When television networks announce that they’re going to be cancelling a show, you can almost hear the devastated cries of fans all over the world. Who can blame the fans? When we come home from a hard day at work, we like to escape into the fictional world of riveting plots and beloved characters that keep us tuning in every episode. But when a cancellation is announced, fans experience a void. Angry letters, emails, and protests may be launched, online petitions created, all to get the attention of the networks in an attempt to save a favourite television show cut off in its prime.
On occasion, these outcries may actually work. Maybe the show isn’t renewed, but there sometimes movies are released to give viewers a bit more closure, allowing them to see what happens to the lives of the characters that they have fallen in love with. Take the “Sex and the City” franchise for example. Since HBO ended the series, two movies have been created. With the creation of Hulu and Netflix, axed television series might find a new digital home to keep favorite characters alive. So, with the recent announcement of the latest show cancellations, fans need not lose heart. Gather some of your friends, start a movement online, and if you make enough of a stink, there’s a good chance that you could potentially save your favorite television series.
Below is a list of the top ten television series that have been brought back by popular, insistent and sometime aggressive demand. Truly, these shows have proven that the voice of the people can be very powerful; it’s not over ’til it’s over.
Based on the young adult book series by Melinda Metz, Roswell premiered in 1999 on the WB and a fanbase for the series quickly grew, as did positive reviews. However, the ratings were not good, and fans picked up on the potential cancellation after the first season. Fans showed their support by writing to the network and sending Tabasco sauce (a favorite for the alien characters). The fan pressure worked as the WB renewed Roswell for another season. But ratings still didn’t measure up, and the show aired for another season on UPN. After three seasons total, the finale aired in May of 2002.
Firefly has one of the biggest cult followings out there and it only lasted one season in 2002. With the help of Netflix streaming the single season, though, Firefly’s popularity grows every day and remains one of Joss Whedon’s most talked about works. Because fans of the space western drama continuously demanded more Firefly, in 2005, Universal Studios green lighted a feature film called, “Serenity” (the movie couldn’t be called Firefly because Fox still owned the name). Even in 2014, there is still continuous pressure from fans to revive the series, so this story may not be over yet.
Heroes originally aired on NBC in 2006, and quickly became loved by millions, especially those who were fans of the comic book. Unfortunately, the first season ended with a badly written finale and the remaining seasons weren’t quite up to par with the first season. But that didn’t stop loyal fans from supporting the show. After the show was cancelled in 2010, it seemed that that was the end… well, not quite. It was recently announced that “Heroes: Reborn” will air for a 13 episode miniseries and fans are ecstatic, especially since there are rumors of the original cast returning.
7. Beavis and Butt-head
Anyone who grew up in the 90’s remembers this “dazzling” dimwitted duo, Beavis and Butt-head. The show was one of Mike Judge’s most successful creations at the time, airing on MTV from 1993-1997. It even had a movie, “Beavis and Butt-head Do America”. After the series was cancelled, Judge turned his focus to another hit series of his creation, “King of the Hill”. Then, due to the consistent popularity of Beavis and Butt-head, the series was revived for a short stint on MTV from October 2011 to December 2011.
6. Family Guy
Fox had originally cancelled Family Guy after 3 seasons due to low viewership. But to be fair, Family Guy had tough competition in the Sunday night slot, going against shows like “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire”, “The Simpsons”, and “Frasier”. After the cancellation, DVDs of the seasons sold very well, and the show’s reruns were aired on Adult Swim. Family Guy did so well that Fox was convinced to un-cancel it and bring it back to their regular Sunday night lineup. Now, creator Seth MacFarlane is busier than ever with Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, and American Dad.
There probably isn’t a more vocal fanbase than the Futurama fans. The series originally aired on Fox from March 1999 until August of 2003, then it was moved to Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim for their weeknight lineup. The series aired reruns on Adult Swim until the expiration of their contract in 2007. But who could blame the Cartoon Network for wanting to hold on to the show as long as they could? Futurama was bringing in great ratings. Some direct-to-video movies were made in 2008, and Comedy Central entered into an agreement for more episodes which ran until Fall of 2013 and ended after seven seasons. Futurama fans are hopeful that perhaps another network will pick up Futurama and they continue to make their voices heard on the matter.
4. Star Trek
Star Trek was one of the first shows where, after cancellation in 1968, fans made a big stink to the networks about it. NBC received over a million letters begging them to revive Star Trek for a third season. It turns out that making a fuss helped them get what they wanted, but NBC was doing “just enough” to get Star Trek back on the air by moving the show to a later timeslot on Friday nights and cutting the series budget so that the quality wouldn’t be up to the standard that it was in the past. But, it didn’t matter to the fans, and Star Trek turned out to be a huge success, becoming the the legendary story it is today.
3. Arrested Development
Arrested Development has had quite a journey in its lifetime. The show first premiered on Fox in 2003, and had a very successful first season. However, once Arrested Development entered into their second season, ratings began to drop and Fox announced that they would be ending the season at 18 episodes instead of 22. Fans began to sniff out a potential cancellation and started writing to the network appealing to Fox not to cancel the show, even going as far as sending crates of bananas. The show was renewed for a short 13 episode third season before being ultimately cancelled. But that still wasn’t the end of Arrested Development, as Netflix picked up the series for a fourth season (which aired in 2013) and there are rumors of a potential film.
2. The Killing
There is a running joke that “The Killing” is a show that cannot be killed, as AMC’s “real” zombie. The show was canceled after two seasons but after Netflix increased interest in The Killing through making it available for streaming, it was brought back for a third season. However, it was again cancelled after the third season – but as with Arrested Development, Netflix swooped in and saves the day. It has been decided that Netflix will produce the fourth and final season, giving the characters a proper send off. The fourth season is set to premiere on August 1st of this year.
1. Veronica Mars
It was “Nancy Drew meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in a crime noir sort of way featuring a teenage female lead as a private investigator. Veronica Mars quickly became a cult classic hit as it aired for three seasons from 2004 until 2007 on UPN and then The CW. Even after several years, fans of the show made it clear that they missed their favorite detective and other characters from the show. So, after much negotiation and Warner Bros.’ unwillingness to fund the project, creator Rob Thomas launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the movie, in March of 2013, with the help of Kristen Bell. The campaign broke Kickstarter records as it raised over $5 million in less than 24 hours from eager fans and the project was fully funded in only 10 hours. The movie was released in March of 2014, and there are now talks of a Veronica Mars spin off series in the works.