“Everything old is new again.” That seems to be the mantra for television in recent years. Reboots of series have been occurring several times but recently, a new wave has begun: TV shows brought back with original cast members and continuing right where they left off. It began with TNT’s revival of Dallas and continues on with returns of Arrested Development, 24 and Heroes, as well as continuations of Boy Meets World and Full House with The X-Files and Twin Peaks soon coming back. It’s easy to see why, as there’s instant name recognition with audiences and it’s fun to see how things have developed for these characters as time has gone by.
With so many past series coming back, there’s naturally discussion of what other shows could use a return. The “limited series” format helps as creators don’t have to drag things out but really dedicate themselves to giving their all. Getting past cast members to return is a must but some shows can help crafting new tales with new folks. While some series are looked back on more fondly than others, a reboot can lead to more popularity. Some shows aren’t as fit due to truly great finales but for shows that ended on a cliffhanger or other sudden stop, it can be intriguing to see some closure at last. Here are fifteen series that can truly benefit from a limited series return and provide some good times for fans old and new.
15. Veronica Mars
In the role that launched her career, Kristen Bell starred in the 2004-2007 series as the title character, a teenage private eye investigating everything from minor school scandals to the murder of her best friend and with fantastic humor and drive. The critics always loved it, the ratings low but any doubts in his fan appeal were blown away when the fund for a big-screen movie got over a million dollars on Kickstarter in just a few hours. That film was a good success, showing an older Veronica getting back in the groove and providing an ending perfectly setting up more adventures.
Bell is busy with Showtime’s House of Lies but it’s obvious she’d leap at the chance to play Veronica in a heartbeat and Rob Thomas has plenty of ideas left for it as well. A short season with Veronica working smaller cases while handling a bigger mystery would be perfect for the format and Bell’s sass and sexy nerd appeal still winning you over for a great heroine to root for.
This wild and whacky sci-fi series didn’t just bend the conventions of its genre but shattered them outright. Ben Bowder was the lead as the Earth pilot rocketed into a distant galaxy and soon involved in a gang of criminals amid war between various forces. Claudia Black kicked ass as his soldier love interest and the mix of CGI and puppetry gave this a feel unlike any other show of its time or since. One week we would get harrowing drama, the next a laugh-out-loud comedic romp that pushed sexy stuff amid fun dialogue and stunning space action. It ended on a big cliffhanger that required a mini-series to bring closure but still tons of potential there, especially among its huge fandom. To return to this galaxy years later would be glorious, keeping to the same style but better FX, showing how things have gone, whether Bowder and Black have raised their child well and what other misadventures the crew have gotten into. Whether it’s a big epic or just a small romp, fans will flock to whatever Farscape takes them next as it was always a hell of a ride
This one is tricky as this HBO series was a pretty wild and frankly bizarre experience. Then again, if Twin Peaks can make a return, so can this. Set in the Dust Bowl era, a young man falls in with a small-town carnival who realize his strange healing powers. The carnival has a mix of prophets, snake charmers, water-finders and more who carry on a unique lifestyle that proves far better than the “normal” people around them. The creators had talked of a bold vision for the series, envisioning six seasons that would take the story through World War II and showcase how this carnival was at the heart of the true battle of good and evil in this time. Its ratings declined to lead to its cancellation at the end of its second season but it has found an audience thanks to DVD and fans enjoying its fantastic mix of drama and magical experience that was so different than other shows at its time. To finally allow that long-range plotline to be put to bed would be a good move by the network and show how good things truly come to those who wait.
Ironically, more people have probably seen the Big Bang Theory episode where Sheldon goes crazy over the cancellation of this Syfy series than ever watched the actual show. An intriguing take on super-heroes, this touched on a team with abilities who had serious downsides to their powers. The guy with super-strength risks heart problems; the ultra-genius is an autistic mess; the woman who can push her will on others can never be sure if people really like her or she’s making them do it; the lady with heightened senses has trouble handling the world around her and so on. It delved into the same sort of realistic action and conspiracies that make Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. such a hit and used its budget well. That’s not to mention how it ended on such a massive cliffhanger of the entire team facing imminent death and a war with super-powered beings coming. Sheldon would hardly be the only one happy for a brief series to solve that ending and remind its network how important truly sci-fi series are.
11. Young Justice
Fans are still upset with Cartoon Network cancelling what many feel was one of the greatest super-hero animated series ever. Exploring the “sidekicks” like Robin, Superboy, Kid Flash and others becoming a team, the show was far more than just a “kids series,” mixing DC lore with awesome action sequences and gripping long-range plots like Vandal Savage using the Justice League and the YJ team fighting their mentors. A “time jump” in the second season led to a bigger storyline of an alien invasion and the show ending with Darkseid planning his own attack on Earth. The writing was top notch and really made the characters shine but the baffling feeling of network execs that it didn’t appeal to female viewers hastened its end. With DC heroes so hot in live-action, it’d make sense to revive this, concluding the big Darkseid plotline amid various subplots and truly do justice to the show and its fans.
A rare example of NBC giving viewers something truly different and daring, this 2009 series basically presented a Biblical story set in modern times. Ian McShane was a bit toned down but still fantastic as the king of a modern country who takes a young soldier (Christopher Egan) under his wing only to realize the boy may be chosen by God to supplant McShane as the king. Mixing Shakespearean themes with modern-day storytelling, we had a fantastic cast with Susanna Thompson as the Queen, Dylan Baker as her conniving brother and Sebastian Stan as the young prince who has to hide his homosexuality if he wants the throne. The show built itself up well over its 13 episodes, building to a coup attempt and an ending that seemed open to more stories. While it may be an unlikely choice, it would be terrific for NBC to revisit this, if only to get McShane’s charismatic king back on screen and a reminder of how making a daring choice in TV can pay off.
A true example of fan appeal at its biggest, this 2006 CBS drama looked at the title small Kansas town that’s rocked when nuclear bombs rock American cities. Cut off from the rest of the nation, they need to survive, pulling together (or apart) with various conflicts amid the personal dramas of the town. It was canceled at the end of its first season but a massive fan campaign convinced CBS to give it a short 2nd season in 2008. Since then, there have been a few comic book series continuing with “season 3” that explains the truth behind the attacks and the start of a second Civil War. It would be great to pick up the story a few years later, to see what became of the country after this War, who survived, who’s thrived and what’s happened to the town since. While you can get new characters in there, the must-haves are Skeet Ulrich as town leader Jake and Lennie James as Robert Hawkins, the CIA operative who made Jack Bauer look like a wimp. A cult series that truly deserves a follow-up, especially given the current political times while reminding you of the small-town values that helped make the country so great in the first place.
The CW put a lot of hopes in this 2011 series but the ratings weren’t as good as hoped and when star Sarah Michelle Gellar got pregnant near the end of the first season, the decision was made to cancel it. Which is a shame as the show held a lot of promise. Gellar played the dual roles of twins, Bridget and Siobhan, the former a drug addict on the run after witnessing a murder and goes to her estranged rich sister for help. When Siobhan disappears, Bridget slips into her life only to discover her “good” sister had plenty of secrets. Gellar was good balancing the two roles with various twist and turns, Ioan Gruffudd as “her” husband and while it was rough, the last few episodes showed massive improvement. It ended with the set-up of Bridget discovering Siobhan was still alive and setting her up and determined to find her. That would be a nice way to pick the show back up with the search, the confrontation and why this all happened and Gellar getting a shot at playing those two roles even better to finish the promising drama out.
7. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
A common discussion when Terminator: Genysis came out was “why couldn’t they just bring back Sarah Connor Chronicles?” Running only two seasons, this Fox series gathered a terrific cult audience by playing with the time travel motif of the movies with fantastic twists and turns. Lena Headey may be buys with Game of Thrones but she did a terrific job as Sarah, tough as hell but still wanting a better life for her son, John while Summer Glau stole the show as “good” Terminator Cameron. The advances in technology since the series ended give even more edge for the man vs machine battle and fans desperately want closure for the wild cliffhanger ending involving John in what seemed a different future. Giving this a brief run to finish those stories out would be great for Terminator fans and be much better overall than the last movie as a reminder of “no fate but what you make” meaning one hell of a wild ride.
6. The Middleman
This 2008 ABC Family series was a geek lover’s dream come true. Natalie Morales played Wendy, a quirky artist who’s hired by the title character (Matt Kessler) to stop aliens, vampires puppets, evil ghosts, lucha libre warriors and more, “Saving the world so you don’t have to.” Wearing its geek credentials on its sleeve with constant homages and references to cult movies and blockbusters alike, the show indulged in off-the-wall storytelling with hysterical dialogue that the actors sold wonderfully, a camp series that managed to make it work and just sheer fun all around. The cast has reunited a few times at conventions for live readings of new stories and still able to get into their characters so a return (perhaps on Syfy which was more in line for the show) would be another delight to remind you how great geek shows are when they’re in on the joke.
The little show that could, this NBC spy comedy managed to last longer than most gave it credit for. It was always a fun concept: The title character, a tech-store geek (Zachary Levi) who downloads information that turns him into a super-spy and is pulled into saving the world. Aided by future lover Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski), tough NSA operative Casey (Adam Baldwin) and best friend Morgan (Joshua Gomez), Chuck goes about stopping terrorists, super conspiracies and more in a mix of action and comedy that was always a winning combination. Its five year run was good but many fans felt the last season was a bit dry and ended on a massive cliffhanger as Chuck was trying to restore Sarah’s memory of their love. Picking up there is only logical to explain what happened, whether they made it work out and the fate of the Intersect and their spy family. If Heroes can make a comeback, Chuck just makes sense and a reminder of how fun spy shows can be.
4. Sports Night
The West Wing may get the attention but Aaron Sorkin’s earlier TV series has more than its share of fans. A behind the scenes look at a sports news show, it balanced great characters with real sports issues, mixing comedy and drama well and all carried by the first rate cast. Josh Charles, Peter Krause and Felicity Huffman are all available now with their various other series roles ending and recent years has shown more than enough “ripped from the headlines” stories to inspire episodes. Bringing back the older cast alongside some new fresh faces would be great, a way for Sorkin to play on the changes in sports from the ‘90’s to today and you can just imagine his takes on Deflategate, Ray Rice and others. A show that was always a critical joy, this would be a welcome return to the Sorkin who entertained more than pontificated and with a cast ready to back it all up.
HBO is acclaimed for their fantastic series but many still haven’t forgiven them for cancelling this fantastic Western series. Before Justified, Timothy Olyphant was the perfect cowboy as the stern sheriff of this frontier town fighting for acceptance in the U.S. Meanwhile, Ian McShane was fantastic as Al Swearengen, the foul-mouthed, conniving crime boss of the town. With a supporting cast of Kim Dickens, Molly Parker, Brad Dourif, W. Earl Brown and many more, the show was gritty and hard with more cursing than you can imagine not to mention some truly wonderful writing.
The show was axed at the end of its third season with slews of plot holes left up in the air that creator David Chase wanted to follow up on. There’s been talk of a movie for a while but a limited series of even six episodes would be wonderful to finally wrap it all up. The cast should be open to it as a decade older gives them more gravitas and McShane could easily slip back into Al without trouble. It’d be a great move by HBO to give closure for the series and let this gritty tale get the ending it deserved.
2. Pushing Daisies
Its first season was cut short by the 2007 writer’s strike and its second by network bungling. But Bryan Fuller’s series remains an example of all that is right about television. It’s the magical tale of Ned (Lee Pace) who can bring the dead back to life for 60 seconds and works with a sardonic private eye (Chi McBride) to solve crimes. Ned soon brings his childhood sweetheart, Chuck (Anna Friel) to life but because another touch will kill her for good, they can’t be together. Throw in Chuck’s eccentric aunts (Swoosie Kurtz and Ellen Greene) and waitress Olive Snook (Kristen Chenoweth in her Emmy-winning role) along with a fantastic visual presentation and you had a show so amazing that perhaps it makes sense it didn’t last.
A revival would be perfectly in line with the show’s story and more than eagerly anticipated for fans to see how things have developed. Fuller has always talked of an idea of Ned’s powers leading to a zombie rise which this show would pull off with far more laughs than horror. To quote the omnipresent narration of Jim Dale, the facts are these: Daisies deserves to live again.
Perhaps it’s been elevated a bit too much by fans but Joss Whedon’s 2002 series remains one of the biggest “cancelled before its time” shows in history. The cast may be older now and moved on to other things (most notably Nathan Fillion on Castle) but you just know that if Whedon came calling, they’d drop everything to take part in this again. The story of a gang of low-level crooks making do in a corrupt galaxy mixed sci-fi with Western and presented a great cast of characters with whip-smart dialogue and fun situations that pushed the edge more than other sci-fi shows of the time.
The 2005 movie ended with them back flying and on the run and it would be interesting to see how the galaxy has gone on, the various relationships (Mal and Inara, Kaylee and Simon) and more of the galaxy after they expose the Alliance’s works. It would be a fun ride to go back to this space and with Whedon even hotter than ever thanks to the Avengers, he can finally give fans the space adventure they all wanted back then and never got.
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