Cancelled TV Shows That Deserve to Be Revived

6 minute read

By Jack Sackman

A big trend in television right now is to revive popular shows from the past. Quibi, a brand new streaming service launching April 2020, is bringing back fan-favorite Reno 911! Plus, Disney just recently revived Star Wars: The Clone Wars for a final season exclusive to Disney+. While these are only recent examples, there are countless others from the past decade alone.

Yes, it appears that what’s old is new again in the world of television. With this trend growing, we here at Goliath take a look at some other shows we think deserve to be revived or rebooted.

Happy Endings

At the time, Rolling Stone said that Happy Endings, which aired on ABC from 2011 to 2013,  was the “most underrated, under-watched series on the air”. That’s some high praise but it was well deserved.

Happy Ending is incredibly funny. It has great writing and one-liners. There are tons of original and hilarious situations. For instance, when one character goes to a friend’s wedding and gets stuck sitting at the “Skype table”. This is a bunch of laptop computers arranged in a circle and everyone’s face peering out from the screens.

Despite some expert comedy, Happy Endings could never escape comparisons to Friends. Mediocre ratings led to ABC canceling the program after three seasons. Distributor Sony Pictures Television tried to shop the show around to other networks. Unfortunately, Happy Endings couldn’t be saved.

But that doesn’t keep us from hoping for a revival someday.

Source: Screenshot via Sony Pictures Television

Freaks and Geeks

A cult classic TV show from the creative force of Judd Apatow, Freaks and Geeks was one of the best shows about high school ever. Moreover, Freaks and Geeks was loaded with talent. The cast included then-unknown actors such as James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segal.

Despite its awesomeness, Freaks and Geeks never caught on with mainstream viewers. This led to NBC canceling the show after only 12 episodes.

Given the current age of the original stars, Freaks and Geeks would need a reboot if it came back. But with a new talented cast and Judd Apatow back behind the scenes, there’s no reason why the show couldn’t return to Netflix or another streaming service.

Source: Picture via DreamWorks Television

The Facts of Life

The Facts of Life was a big hit when it aired on NBC from 1979 to 1988. The show had a bunch of high school girls learning about life and love while living at a boarding prep school. With such a timeless concept, there’s no reason to think a modern version of the show couldn’t attract an audience of teenage girls and their families nowadays.

The key to a revival would be to make the stories, situations, and issues fit today’s society. What passes for a teenage problem today is a little different than what was considered a teenage issue back in 1982. Plus, The Facts of Life is a show that people still remember fondly. So, name recognition would likely pique interest and prompt a good number of people to tune in.

Hey, if Netflix can revive Full House, The Facts of Life deserves a revival.

Source: Picture via Sony Pictures Television

Quantum Leap

Quantum Leap was a hit when it aired on CBS from 1989 to 1993. Scott Bakula starred as Dr. Sam Beckett, who finds himself trapped in time and leaping into the body of a new person in a different time period each week. Righting wrongs and altering circumstances along the way. Dr. Beckett’s only connection home is through a hologram called “Al.”

Despite being beloved, Quantum Leap had a rather inconclusive ending. The show concluded with a narrator saying that Beckett never did make it home and remained trapped in time forever.

Considering how loose the ending is, it leaves the door open for a continuation or reboot of this classic series. With a new cast and superior special effects, Quantum Leap could jump forward into the future and bring in a whole new audience with it. Source: Observationdeck.kinja.comSource: Picture via NBCUniversal Television

Battlestar Galactica

Fans of Battlestar Galactica can’t get enough of the show. While the 1978 series that aired for one is a touchstone for sci-fi purists, the reimagined series that ran from 2004 to 2009 is arguably one of the best TV shows ever. Despite all the praise, many agree the show suffered from a disappointing final season and an underwhelming ending.

Like many sci-fi TV franchises, there are many possibilities for Battlestar Galactica for the series to branch out in new directions. Whether a reboot of the main series or spinoffs like those that have been created for Star Trek. Sure, there were the short-lived spinoffs Caprica and Blood and Chrome. Unfortunately, they couldn’t live up to the high bar set by the reimaged series.

The reimagined series started with a miniseries and included a few TV movies during its run. At a minimum, there should be enough creativity left in the tank for another miniseries or TV movie. Maybe even a feature film. The possibilities here are as vast as the universe.

There were talks of a new entry in the Battlestar franchise from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail in late 2019. However, nothing has been mentioned since then. Source: Drunktvzone.comSource: Picture via NBCUniversal Television

Police Squad!

One of the all-time funniest television shows, Police Squad! was created by the trio of Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker, who were responsible for the classic comedy movie Airplane! The show starred deadpan character actor Leslie Nielsen as the bumbling Detective Frank Drebin and featured a number of classic sight gags and one-liners.

While the show is still highly influential among comedy writers, it never caught the attention of viewers and was canceled after only six episodes. Thankfully, the show’s creators revived the concept for the hugely successful Naked Gun film series.

However, a return to the small screen shouldn’t be out of the question for this great TV show. A new cast and modern setting with the same tone, spirit, and writing would make Police Squad! for the 21st century a potentially huge hit. It could be like Brooklyn Nine-Nine on steroids. Source: Decider.comSource: Picture via Paramount Television

Miami Vice

Take out the pastel colors and 1980s fashion, and let’s make a darker, grittier Miami Vice for the new millennium. Same concept as the original show with the cool cars and speed boats, but with a new cast and modern sensibility. This format worked in the 2006 feature film starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx. So, it could work again on the small screen.

Series creator Michael Mann is still with us and still keen on his most iconic creation. So why not bring him back as executive producer with some new, edgy writers and create a modern version of Miami Vice that is true to the spirit of the original show without the pink shirts and greasy mullets? Plus, make sure to work in a kick-ass soundtrack featuring today’s artists and songs.

Source: Screenshot via NBCUniversal Television


Fans have been calling for the cult sci-fi show Firefly to be revived since the day it was canceled in 2002. This show from Joss Whedon has only grown in popularity and esteem since its untimely demise. Although the series has continued through the 2005 feature film Serenity and comics from Dark Horse and Boom! Studios, fans have always felt that Firefly never got its due on the small screen.

The concept would still work, the cast is still young enough to reprise their roles, and creator Joss Whedon is still a creative force in Hollywood. So why not launch a new series and catch-up with the crew of the Serenity? There are worse ideas floating around in Hollywood, right?

With the advances in CGI and special effects, a revitalized Firefly series could work better than the original. Plus, this is one show that comes with a built-in audience of loyal fans.

Source: Picture via 20th Century Studios

Jack Sackman


Jack Sackman has been writing about movies and TV for Goliath since 2013.