More Peggy Carter, Hannibal Lecter, and Sarah Connor, please!
For better or worse, everything old is new again. Reboots are nothing fresh in Hollywood, but it’s only recently that TV’s caught a severe case of revival fever – bringing back old hit shows with all, or most, of the original cast intact.
From Will & Grace to Murphy Brown to Roseanne (now The Conners), these revivals can range from truly excellent to utterly dreary. For every terrific and twisted Twin Peaks continuation there’s a disappointing Heroes Reborn. Then there are the full-on reboots/re-imaginings that are able to surpass the original show, like Battlestar Galactica and One Day at a Time. And, occasionally, there are movies that miraculously make their way to the small screen – whether it’s the Evil Dead saga continuing Ash’s adventures decades later or the harrowing Hannibal-verse getting the “mix tape” treatment. There’s even the just-announced Beverly Hills, 90210 revival featuring many of the original cast members returning… to play themselves, and MTV’s long-awaited Daria reboot, which has to be great, doesn’t it?
So it’s not exactly fair to prejudge every revival idea coming down the pike. Some could wind up being pretty awesome. In fact, there are a bunch of shows, most of which were short-sheeted and prematurely canceled, that we’d love to see come back. Most of them would be ideal revivals, though some could work as reboots too. Read on for which series we think are due for a return!
Note: This is a wish list. It does not take into account actors and creators’ current projects and/or schedules – only that we have witnessed several wondrous reunions happen over the past few years, sometimes for TV movies (the upcoming Deadwood film) or limited series (Gilmore Girls, etc).
MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER
Agent Carter ending after only two seasons, with so many more Peggy Carter stories to tell throughout the decades, including the official formation of S.H.I.E.L.D., was a big bummer. But now that Marvel’s making exclusive TV content for Disney+ – including a Loki series, a Vision and Scarlet Witch show, and more – it’s the perfect time, and platform, for a Peggy comeback. She knows her value, and so do we!
One of the best comedies of the last decade, Happy Endings got cut short in its prime. Loosely set up with the premise of “How does a circle of friends remain intact when one of the couples of the gang breaks up?,” this maniacally funny series, from David Caspe and Jonathan Groff, wisely moved past that blueprint and just became a “group hang” featuring six irreverent and hilarious Chicagoans and some of the finest wordplay on TV.
Okay, so Hannibal should have lived on. But it also, after three seasons, nailed a perfect ending. It’s a double-edged serving knife, for sure. That’s not to say we’re not salivating for more, and every so often a member of the cast or creative team will toy with our emotions and tease a return, seemingly just to keep our appetites up. Granted, source material-wise, the only Thomas Harris book left to adapt here would be The Silence of the Lambs, which was the only novel the producers didn’t have the rights to, but that’ll never stop us from having feverish Wendigo hallucinations about a second helping.
TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES
Not only was Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles a tremendous and thought-provoking sci-fi series when it came out, but now, a decade later, after Terminator: Salvation and Terminator: Genisys, we can easily say it was the very best sequel to T2: Judgment Day (though, to be fair, Rise of the Machines had some good things going for it). With Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey as Sarah, Thomas Dekker as John, Summer Glau as Cameron (hah!) the Terminator, and really cool roles for 90210’s Brian Austin Green, Garbage’s Shirley Manson, and Garret Dillahunt, this series was leaps and bounds ahead of its time and devastated us with a massive cliffhanger.
Our one unofficial rule for this list was “Only one Joss Whedon show.” With that in mind, Firefly, the stunningly great sci-fi series that FOX mishandled and neglected, but that also miraculously got a big screen follow-up, is the easiest choice. The movie gave us some nice closure, but there ain’t power in the ‘verse that’ll make us not want to see more adventures with this crew, whether it’s another stab at a series or just a new Netflix movie. Can’t stop the signal!
With the low-key and lovely FX series Terriers comes the argument that some shows should/could just live as one perfect season. Terriers fits that bill, for sure. But it was also an out-of-the-gate triumph that left its meager fan base yearning for more. This story of two unlicensed San Diego P.I.s stumbling across a Chinatown-level land grab conspiracy, starring Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James, was an under-the-radar Golden Age of TV gem that’s ripe for more capers and crusades. Admittedly, this revival would be for a select few. It’s definitely the humblest entry on this list.
Given that so many hit sitcoms from the ’90s and Aughts have circled back in some form or another, it’s no surprise that a Frasier revival is under serious consideration. Reportedly, the new series would take place outside of Seattle, where the original series was set, and could feature new characters. Kelsey Grammer’s Frasier Crane would be the link between the two series. This is awesome news, though imagining a show possibly without David Hyde Pierce as Niles Crane is less appealing. Hopefully, should this all work out, he’d pop by every now and again.
XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS
A Xena: Warrior Princess reboot, or revival, or reboot-quel, has been a part of the ongoing rumor mill for a decade now – ever since star Lucy Lawless started having high-profile TV gigs again (Spartacus, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Ash vs. Evil Dead). The pilot script for a failed 2016 reboot was even released online, with writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach’s approval, last year. It’s crystal clear though: Fans want this character back, whether she’s played by Lawless in a revival or some new face in a rollicking retelling. A Xena comeback is long overdue.
If 2018’s Peppermint was good for anything, it was showing us that Jennifer Garner was still in prize-fighting form. And with Garner herself talking openly about a possible Alias revival/reboot last year while doing interviews for HBO’s Camping, it’s looking more and more like a quasi-possibility. Whether or not they’d ever recast the role of Sydney Bristow and go all in on a new spin is up in the air, but there are many fans who’d want to see Garner slide into Sydney’s shoes one more time – even if it was for a limited run or movie.
Two seasons was not enough for HBO’s sweeping historical drama Rome, from Gotham’s Bruno Heller. With a sprawling who’s who ensemble (Ray Stevenson, Ciarán Hinds, Polly Walker, etc), it’s a shame this show didn’t last longer. Especially since shortly after Rome came to a close Game of Thrones (granted, not historical) and History’s Vikings took off and are still running today. Well, if we can’t have more of this Rome, at least Vikings creator Michael Hirst and Martin Scorsese are working on an ancient Rome series together.
FREAKS AND GEEKS
This might be the biggest ask given the actors involved, but then again maybe some of the bigger names could help make it happen. The beloved single season of Freaks and Geeks, from Paul Feig and Judd Apatow, was painfully ahead of its time, but also gave us a “trapped in amber” cultural high watermark. Helping launch the careers of James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and Linda Cardellini is another Freaks and Geeks humblebrag, and one that has us clamoring for the cast to return in a late-’90s set follow-up movie or event series.
TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN (THE RETURN)
Okay, this is a cheat because Twin Peaks, in a stunning turn of events that many of us never thought we’d ever see, came back for a mesmerizing sequel series on Showtime. The trick is… we want even more. In typical Twin Peaks fashion, the sequel, which had the chance to give fans closure, did anything and everything but, opening up a whole new world and hundreds of new questions. It was some of the most confounding and tantalizing TV in 20 years and, because we’re greedy, we need David Lynch and Mark Frost to keep this trippy train rolling.
Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN and a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBFowler.