A big trend in television right now is to revive popular shows from the past. Coming soon to Netflix is a new version of Full House, and that follows on previous revivals of shows such as Mr. Show with Bob and David and Arrested Development. The Fox TV network is reviving the X-Files this coming January, after having already brought back the show 24. And this fall, NBC revived the show Heroes after it was canceled back in 2010. There’s also a new Muppet Show on the air now. Yes, it appears that what’s old is new again in the world of television. And with this trend growing, we here at Goliath take a look at 10 TV other shows we think deserve to be revived or rebooted.
The HBO Western Deadwood only ran for three seasons spanning 36 episodes between 2004 and 2006. And while it was a critical darling and won awards for actor Ian McShane, who played the foul-mouthed saloon owner Al Swearengen, Deadwood was canceled unceremoniously due to poor ratings. And sadly, the cancellation was sudden and immediate. The show was not given a chance to end properly, resolve its loose threads and give fans a satisfying conclusion. Instead, the show just never came back after the end of the third season. This is the type of show that could be revived and given the conclusion that fans have been calling for over the past decade. With a stellar cast that includes actors Timothy Olyphant, John Hawkes and Brad Dourif, Deadwood is one show that deserves to be brought back to life.
9. Happy Endings
Rolling Stone magazine called the comedy Happy Endings, which aired on ABC from 2011-2013, “The most underrated, under-watched series on the air.” This show was funny — seriously funny. It had great writing and one-liners, and came up with tons of original and hilarious situations, like when one character goes to a friend’s wedding and gets stuck sitting at the “Skype table,” which is a bunch of laptop computers arranged in a circle and everyone’s face peering out from the screens. Great stuff. Yet despite the expert comedy, Happy Endings, which centered on six pals—three girls and three guys—could never escape the comparisons with the NBC hit show Friends. Mediocre ratings led to ABC canceling the program after 57 episodes. But there are rumours it is being shopped around to other networks. And if the same team of writers is still behind this show, it would be well worth taking a risk on it.
8. Freaks and Geeks
A cult classic TV show from the creative force of Judd Apatow, Freaks and Geeks is one of the best shows ever about high school. A half hour comedy that aired on the Fox network, Freaks and Geeks was a show loaded with talent. The cast included then-unknown actors such as James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segal. Yet despite its awesomeness, the show never caught on with mainstream viewers and was canceled after only 18 episodes. This show would need to be rebooted given the current age of the original stars—none of whom could pass as high schoolers now. But with a new talented cast and Judd Apatow back behind the scenes, there’s no reason why Freaks and Geeks couldn’t return to Netflix or another streaming service. This show’s popularity has only grown with time.
7. The Facts of Life
Keep the concept of a bunch of high school girls learning about life and love while living at a boarding prep school, but update it with a modern cast and modern storylines. The original show was a big hit when it aired on NBC from 1979 to 1988, and there’s no reason to think a modern version of the show couldn’t work again and attract an audience of teenage girls and their families. But the key here is 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. But this is a show that people still remember fondly, and the name recognition would likely peak interest and prompt a good number of people to tune in. Hey, if they can revive Full House, they can also revive The Facts of Life.
6. Quantum Leap
This show was a hit when it aired on CBS from 1989 to 1993. It starred actor Scott Bakula 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.” The show concluded with a narrator saying that Sam Beckett never did make it home and remained trapped in time forever. That’s as loose an ending as you’re going to get in television, and it leaves the door open for a reboot of this classic series—which would be even more awesome today given the advances in special effects. With a new cast and superior special effects, Quantum Leap could jump forward into the future and bring a whole new audience with it.
5. The Twilight Zone
It’s been resurrected twice before, and was the subject of a 1983 movie, but The Twilight Zone and its format of telling different, original, and bizarre stories each week is fantastic and ripe for revival. The key is to get good writers involved and to come up with stories that are truly original and haven’t been told before. That and a reliable network that will promote the show and support it properly. Past attempts at reviving The Twilight Zone didn’t work largely because the show was syndicated and didn’t have a stable home on a major TV network. If one of the big networks were to relaunch this series, it would be sure to attract top level actors and directors and could be truly great again. With today’s special effects, The Twilight Zone could be over-the-top good. But the key is the writing. The original series, which ran from 1959 to 1964, was created by Rod Serling—one of the best sci-fi writers of all time. After the show was canceled, Rod Serling went on to write the original Planet of the Apes movie (1968). Not bad!
4. Battlestar Galactica
Fans of Battlestar Galactica can’t get enough of the show. The first Battlestar Galactica that aired for one season in 1978 is a touchstone for sci-fi purists. The reimagined series that ran from 2004-2009 showed what was possible from modern sci-fi storytelling and is arguably one of the best TV shows ever. But the newest incarnation of Battlestar Galactica suffered from a disappointing final season and an ending that left fans underwhelmed. Yet like many sci-fi TV series, there are many possibilities for Battlestar Galactica to be revived and for the show 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 was the short-lived and ill-conceived spin off show Caprica, but that didn’t do the series justice. The reimagined show started with a miniseries and included a few TV movies during its run. At 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.
3. 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 dead pan character actor Leslie Nielsen as bumbling Detective Frank Drebin and featured a number of classic sight gags and one-liners. And 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. But a return to the small screen would not 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.
2. Miami Vice
Take out the pastel colours 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. And 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? Oh, and keep the kick-ass soundtrack featuring today’s best artists and songs. This is a formula for success that never goes out of style.
Fans have been calling for the cult sci-fi show Firefly to be revived since the day it was canceled in 2003 after just one season and 14 episodes. The Joss Whedon show has only grown in popularity and esteem since its untimely demise, as DVDs of it have been shared among friends and streaming services like Netflix have picked it up. And while we got the 2005 compendium feature film Serenity that tied into the show, fans have always felt, rightly, that this is a TV series that never got its due on the small screen. The concept would still work, the cast are 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 Firefly spaceship? There are worse ideas floating around in Hollywood, right? And with the advances in CGI and other special effects, a revitalized Firefly series could, potentially, work better than the original. And this is one show that comes with a built-in audience of loyal fans. Let’s do this thing!