In this golden age of television, TV revivals have become the norm. From Gilmore Girls to Nashville, shows that would have been completely finished after cancellation have been given a second chance. In 2018, we’ve entered a world where shows are being revived even if they concluded years ago - the endings being written over again regardless of how finite they were. Now the world is getting another opportunity to experience shows like Will & Grace, Roseanne, Murphy Brown and Roswell.
While it’s exciting to see some of your favourite shows getting a second wave of attention, some TV series seem to be being revived for the sake of being revived. For example, as beloved as Will & Grace and Roseanne were, the shows both had concrete endings. Now, many of the shows being picked up for reboot run the risk of ruining a legacy once left behind by their original counterpart.
Instead of rebooting shows that actually ended, it would be refreshing to see some series get the ending they deserved and never received because of cancellations. There are still some gnarly cliffhangers that still hang in the air. From Popular to Freaks and Geeks, these are the shows that truly need revivals.
From 1999 to 2001, Popular was the teen dramedy to watch on the old WB network. The Ryan Murphy-created show followed the relationship between two high school girls Brooke McQueen and Sam McPherson (Leslie Bibb and Carly Pope) who were from different ends of the popularity spectrum as their single parents planned to marry. The show was a satirical masterpiece: Jawbreaker meets Gossip Girl. In what ended up being the season 2 finale, Brooke runs out of prom after Harrison is about to choose between her and Sam and gets run over by Nicole. To this day, whether or not Brooke lived or died and/or ended up with Harrison is haunting.
The Secret Circle
The Vampire Diaries gets all the attention, but the WB gave up too soon with supernatural drama The Secret Circle. The show’s star Britt Robertson has been on the verge of having a big break since her starring debut in the dramedy Life Unexpected. After its ending in 2011, Robertson went on to star in The Secret Circle, which follows her character’s journey of discovering she’s a witch and finding her coven. Things got dark, twisted and addictive before the end of the first season, which made it even more heartbreaking that it was cancelled so soon. In what ended up being its series finale (the show was cancelled one day later), John Blackwell was revealed to be in fact a supervillain, the witches were unbound and Robertson’s character, Cassie, ended up straddling the line of good and evil. We’ll never know which side she ended up on because the show abruptly ended after one season in 2012.
Freaks and Geeks
Fandom for Freaks and Geeks was a slow burn - and unfortunately it really only happened after the show was cancelled. Pretty much everyone you can think of was on Freaks and Geeks: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Busy Phillips, Jason Segel and more starred in the Judd Apatow-produced coming-of-age dramedy. While the ending wasn’t a dramatic cliffhanger, the show left off with Linda Cardellini’s character Lindsay Weir going off for the summer with the Dead. The audience is left to wonder what happened to her character. Because the show was only one season long, there was definitely more room to explore the character dynamics.
The way too short-lived series Party Down was perhaps one of the best comedy series to ever have existed. In a refreshingly funny take on actors who end up as default caterers, Party Down followed Adam Scott, Jane Lynch, Ken Marino, Lizzy Caplan and more as they catered events, befriended porn stars, got stoned and had to listen to Marino’s character talk about opening his lunch franchise Soup R’ Crackers. The part sketch comedy with a hint of romance was extremely successful, but Scott got cast on Parks and Recreation following the second season. While the show didn’t explicitly end on a cliffhanger, the characters didn’t get to be fully explored and there were a lot more hijinks the Party Down crew could have gotten into. The final episode centred on a wedding and left the characters struggling - it wasn’t dramatic at all. Perhaps one day the show will get a second chance - it could easily pick up where it left off and there’d be an audience waiting for it.
MTV has a longstanding habit of cancelling its scripted series far too soon. Like many other shows, Finding Carter ended up being collateral damage. The teen drama explored what happens when the show’s protagonist Carter, finds out her mother is actually her kidnapper and she has to go live with her biological parents. It was perhaps one of the most innovative and entertaining shows on MTV, but after its season 2 finale, Finding Carter met its demise. Now we’ll never know if Max is stuck behind bars after hitting Jared over the head (and accidentally killing him) with a bottle to protect Carter. You can also add Faking It, Eye Candy and Sweet Vicious to MTV’s “cancelled too early” list.
Joan of Arcadia
Just as Joan of Arcadia was picking up steam, the show was cancelled in its second season. The show, starring Amber Tamblyn, had an interesting premise: girl talks to God who appears in different forms every day and does tasks for God. Right as the show ended. God told Joan that she’d be facing a larger threat than she had ever handled. We’ll never know who the threat was or if Joan succeeded in defeating them sadly. A few more season with Joan and we bet we would have seen her up against some pretty interesting enemies.
Pushing Daisies remains one of the most underrated shows to ever be on TV. The supernatural mystery dramedy revolved around pie-maker Ned who could revive the dead with his touch - he just couldn’t touch them twice. That becomes a main plot point when his childhood crush Chuck is resuscitated. But the series ended just when things were getting good: Chuck and Ned were about to tell Chuck’s aunt she was alive. Plus we’ll never know how their (potential) romance ended.
My So-Called Life
While Claire Danes and Jared Leto would ultimately go on to have successful film and TV careers, their first big break was on the short-lived teen drama My So-Called Life. While the show followed the typical high school experience of a 15-year-old girl in Angela Chase - it became a hotbed of sexual tension for Chase and Leto’s character Jordan Catalano. Before the show could be renewed, the first season left off with a cliffhanger where Jordan asks Brian to help him write an apology to Angela. When Angela gets the apology, she suspects it’s from Brian and not Jordan though he denies it. She leaves with Jordan longingly looking at Brian. It was the beginning of what would have likely been a love triangle to last for several seasons.
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