If you always hoped your favorite TV show might return from the dead, you’re in luck. Bringing back old shows has become the hot, new thing in Hollywood, from The X-Files to Fuller House. As networks look to the past, it seems like a reboot has been discussed for almost any show with a decent fanbase.
At the moment, a variety of revivals are in the works, including Roseanne and The Twilight Zone. So what’s next? Based on quotes from cast and crew, here’s a look at 17 shows that aren’t currently being revived but seem likely to return in the near future. Fans especially hope to see a Fox classic come back from the dead (page 9).
After 15 seasons, NBC’s medical drama ER ended in 2009. However, the network is interested in bringing it back.
Recently, NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt spoke with Deadline, saying ER is one of the shows on his wish list for a revival. Greenblatt even said he spoke with ER producer John Wells about this. Nothing is currently in the works, but don’t be surprised to hear word of an ER revival sometime this year.
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2. The West Wing
The world needs more of The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin’s series with an extraordinarily optimistic view of politics. Sorkin himself is open to the idea of a revival, saying he’d want it to star Sterling K. Brown as the president.
He told The Hollywood Reporter he imagines the revival would open with “some kind of jam, an emergency, a very delicate situation involving the threat of war or something, and Bartlet, long since retired, is consulted in the way that Bill Clinton used to consult with Nixon.” Where he gets stuck is figuring out how to incorporate C.J. Cregg and Josh Lyman.
But if he ever figures that out, it sounds like Sorkin could return for more West Wing, which would be especially interesting because he left the show after Season 4 and never even watched the last three seasons.
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3. 30 Rock
NBC created a TV gem when they aired 30 Rock in 2006. Starring Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer, Alec Baldwin, and Jane Krakowski, the satirical sitcom followed the cast and crew of a fictional live comedy show. With Fey’s experiences writing for Saturday Night Live serving as inspiration, 30 Rock aired for seven seasons.
So, in 2017, fans rejoiced when NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told Deadline that “if Tina called and said ‘I’d do 30 Rock,’ I’d do it in a heartbeat, even for a limited run.” Evidently, when asked about a possible revival, Fey responded, “I don’t know, maybe.”
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The co-creator of Lost has said he’s “curious” and “excited” about a revival. Damon Lindelof doesn’t want to be involved and says he’d want another writer to tackle the mythology. Lost is one of ABC’s most popular recent shows, and it’s easy to understand why Lindelof feels the Disney-owned network will likely want to do something else with the material.
So what could a potential revival look like? The last episode was pretty conclusive, but it did end with Hurley and Ben protecting the island. So a continuation could see a new group of characters crashing there, with occasional appearances by Jorge Garcia and Michael Emerson. It could also be a prequel focusing on a different group that landed on the island at any point in its history.
The problem, of course, is that most of the island’s mysteries were answered by the end of Season 6. So it would be difficult for a Lost revival to recapture the same magic as the original.
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Bryan Fuller’s horror thriller Hannibal developed a cult following. But the ratings were never particularly good. As a result, NBC canceled it at the end of the third season. Fuller constructed the final episode to serve as an ending, but there’s plenty of room to continue, especially due to an enigmatic final scene with Gillian Anderson.
Ever since the cancellation, Fuller has expressed interest in reviving the show. Now is the perfect time for Hannibal to come back, especially now that Fuller has left American Gods and Anderson is preparing to leave The X-Files.
In August 2017, Fuller said on Twitter that formal discussions of a revival are underway. At this point, the return of Hannibal seems inevitable. The only question is whether it will be one final season, multiple seasons, or just a movie.
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J.J. Abrams’ Alias ended with the perfect setup for a revival storyline. In the final scene, Sydney Bristow’s daughter completes a puzzle and exhibits the same abilities that got her mother recruited to the CIA. So a revival could easily flash forward to decades later and focus on the daughter as an adult.
Recently, the Alias writers said they’ve talked about a potential revival and would love it to happen. “It would be amazing to do it; we’ve even talked with J.J. [Abrams],” co-executive producer Josh Appelbaum told Entertainment Weekly in June 2017. “The right idea would have to come. We wouldn’t want to do it unless it was absolutely perfect.”
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7. The Office
The Office ended in 2013. Usually, it takes a lot longer for a show to return. But in December 2017, TV Line reported NBC was in discussions to bring back The Office for the 2018–2019 season.
Before you get too excited, keep in mind most of the original cast, including Steve Carell, would likely not return. Due to their commitments, the show won’t likely draw back John Krasinski, Ed Helms, Mindy Kaling, Ellie Kemper, or Craig Robinson. Jenna Fischer does say she would do it, though, despite being part of a new ABC sitcom, Splitting Up Together.
TV Line reported that the revival would still be set at the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch, and it would feature a mix of old and new cast members. The Office should probably just be left alone. But after the success of Will & Grace, NBC seems to be all about rebooting.
[Update: A revival is currently in the works. Viewers can expect to see a reboot of The Office in 2018; same location, different boss. Steve Carell will not return, but other cast members will likely be involved.]
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One of The WB’s crowning achievements of the ’90s, Felicity ushered many teens into college life during its four seasons. The lead character, played by Keri Russell, follows her crush to the University of New York, where she and her friends experience the ups and downs of their late teens/early 20s.
Time magazine eventually named Felicity one of the “All-Time 100 Best TV Shows,” calling it “one of the finest, funniest and quirkiest of the ’90s explosion of young-adult dramas.” Felicity Porter also landed on Entertainment Weekly’s list of the “100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years.”
In 2017, Russell and her former Felicity costar Scott Speedman appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and said they’d do a reunion “in a heartbeat.” Speedman went on to cite Russell’s inability to fulfill that wish due to the demands of her current show, The Americans.
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9. Freaks and Geeks
There is perhaps no show that launched the careers of more movie stars than Freaks and Geeks. The 1999 NBC high school dramedy only lasted a single season. But the cast included James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Martin Starr, and Lizzy Caplan. All of those actors made huge achievements in entertainment, but Freaks and Geeks still holds a special place in their hearts. James Franco even gave it a shout-out after winning a Golden Globe this year.
While the original Freaks and Geeks, consisted largely of no-name actors at the time, a revival would be star-studded and appeal to the revival-happy NBC. Of course, those actors are so busy that it’s unlikely they would commit to a full reboot, but they’d possibly make room in their schedule for a one-time reunion special.
Creator Judd Apatow said a revival “could happen,” and Franco expressed interest, saying it could be about the 20-year high school reunion. If that were the case, NBC would want to target a 2019 premiere.
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Bones just ended a lengthy 12-season run in 2017. But Fox isn’t ready to say goodbye. Just a few months after the series finale aired, Fox Chairman and CEO Dana Walden said Bones will probably come back in some form.
“I would anticipate ultimately we would happily do something around Bones, and that group was so close and the experience was so good for all of them,” he said. “I can’t say definitively, we’ve had no conversations, it’s just too soon, and they’re all pursuing different things right now.”
Clearly, this wouldn’t happen in the immediate future. But it sounds like Fox plans to bring back Bones at some point down the line, whether it’s as a proper revival or some sort of spinoff or reboot.
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11. King of the Hill
Mike Judge and Greg Daniels’ King of the Hill, an animated sitcom about a middle-class Texas family, had a lengthy run of 13 seasons before it ended in 2010. But the world has completely changed since then.
Fox Television Group Chairman and CEO Dana Walden told The Hollywood Reporter in August 2017 that the network had a preliminary conversation with Daniels and Judge about possibly reviving the show. She said, “They’re both very busy and it was really just a first exploratory, ‘Are you excited about this? Is there potential in that future?’ And they were both excited about it, but they’re working on a lot of different things individually, so it’s about finding time.”
Daniels and Judge are quite busy. But in terms of the cast, Pamela Adlon, the voice of Bobby, said she would return.
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12. Malcolm in the Middle
Malcolm in the Middle has only grown in popularity since its original run on Fox. Many now consider it to be among the greatest sitcoms of all time. Over the past few years, there have been rumblings of a possible revival. Surprisingly, Bryan Cranston suggested he would find time in his busy schedule for more Malcolm.
When asked if there will be a revival, Cranston said, “I sure hope so. I really do, for no other reason than that I miss those people like crazy and I stay in touch with them. The boys are doing great and Jane [Kaczmarek] is doing wonderfully and I’d love to.”
You can’t have a Malcolm revival without Malcolm himself. And Frankie Muniz is up for it. After floating the idea on Twitter, he contacted the series’ creator, Linwood Boomer, to ask if he’d be interested, and Boomer said he would be.
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13. Veronica Mars
Veronica Mars was already revived once. Seven years after the show’s cancellation, a movie was crowdfunded via Kickstarter and eventually released by Warner Bros. But that film wasn’t meant to be a finale, and both the show’s star, Kristen Bell, and creator, Rob Thomas, have expressed interest in doing more.
In October 2017, Bell told Bill Lawrence that she and Thomas are in “constant contact” about continuing Veronica Mars. She said if they brought it back, they’d want to do it as a miniseries, and they wouldn’t want to make the fans crowdfund it. Bell also said she’s quite confident it will happen; it’s just a matter of when.
“We are willing to put the effort in — I mean, if I have to do it as Murder She Wrote at 80, we’re going to do it,” Bell said. “It’s going to happen.”
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During Community‘s tumultuous run on NBC, the mantra among fans was always “Six seasons and a movie!” After NBC canceled the show, it got the fabled sixth season, thanks to Yahoo Screen. So now, all that’s left is the movie.
But it’s been over two years since the sixth season ended, and since then, Yahoo Screen has completely shut down. So will the movie still get made? Creator Dan Harmon has repeatedly promised that it will happen, but he’s not sure when. Most recently, in November 2017, Harmon said that he keeps “having conversations with the kinds of people that could make it happen.”
It’s unclear who might finance the movie, and which characters would return, especially since many of the main actors, like Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, and Donald Glover, are busy with other TV projects.
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15. Quantum Leap
After five seasons, the series finale of Quantum Leap disappointed fans when it aired in 1993. The premise of the show is that the main character becomes stuck in the past after a scientific experiment, and he “leaps” into the body of a different person every week, all while trying to find his way back home. But the last episode offered basically no closure, failing to provide answers and informing viewers that Sam Beckett never returned home. (Famously, the show actually misspells the name of its main character in this epilogue text.)
In recent years, there have been discussions about bringing Quantum Leap back. The last we heard, Dr. Beckett was still leaping through time. So there’s plenty of room to continue the story and properly wrap it up. The series’ creator, Donald P. Bellisario, has expressed interest in revisiting the story, and in fact, he said in 2017 that he had a completed script for a feature film. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with it, but I did write it,” he said.
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Most shows are lucky to return from apparent death once. But Futurama did so not once, not twice, but three times. After Fox canceled the series in 2003, Comedy Central brought it back for four straight-to-DVD movies. The last movie served as the series finale, but then Comedy Central revived it a second time for two more seasons before finally canceling it in 2013. For now, the last episode of Season 7 serves as the ending.
In 2017, Futurama was revived, but as a Nerdist podcast, which was basically a full Futurama episode without the animation. This got fans pretty excited about the possibility of the show coming back for a proper new season. Later in 2017, Syfy bought the rights to broadcast the show. This is exactly how the Comedy Central revival happened: Comedy Central just wanted the rights to broadcast the old episodes, and this led to the network producing new ones.
If Syfy doesn’t want to revive it, Netflix could; Matt Groening is producing a new series for Netflix in 2018. The future of Futurama is still unclear, but for now, we shouldn’t count the show out just yet.
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17. Clone High
Clone High, an animated series about a high school full of clones of real historical figures, only lasted 13 episodes. But it developed a cult following and is frequently cited as a show that was canceled far too soon. Its creators, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, weren’t very well-known at the time, but they went on to take Hollywood by storm, directing Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie, and (almost) Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Lord and Miller have become such successes that they might have enough clout to make a revival of Clone High happen. There’s been no word of official talks, but Lord and Miller always bring it up as something they want to do someday. Specifically, they want to make a movie sequel; they told Collider in 2014 that they talk very regularly about getting this done. And in 2017, producer Bill Lawrence said, “It’s the show we most often think about revisiting.”
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