WE LIVE! WE DIE! WE LIVE AGAIN!1 of 12One of the hardest parts of being a dedicated fan is losing something you love. Every fan has felt the sting of a cancelled show with seemingly unlimited potential. But sometimes, fans do get a second chance to enjoy their favorite show when a revival or even a reboot hits the air.
Some of those fans had their hope rewarded this week when Warner Bros. announced the start of production on a third season of Young Justice, the beloved DC Comics animated series that ended on a cliffhanger after only two seasons.
Of course, the number of genre shows that fans want back is countless – the thing about rabid fandom is that there’s never enough of any show to satisfy the hunger for more adventures with fan-favorite characters. But we’ve still done our best to pick out the cream of the crop, the shows that really deserve a new lease on life. Here are our picks for 10 genre shows that deserve a revival.
BABYLON 52 of 12Created by J. Michael Straczynski – who also wrote 92 of the show’s 110 episodes, a TV record – Babylon 5 picked up the torch lit by Star Trek and took its mature approach to sci-fi to new frontiers.
Babylon 5 broke new ground by becoming one of the first TV shows to use CGI effects, and one of the first to portray same-sex relationships. It even out Star Trek’d Star Trek by going deeper and more broad in its political and societal themes.
Babylon 5 ran for its intended length of five seasons, but that doesn’t stop fans – or the show’s creators – from asking for more.
For Straczynski’s part, he’s been talking about a big-screen movie for some time now, but the rights for the show remain entirely in the hands of Warner Bros., who seem to be dragging their feet on moving forward with anything Babylon 5-related.
QUANTUM LEAP3 of 12OK, so this one’s quite a throwback, but time travel is stock in trade for Quantum Leap.
Running for five seasons and almost 100 episodes from 1989 to 1993, Quantum Leap starred Scott Bakula as Dr. Samuel Beckett, a man displaced in time thanks to his advanced experiments. Every week, Beckett found himself inhabiting the body of a new person, trying to right some historical discrepancy caused by his time-travel.
Quantum Leap has been gone for more than two decades, but it remains a cultural touchstone for fans who fondly remember Bakula’s winning performance as Beckett, and his holographic sidekick Al. With a final episode that left the door open for a possible revival, maybe it’s still possible to get Scott Bakula back in action for another leap – or several.
Interestingly, like several entries on this list, Quantum Leap also had a life as a comic book, though unlike the others here, it actually ran concurrently with the series.
HANNIBAL4 of 12Every time Bryan Fuller makes a new show, his rabid fanbase moves from trying to get his last one back on the air to trying to keep his current project afloat - at least until the cycle repeats itself.
Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, and Pushing Daisies all came and went far too quickly for many fans, but no wound is as fresh, or perhaps cuts as deep, as Fuller’s arguably most successful show, Hannibal. With a cult-following mostly focused on Mads Mikkelsen’s disarmingly charming portrayal of the psychopathic Hannibal Lecter and his gift for cannibalistic culinary art, Fuller’s “early years” take on Hugh Dancy’s fragile Will Graham and Lecter’s bizarre relationship seemed to strike a chord for many viewers.
Clocking in at three seasons, Hannibal is also the longest lived of Fuller’s efforts. Despite that, its late-game cancellation by NBC left fans up in arms, sparking a fan effort to keep the series on the air – and an effort to bring it to Amazon or Netflix from Fuller himself. Though the series didn’t get a fourth season thanks to some behind-the-scenes weirdness from the potential streaming hosts, there’s still talk of a feature film, even as Fuller moves onto his next project – an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and a new Star Trek series from CBS.
CONSTANTINE5 of 12Constantine is obviously the most recent entry (so far) on this list, so the emotional trauma of losing a show with its potential is still fresh. And who are we to argue with fans, who have launched multiple petitions to get it back on the air?
Hope for Constantine isn’t entirely lost – the character did appear in an episode of Arrow season 4. Even though the appearance was intended as a one-off, it fueled the fires of fans desperate for a second season.
If Constantine did come back, especially as part of CW’s Arrow-verse, it would likely require some significant retooling to make it work. But as long as Matt Ryan’s charismatic performance as the Hellblazer remains intact, fans would likely be content.
In fact, in a small bit of good news for fans, Ryan will voice Constantine in the animated Justice League Dark movie coming out in 2017.
AGENT CARTER6 of 12Marvel’s Agent Carter lasted only two brief seasons on ABC, where it was a midseason fill in for the still running Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Agent Carter was a period piece set in the early days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Hayley Atwell reprising her role as Peggy Carter from the Captain America films.
Atwell’s performance as Carter and her chemistry with co-star James D’Arcy who played Edwin Jarvis (yeah, that Edwin Jarvis) hit all the right buttons for genre fans who were not only excited to see a female superhero show, but were drawn in by the period costumes and plots that combined espionage with light sci-fi elements.
Fans have been clamoring for Agent Carter’s return since mere moments after it was cancelled earlier this year, and though Atwell has repeatedly said she’d be open to returning to the role, she’s since moved on to headlining a different show by Agent Carter showrunners Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, the legal drama Conviction.
Carter will, however, resume her role as Peggy Carter as a voice actor in Avengers: Secret Wars, the fourth season of the Avengers Assemble animated series.
VERONICA MARS7 of 12OK, so we got a movie a couple years ago. OK, so we might get another one… someday. But no true Marshmallow worth their fluff would trade that for a real, honest to goodness revival of Veronica Mars.
With it’s case-of-the-week format, detective dad, and irascible heroine, Veronica Mars was like a perfect Barbara Gordon show minus the cape and cowl. Who wouldn’t love that? Of course, the movie brought Veronica and company into the present day and tied off a lot of plots left dangling from its three season run, but it still left the door open for so much more.
We say give creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell whatever they want – just get them back to Neptune, and back in action. Go ahead – we’re waiting.
AVENGERS: EARTH'S MIGHTIEST HEROES8 of 12Though the Avengers received an ill-fated chance at an animated series in the late ’90’s, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was the first earnest effort to bring Marvel’s premiere superteam to the small screen.
Featuring numerous fan-favorite characters, and digging deep into Marvel and Avengers lore, Avengers: EMH ran for two seasons before being retooled in favor of an approach that more closely resembled the film version of the team.
But the newer version of the show, Avengers Assemble took a more tongue-in-cheek tone, and dropped most of the threads of Avengers: EMH, leaving fans clamoring for a return to the continuity and more serious take on the Avengers.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER9 of 12Sarah Michelle Gellar played Buffy Summers for seven seasons, guarding Sunnydale from the terrors of its Hellmouth. Even with seven good years, fans were saddened when Buffy The Vampire Slayer left the air. Though the series continued on as a comic book, its fans are always clamoring for more.
In recent years, there’s been some talk of rebooting Buffy as a film – after all, the show spun out of a previous, unrelated film with the same concept – but this being the season of relaunches and revivals, maybe it’s time Buffy came back to TV – with a twist.
Maybe, rather than just restarting the series, it’s time a new generation got in on the action. Of course we’d bring back Gellar, along with David Boreanaz, Alyson Hannigan, and the rest, but we’d make them the older generation. Maybe Willow is the new Watcher, and Buffy is training her daughter to take on the mantle of the Slayer. Hey, it could work!
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES10 of 12Batman: The Animated Series lasted for three seasons, spawning an entire universe of DC animated shows, and seeing elements that spun out of it incorporated into mainstream DC comic books.
This one isn’t exactly a case where the show needs a revival because of unresolved plots, but moreso, we just want some more time with Kevin Conroy’s Batman -- as only TAS did best.
For what it’s worth, Conroy’s Batman – and his nemesis, Mark Hamill’s Joker – have appeared in several outlets in recent years, including the Arkham video game series. But these are iconic versions of the characters, beloved by fans and definitive for an entire generation.
We know it’s a slim chance – it’s been 20 years since this one went off the air – but with the age of the actors involved not being so much of a factor, we can still hope that someday Warner Bros. will give us something - even if it’s only a limited run.
Even though we haven't gotten an actual revival, Kevin Conroy will return to voice Batman in the new animated series Justice League Action.
FIREFLY11 of 12Could any other genre show really have topped this list? Has there ever been a fan campaign as enduring as the one to get Firefly back on the air someway, somehow?
After one season and a movie that came a few years later than most fans would like, there has been little to sate the appetites of the rabid Browncoats who still swarm conventions, message boards, and the Twitter feeds of guys like Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion looking for any sign of hope that the crew of the Serenity might take flight again.
Sure, there have been comic books and other media, but these only serve to whet the appetites of fans who just don’t want to let go. For what it’s worth, Whedon, Fillion, and the rest of the cast seem to be right there with the fans, though they’ve also stressed that efforts like an unsanctioned Kickstarter to buy the show’s rights aren’t really helping the cause.
And while the chances of the show coming back get slimmer every year, the faithful among us still hold out hope.
Come on, Fox. You can’t take the sky from us.
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