There are few things that get fans quite as upset as their favorite television show being canceled. After all, many people invest a huge amount of time into watching a story unfold on the TV screen only to have it ended abruptly, without any of the loose ends being tied up. In times gone by, this would effectively mean the end of that particular show. Unless something extraordinary happened, it was unlikely to ever get picked back up and the plot would remain unfinished.
In recent times, this has changed slightly. Strong DVD sales have led to certain cult hits getting back on the air, with Family Guy being a prime example, but even then it was an incredibly rare occurrence. That is until Netflix came along. The company first began life in 1997 as a DVD by mail service, providing a rental subscription to those who wanted to get their DVDs sent straight to their door. However, the last decade has seen the business grow to become the biggest online digital streaming service in the world.
While the vast majority of Netflix’s library focused on older and popular content, the company started to produce their own content specifically for their own distribution. Not only that but they have also begun to bring back shows that fans have been crying out for, funding the production of new episodes and even full series. The likes of Community, Arrested Development, and Trailer Park Boys have all been resurrected, giving hope to millions that they might bring back a few more.
15 Lie to Me
Lie to Me was a crime drama police procedural that aired on Fox between 2009 and 2011. It starred Tom Roth, of The Hateful Eight, Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs fame, as Dr. Cal Lightman – a body language specialist who is able to use his unique skills to observe microexpressions in a person’s face to determine whether or not they are telling the truth. In the show, Lightman spends much of his time assisting law enforcement in investigations thanks to the abilities he has and has trained in the company he founded.
It received widespread positive acclaim from television critics and continued to post modest ratings in terms of viewers, with Fox believing it could have a huge hit on its hands. After three series, it was canceled, though Roth and the writers have expressed an interest in continuing the show and it would seem like the perfect fit for Netflix.
14 Pushing Daisies
This comedy-drama was created by noted television producer Bryan Fuller in 2007 for ABC, where it ran for two seasons and 22 episodes in total. It focused on the life of a pie maker called Ned who has the power to bring things back to life by touching them.
However, this power comes with explicit rules and stipulations that lead to moral and philosophical problems for the main character as he chooses how to use his powers. The major rules stated that if he brought back a life for more than a minute, then a similar life would die in the near vicinity. Additionally, anything brought back from death by Ned would die permanently if touched a second time, stopping him from being physically intimate with people he loved.
Despite the cancellation of Pushing Daisies, more media has been created based on the show, including a miniseries and a comic book run, demonstrating that there is plenty of interest in the television series, making a revival an attractive prospect.
This western was created and written by David Milch and was shown on HBO for three seasons between 2004 and 2006. Although it was never a major hit in terms of viewers, it managed to acquire a cult following across its 36 episodes that showed the progression of a small camp to the large town of Deadwood in South Dakota. Unfortunately, this was not enough to convince HBO to keep it going and the contracts for the cast were let go in May 2006.
Ever since, Milch has been working to get Deadwood back on television in one shape or another. After turning down a proposal to do a season of just six episodes, the idea of two-hour films was considered. Considering the profanity and adult themes explored, it would be ideally suited to Netflix, as it would not face the same censorship rules.
12 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Although the first two Terminator movies were met with critical and commercial success, almost every other piece of media released in relation to the franchise over the past 10 years has been a massive letdown. There is just one notable exception - Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. While it wasn’t to everyone’s taste, most fans felt that it was a welcome return to what had made the original entries so great in the first place.
With Lena Headey putting in an excellent performance without imitating Linda Hamilton in her portrayal of Sarah Connor, everything seemed to be going well for the show. That is until Fox canceled it after just two seasons. Bringing it back might prove difficult with Headey now working on Game of Thrones, but the possibility should not be entirely discounted.
The science fiction show Dollhouse was canceled after just two seasons and 26 episodes, leaving audiences without a conclusion to the story. The plot revolved largely around an organization that operated Dollhouses, secret underground establishments that trained brainwashed spies. Although it didn’t begin with huge fanfare, fans and critics slowly began to warm up to the show over the course of its run.
The appeal of Dollhouse is similar to other Joss Whedon television shows, meaning it would already have an established and passionate fanbase. Additionally, it would not require many of the special effects or an expensive budget of other shows, making it an attractive option for Netflix if they didn’t want to commit to bringing back a series with a huge budget.
Created by Matt Miller, Forever followed the character Henry Morgan, a doctor who finds that he is immortal and cannot die in the traditional sense. Instead, when he experiences death, he simply disappears from the area and awakes in a nearby body of water completely naked. He also does not age and retains his memory, giving him an extensive knowledge of the world and the way it works. This allows him to help the police solving murder investigations while also trying to find a way to end his immortality.
While it received a mixed reception, it garnered many fans for its unique story and premise. They were understandably upset when it was canceled after just one season on air and formed a number of online groups to protest the cancellation and express their outrage. Netflix picking up Forever could make sense to bring these viewers to the service, while it would be relatively easy to manage as the show is incredibly recent.
9 Stargate Universe
Stargate has become one of the most popular science fiction franchises over the past two decades. Following a successful film in 1994, a television sequel was created in 1997 called Stargate SG-1, which was also well loved by fans and received a positive reception. Stargate Universe was the latest incarnation of the franchise, following a group of humans stranded in a desolate part of the universe. Led by a cast of Robert Carlyle and Louis Ferreira, it slowly built into a clever and deep show that was canceled in 2010 to the chagrin of viewers.
Fortunately, most of those involved in the franchise have made it abundantly clear that they do not consider the series to be completely finished. They have been working to secure funding for additional movies and a further television experience could be made to tell a new story in the Stargate Universe.
8 The Twilight Zone
The Twilight Zone was somewhat unique in that it was an anthology series that was made up of lots of separate stories rather than one continuous plot. It featured episodes focusing on psychological horror, science fiction, thriller, suspense, and fantasy throughout its three incarnations and proved to be a mainstream success with audiences and critics alike showing great enthusiasm for it. It not only provided hours of entertainment but also created many of the television and movie tropes used by other creators to this day.
Since the ending of the original series in 1964, several attempts have been made to reboot the franchise. This resulted in a revival series in 1985 and a second revival in 2002, though neither was able to match the success of the initial show, they proved that it was possible to bring back The Twilight Zone and update it for modern audiences. With rumors of a new reboot being planned, Netflix could step in to make it happen.
Jericho essentially told the story of a group residents from the town of Jericho, located in northwest Kansas, after a nuclear attack on a number of cities within the United States. Throughout the series, the show depicted the post-apocalyptic scenario with a range of dark and adult themes that explored how difficult it would be in the aftermath of a real attack. While it was a personal tale of how a community can come together and keep public order, it also contained elusive mysteries such as the perpetrators of the attacks that were slowly unveiled.
It faced cancellation after its first season due to poor rating but was brought back for a short run of seven episodes after an extensive fan campaign. This proved to be the demise of Jericho despite the obviously committed fan community. The interest in the franchise has remained strong, as demonstrated by the continuous support for spin-off novels and comics, making it a perfect candidate to be revived.
Developed by Daniel Cerone, Constantine was part of a whole roster of DC Comics-based shows that began to air after 2012. It featured the supernatural detective John Constantine investigating the occult and other strange forces. Unlike the film starring Keanu Reeves, this incarnation saw a positive reaction from critics, especially for the portrayal of the main character by Matt Ryan, who enjoyed the exploration of different aspects of the DC universe compared to other superhero shows such as Arrow.
It ran for just one season between 2014 and 2015 before it was canceled by NBC. Creator Daniel Cerone has since expressed his desire to work on Constantine again, blaming the cancellation on the show not being a good fit with the network. With the success of other comic book television series on Netflix, such as Daredevil, it could make sense for the service to pick up this fan-favorite.
5 Freaks And Geeks
This teen comedy-drama is perhaps one of the biggest cult shows ever made. Running on NBC for just 12 episodes of an 18 episode season in 1999, it has been widely considered to be one of the best shows ever made and starred the likes of Linda Cardellini, James Franco, Jason Segel and Seth Rogen, portraying characters in a dysfunctional high school who are ostracized by most of their classmates.
Judd Apatow, who developed and produced the original series, has never expressly said that he is finished with the franchise and several of the cast have shown an interest in returning to it in the future if possible. While it would not be possible for it to be revived in its original form with the actors all having aged, the idea of a high school reunion being turned into a film has been suggested and could prove to be a hit for Netflix.
4 My Name Is Earl
The concept of My Name Is Earl was deceptively simple. Jason Lee played Earl Hickey, a small-time criminal who undergoes a character transformation after undergoing an incredible streak of bad luck. He then begins to believe in the idea of karma and sets about creating a list of all the bad things he has done to people so that he can correct them and make it up to the victim. Much of the comedy came from the relationship between the main character and his family and friends along with the fact that his good deeds often turned out to be more complex than first imagined.
It was abruptly canceled after just four seasons on a cliffhanger, despite the fact that NBC had made assurances that the series would not be ending. As more ideas about future content had already been discussed and planned, it would be fairly easy for the show to continue in one form or another and creator Greg Garcia has held discussions with other networks to try and get it back on the air.
Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal proved to be a huge hit with its fans and critics, receiving widespread critical acclaim across its three-season run for the distinct visual style and standout performances by the likes of Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen. Based on the series of novels by Thomas Harris that led to the highly successful Silence of the Lambs movie, the show told the story of an FBI agent hunting a serial killer with the assistance of Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
It went on to win a number of awards and was praised by fans. This couldn’t save it from being axed by NBC in 2015, though. Since then, Fuller has been working to try and get it renewed in a new home, with Netflix touted as a possibility after exclusive streaming rights with Amazon expire.
There are very few spin-offs that have proved to be as successful as the original show that they evolved, but Torchwood certainly came close to matching Doctor Who in many respects. This darker and grittier science fiction drama proved to be much more successful than the likes of the Sarah Jane Adventures. It told the story of John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness, who first appeared in the first season of the rebooted Doctor Who, as he set up a defense force on Earth to combat the threat of aliens and supernatural forces.
Aimed at an adult audience rather than being family friendly, it was able to delve deeper into some of the themes that Doctor Who couldn’t explore. This meant more violence and sex as well as a look at the ideas of death and immortality. After four series it entered an indefinite hiatus at the request of its creator Russell T Davies, though the cast and producers have also said that a fifth series could happen in the future.
It’s difficult to think of a television series that has such a dedicated fanbase as Firefly. Although it only aired for one 14-episode season in 2012 on Fox, the space western headed by Joss Whedon proved to be a huge cult hit. The show centered on a group of humans in a new star system as they attempt to remain outside of the control of the Alliance government. This allowed the writers to explore the moral, political, and class problems that would exist with human culture in space in a raw manner.
After just 11 of the episodes had been broadcast, it was canceled to the dismay of fans and critics, because of a lack of audience share. A strong fan-led campaign has led to the development of a feature film in the form of Serenity, along with a number of video games and comics. It’s likely that the only place this could be revived is one Netflix, so the ball is squarely in their court.