Three Television Shows That Really Should Be Revived

Old is new again in the world of TV, and in a select few cases — some programs deserve a second shot at life

by Zachary Leeman | Updated 05 Sep 2017 at 9:15 AM

It may be 2017, but it can feel like the 1990s again when revived television programs like David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” or everyone’s ’90s science fiction obsession, “The X-Files,” are all over the small screen.

Other shows have been brought back in one form or another as well, such as “Prison Break” and “24.” You can expect plenty more of the “old is new again” strategy from television for the foreseeable future, with continuations of “Roseanne” and possibly series like “King of the Hill” making their way back on the air.

While it's not always a great idea to revive long-dormant shows, the strategy by networks does present a unique opportunity to bring back certain programs that deserve a second chance — or a continuation fans could appreciate. Some shows ended prematurely or feel much more needed in today's culture than when first released.

Here's a look at three television shows that networks actually should revive.

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1.) "Shark" (2006-2008). "Shark" had a secret weapon: lead actor James Woods. The performer has worked with every director from David Cronenberg to Martin Scorsese and every actor from Robert De Niro to Michael J. Fox, but he had never gotten the leading-man credit he quite deserved before "Shark."

Though he has two Oscar nominations under his belt, films in which he took the lead — like "Cop" and "Vampires" — could never find more than cult audiences to appreciate them. "Shark" was his chance to show his quick wit, dramatic heft, and comic timing to a large audience, as he led a show modeled after other procedurals with a stubborn but brilliant lead character, like "House."

"Shark" suffered from the setback of a writers' strike and schedule changes. It was also a bit ahead of its time, with home network CBS requiring viewership numbers that are a near impossibility today in today's world of streaming.

Woods played a defense attorney who grows tired of standing up for the bad guy and lying to get ahead, so he goes to work for the district attorney's office. The character's conflicted nature and muddied past, as well as his attempts to piece together his own life with his estranged ex-wife and daughter, made for a show far more fascinating than most procedurals. To watch Woods own the screen and chew up his scenes was to watch a master show off his perfected craft.

Woods' last major role was a six-episode run on Showtime's "Ray Donovan," and it proved he still has what it takes to own a screen and put together a complicated and fascinating character. He deserves another lead role like Sebastian Stark from "Shark." He's said on numerous occasions his outspoken politics on Twitter have him "blacklisted" in Hollywood, and that's an absolute shame. Why should political beliefs deprive us of an artist who is clearly so good at what he does?

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2.) "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" (1993-1997). The world needs and deserves Dean Cain's version of Clark Kent/Superman from this hit '90s series. While actor Henry Cavill has created a compelling superhero in "Man of Steel" and "Batman v Superman," he's very much a character of this time –– dark, conflicted, and morally ambiguous at times. It makes for some great drama sometimes, but this divisive world calls for something a little more –– specifically the heroic, good-natured Superman, played by Cain, who acted as the symbol and example he was first intended to be when was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1933.

"'Lois & Clark' was not supposed to end after four seasons. We were ready to shoot a fifth season, but my co-star, Teri Hatcher, got pregnant. Filming is incredibly grueling, so the decision was made to end the show. That left us in a very strange place because at the end of season four, Lois and Clark had had a child delivered to their doorstep with no explanation. I still don't know whose child that was," Cain told LifeZette in a recent interview about his desire to bring back the show that made him a star for a fifth season.

"'Lois & Clark' was not supposed to end after four seasons."

He continued, "I think it would be incredible to shoot six new episodes of 'Lois & Clark' and catch up with the characters 20 years later. It would be amazing to check in on Lois and Clark and Superman after all this time. It has never been done."

He added the series could land at a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon and be "so smart and interesting if done correctly."

Many fans agree, as Cain continues to be asked about the possible revival in interviews, and social media pages such as "Lois & Clark Revival" have popped up on Twitter and Facebook.

The series was not everyone's cup of tea, as it focused much of its time on the relationship between Lois and Clark, but it's exactly the sort of Superman story called for today. Plus, fans deserve a real ending to the show that carried the flag for the character of Superman through the '90s.

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3.) "Freaks and Geeks" (1999-2000). Perhaps no show has authentically captured the awkward years of puberty quite like "Freaks and Geeks," a series that was canceled after only 18 episodes; yet it has a rabid following now, thanks to streaming services like Netflix.

The series came from creator Paul Feig (who would go onto helm hits such as "Bridesmaids" and "The Heat") and producer Judd Apatow (who would also go on to create hits including "Knocked Up" and "This Is 40") — and was far ahead of its time.

With a cast of future superstars such as Seth Rogen and James Franco, the program followed a variety of kids as they navigated their way through the teenage years and struggles with identity. It was sometimes uncomfortably relatable and always funny.

Few among the cast and crew have gotten over the cancellation of "Freaks and Geeks," despite their success. Rogen tweeted in 2014 about confronting the executive who made the decision to cancel the show, and producer Apatow still talks about the cancellation like it's an open wound.

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Many, however, are ready to bring the show back in some way. "It could happen," Apatow told Rolling Stone last year. Franco concurred, saying, "I think for the most part we've had these little reunions just for photo shoots over the years, and everybody seems to still really like each other and still have a great love for what we did on that show. And obviously I still work very closely with Seth [Rogen] all the time. So if somebody came up with an idea that didn't totally suck, I'm sure it's a possibility."

"Freaks and Geeks" would be a series with plenty to say today, as social media and technology have taken over kids' lives, and the question of human connection is up in the air for future generations. The old cast could come back as perhaps parents or teachers — and the hilarity could start all over again.

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