top of the episodes’ storylines being overdone, the revived Prison Break in the form of a season 5 did nothing but confuse viewers more than they were probably already confused from the previous four seasons (that everyone thought was over).
Season 5 of Prison Break not only manages to offend people with its rather offensive and stereotypical portrayal of a generic Middle Eastern person, the show is also somehow overly confusing while at the same time being extremely boring.
Although the original Prison Break TV series was still ridiculousness, the season 5 revival takes the show to a whole other level, and this time in Yemen. This time, it’s too much for our poor brains to handle, and we wish that they had let sleeping dogs lie.
1 Arrested Development (Season 4)
Okay, nobody wanted the original Arrested Development to end after only three seasons. So, obviously, when a fourth season was announced by Netflix in 2013, fans had high hopes.
And, certainly, there was a lot to be said that was good about the fourth season of Arrested Development. As always, the acting was impeccable.
But perhaps because the original show was just so good, the revival fourth season was somewhat of a disappointment given our high expectations.
Part of this was certainly the way the producers decided to structure the show, with every character’s feature in the show happening at the same time, making for a confusing and also disappointing storyline. But the other part was the humor. Where before, the quirkiness of the show was charming, this time it felt a lot more overdone, and a lot less clever than before.
Did we miss a revival TV show that was truly terrible? Let us know in the comments!
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