As the new fall television season gets underway, it is also time to grow nostalgic over television series that we fell in love with years ago and still cannot forget. Thanks to streaming services like Netflix, some of these shows are still alive and available to both new and old fans. Favorites of seasons past, like Gilmore Girls, have recently popped up on Netflix and are once again being enjoyed by audiences.
Despite being off the air for a decade or more, certain shows are still beloved by massive fan bases. Of course there is also a special kind of angst experienced by fans that never saw their favorite show end the way they wanted it to, as some series were cancelled abruptly before the writers could wrap up loose storylines. However, many of the most devout fans of cult classics hold out hope that their favorite series will one day return, and thanks to the era of online petitions and streaming services that have granted some series a second life, that’s not impossible.
Here are ten classic shows that we would love to see come back to television (or the Internet). From stories that never wrapped up properly, to shocking cancellations by networks that didn’t love cult hits as much as the fans or critics did, here are a few series that we would love to see come back.
14 Freaks and Geeks
The comedy/drama series “Freaks and Geeks” had a very short run: only 18 episodes were made and even fewer shown on television back in the 1999-2000 season. Yet, this show is still fiercely loved and had (and still has, thanks to its availability on Netflix in the U.S.) a cult following. In fact, several critics and top lists have called it one of the 100 Greatest Shows of All Time. Conceived as a counter to other shows in the 80s and 90s, “Freaks and Geeks” was a realistic portrayal of high school life in the 80s, with well-written and relatable characters. The show was centred on a teenager, Lindsay, and her younger brother who were in high school. Lindsay’s friends were the “freaks,” while her brother’s friends were the geeks. Many of the show’s fans wish that the series had lasted longer.
13 Will and Grace
Will and Grace, the half hour comedy about a group of four friends living in New York, had a solid run on NBC for many years. It was a groundbreaking series: it has been said that the show helped improve public opinion of the LGBT community. Friends and roommates Will and Grace shared many of their ups and downs in life, and especially in relationships, together. But the equally - if not more beloved - duo Jack and Karen, Will and Grace’s closest friends, always seemed to be up to various antics of their own. It would be fascinating to revisit the lives of these characters, as Karen and Jack’s relevant commentary and sharp wit would still resound with television audiences.
12 X Files
As FBI agents Scully and Mulder investigated stories of aliens, conspiracies and mysteries, they held fans captive for nine seasons (1993-2002). Scully and Mulder’s saga was resurrected briefly in the form of a movie in 2008, "I Want to Believe," which was only moderately successful compared to the original television series. However, David Duchovny, who portrayed Mulder, has mentioned that he is still holding out hope for another movie to be made. There are still many fiercely loyal fans of the franchise who are calling for the series to eventually be resurrected either on television or in film… after all, the truth must (still) be out there.
11 Friday Night Lights
This drama series, based on a high school football team in Texas, was deeply loved by audiences. It was known for addressing many issues facing American culture, including family values, school funding, drugs and more. The show premiered in 2006 and aired for two seasons. Although it gained critical acclaim and a passionate fan base, the show never managed to garner significant ratings and the series was cancelled. It was given a second chance when it aired for three more seasons on cable, and continued to be a critical success during that run. The show’s fans have been hoping for at least a film based on the series, and for a few years the show’s creator and producer was also interested in continuing the series as a film project, though unfortunately that project has not moved forward.
This science fiction series about ordinary people with superhuman abilities was once incredibly popular and helped make Hayden Panettiere into a huge star, but the series had an abrupt ending after only four seasons. It debuted with great critical acclaim and quickly gained a huge following, but ratings and critical reception diminished steeply after the show’s first season, eventually leading to its cancellation. Luckily for the fans who have held out for its return, the show is currently slated to return in 2015 as a 13-episode miniseries. News of the show’s reprise has helped inspire hope among fans of other similar cult-classic series that would like to see their shows come back.
9 Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Even though this cult classic, created by Joss Whedon, had a long and successful run on television, fans are still mourning the loss of Buffy on their screens. Starring a teenage vampire slayer (and her group of friends), this show has been frequently considered one of the 50 greatest television shows of all time by several different media outlets. Buffy was nominated for several awards throughout all of its seasons, and the success of the show resulted in a lot of tie-in products as well as a comic series. On the off chance the show ever returns to television, the comic books have continued to provide many stories that the television show could draw from.
This Buffy spinoff debuted in 1999. Also created by Joss Whedon, the series went on to last five seasons. It told the story of the vampire Angel, whose human soul was restored. When the WB Network announced its cancellation after five seasons, Whedon expressed his surprise, as the show was still getting good ratings at the time. Outraged fans immediately organized campaigns and online petitions to bring Angel back, especially since the series ended ambiguously and left many fans hopeful that the series would continue someday. Fortunately, a comic book based on the series was published that officially continued the saga.
7 My So-Called Life
This relatable and realistic teen drama from the late 90s was (and still is) deeply loved by fans. The show helped launch the careers of Claire Danes (who played the lead character) and Jared Leto. Despite its critical reception and praise for a realistic portrayal of adolescence, the show never managed to earn significant ratings. Some have suggested this was because it was on network television before the current explosion of teen dramas on tv. Also, it was up against other very popular sitcoms at the time. As a result, My So-Called Life was cancelled after only one season. An online fan campaign immediately attempted to save the show and is said to be the first-ever fan campaign launched online to save a television series. However, the show never managed to pull it together and return.
6 Veronica Mars
Starring Kristen Bell as the title character, this series told the story of a student who moonlighted as a private investigator. Mars solved different cases in each episode as well as trying to wrap her mind around a much bigger mystery throughout each season. The first season of Veronica Mars was critically acclaimed and was graced with several awards and nominations. However, the series was abruptly cancelled after the third season even though Mars’ continuing story had already been plotted out by the writers. After it ended, the show’s creators and stars began to plan for an alternative way to wrap up the story. They finally launched a Kickstarter campaign, and the show’s very dedicated fan base supported it, ultimately raising over $5.7 million dollars. The Veronica Mars film was finally released in March 2014. While the movie allowed the show’s story to wrap up, a lot of fans still miss the series.
Another cult classic created by Joss Whedon, this deeply beloved series – which is best described as a space western drama series - was cancelled after only one season (and to add insult to injury, some of its episodes were originally aired out of order). “Firefly” focused on the arrival of humans in a new star system, following their adventures aboard the “Serenity,” a spaceship. The cast was an ensemble set of characters who all added dimension and interest to the unique story and setting. Although audiences can still enjoy this short-lived series on Netflix (and it continues to be referenced in pop culture despite the fact that it debuted back in 2002), many would love to see the adventures of the crew aboard the Serenity continue one day.
4 Gilmore Girls
This beloved series had a long run of seven seasons, although fans felt a little shortchanged when the series ended. With a 7th season that couldn’t live up to the series’ earlier seasons, combined with the fact that a lot of things, including whether main character Lorelai ever ended up with on again, off-again love interest Luke, were left unanswered, many fans weren’t too pleased with the completion of the series. The show was recently added to Netflix, which has given it an added surge of popularity with new and old fans alike, and many are once again demanding that it return so that the show’s original writer and creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, can give the series the closure it deserves.
3 Pushing Daisies
Pushing Daisies has been described as a “forensic fairytale” because it was a mixture of fantasy, comedy and drama. It was yet another short-lived cult classic that fans are still mourning the loss of. The story was told in an unusual visual style with quirky characters and fast-paced dialogue. It received much acclaim and many awards, but only survived 2 seasons, or 22 episodes. Rumors have circulated of the show’s creators launching a Veronica Mars-style Kickstarter campaign for the series, but nothing has ever really taken off. There are still rumors of ongoing discussions about the series being revived as either a film or even as a Broadway musical.
Although Seinfeld wasn’t exactly a short-lived sitcom, this iconic 1990s television series has been considered one of the greatest shows and sitcoms to ever grace television screens. Set in Manhattan, the story revolved around the main character Jerry Seinfeld’s friends and acquaintances. The show is still enjoyed today thanks to wide syndication. Although the series wrapped up over a decade ago, there have been rumors since it ended that the story could somehow continue, and perhaps there would be one last scene to wrap up and provide an epilogue of sorts following the point where the series ended.
What are Rachel, Monica, Joey, Chandler, Phoebe and Ross up to these days? Many fans of the long-running 1990s sitcom would love to find out. In 2013 a rumour of an 11th season made the rounds, though that rumour was eventually shot down. When the much-loved 90s comedy series was gracing television screens, fans enjoyed following the group of friends living in New York who bonded over the many choices and directions their lives could take, from career challenges to romantic relationships. While it would be nice to have an update on the lives of the beloved group, they would now be in their mid-40s and undoubtedly have families, so their lives must have significantly changed since their carefree days.