WE LIVE! WE DIE! WE LIVE AGAIN!1 of 12
One of the hardest parts of being a dedicated TV fan is losing something you love. Almost everyone has felt the sting of favored a canceled show with seemingly unlimited potential. But sometimes, we do get a second chance to enjoy a favorite show when a revival or even a reboot hits the air.
With TV renewals and cancellations going down across the board right now, fans are saying goodbye to comic book-based shows like Happy!, The Tick, and most recentlyDeadly Class, with little to no hope of revival.
But at the same time we're preparing for new seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Picard - itself the closest thing to a Star Trek: The Next Generation return we'll see.
Of course, the number of genre shows that hardcore viewers 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 beloved 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 12
Created 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.
JMS himself reminisced on the process of getting Babylon 5 in the first place on the occasion of the show's 25th anniversary, in a chat with Newsarama back in April.
QUANTUM LEAP3 of 12
OK, 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 12
Every 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, occasional talk of bringing the show back still circulates despite Fuller having moved on to other projects.
LOST5 of 12
ABC's Lost ran for six seasons and reached some spectacular highs but also crashed against the rocks of speculation, confusion, and disappointment - particularly the show's controversial ending. But eight years since the series finale, those characters and some of the concepts are still fondly remembered.
With the recent Halloween film doing a comic book-style retcon and TV's Dallas doing it decades before... what if someone did the same with Lost?
Return to the island with Sawyer, Kate, Jack, Hugo, Walt (an adult Walt!) and the others to make sense of it all. If that means retconning the last episode (or the last season), so be it.
Like Matthew Fox's character Jack told Kate once, "We have to go back. We have to go back to the island."
Just this time, let's figure out the new ending before we have a new beginning.
AGENT CARTER6 of 12
Marvel’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, and though Atwell has repeatedly said she’d be open to returning to the role, she’s only done so on the big screen in Avengers: Endgame- a movie that set up an interesting retroactive status quo for Peggy that is ripe for exploration.
X-MEN7 of 12
The X-Men animated series launched in 1992 and a generation of young viewers instantly became lifelong X-fans, thanks to the show's comic book- influenced storytelling, colorful animation, and commitment to embodying the melodrama inherent in the lives of Marvel's merry mutants.
X-Men ran for five seasons, but the show's writers had plans for at least one more season. While the continuity of the series had a brief revival in comic books, we'd like to see a full-on return in animation.
Now that the film rights to the X-Men are controlled by Marvel Studios, it's just a matter of time before there's an X-Men animated show - so how about a revival of this classic in some way? We think it's an idea whose time has come - and we're not the only ones with this idea...
LOIS & CLARK8 of 12
It's been 21 years since Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman signed off on ABC with a cliffhanger finale. Both Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain have appeared in the modern DC TV Arrowverse as other characters, but given John Wesley Shipp's reprisal as Barry Allen for the upcoming "Elseworlds" crossover, we ask... what if?
While the idea of Lois and Clark with a child might have been too much for 1997, in 2018 it seems prescient given the modern-day comic book Superboy - Jon Kent - is their son.
Lois & Clark producer Eugenie Ross-Leming has said that the plan at the time was to show Lois and Clark raising a family, so why not dust off those ideas and call back the actors for a fifth season, with Hatcher and Cain raising their own Superboy?
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES9 of 12
Batman: 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 does voice Batman in the animated series Justice League Action.
XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS10 of 12
While there's been talk (and at least one failed attempt) of a reboot for Xena: Warrior Princess in recent years, and we'd be fine with that, we also think there's plenty of room for Lucy Lawless to pick up her chakram, unleash her war cry, and ride back into battle.
Let's get real - in a world where Arnold is the Terminator again, Stallone's still playing Rocky, and iconic actors are reprising long dormant roles, this is an idea whose time has come.
Give is battle-hardened badass Xena with a better budget and modern fantasy sensibilities (without losing the charm of her monster-of-the-week adventure format please-and-thank-you) and wrap this one up in some leather armor, and we'll call it our Christmas and birthday gift this year.
DEFENDERS11 of 12
The wave of cancellations of Netflix and Marvel's slate of Defenders series (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist) came as a shock to many fans who largely took to the shows and their small slice of the Marvel Universe.
But thanks to Disney's divestment from Netflix, the four series and by extension the Defenders team up show came to abrupt ends alongside the Punisher spin-off, with the just-released finale of Jessica Jones sealing the nail in the coffin.
So why not bring the characters back in a second season of Defenders to really lean into the superhero angle a little bit - and maybe actually tie the whole thing into the MCU, allowing characters like Daredevil and Luke Cage to interact with the Avengers characters some day. And of course, why not bring in some other classic Defenders characters that are more in line with Marvel Studios than with Netflix?
We know there are moving parts here, including the potential Disney/Marvel can't bring these versions of the characters back right now - but with even the X-Men and FF potentially joining the MCU, we're ready for these heroes to take their rightful place as well, in a definitive way.
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