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What went right (and wrong) for these 5 TV shows that got revived


June 01, 2018

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TV LAND — For a network executive, there’s nothing better than a sure thing.

If you can place your bets on a show that already had success in the past — whether through ratings or as a late-onset cult classic — it seems smart to revive, revive, revive.

With revivals of "Roseanne" and "Arrested Development" in the news over the past several weeks, resurrected shows are worth a closer examination.

These five shows experienced an onscreen death and several years of nothing, followed by a resurrection — sometimes with great results but sometimes as a zombie of themselves.

"Roseanne"

Revived in 2018, this family sitcom about the working class was well received. Many of its side characters had found success in acting since the show’s long original run (1988-1997), but came back for the revival. A return to the show was an event for the nation, even meriting a call to the star from President Donald Trump himself.

What went right

"Roseanne" was the top show in the nation in the late eighties, with millions of viewers all over the country tuning in to watch the family struggle with the types of things they themselves had to deal with.

Issues such as domestic abuse, contraception and homosexuality were frequently addressed on its 9-season run. The show won Emmys, Golden Globes and a Peabody award.

In its revival season, "Roseanne" again was the top show in the country.

What went wrong

On May 29, ABC announced that "Roseanne" is canceled for good. Roseanne Barr, the star of the show, tweeted a racially insensitive tweet that couldn't be ignored by the network.

Ultimately, pulling the comedian back into such a bright spotlight turned out to be a failed experiment.

"Arrested Development"

Revived in 2013 and again in 2018, this bizarre show about a very rich family who became very poor (and couldn’t accept it) had some of the best gags in the business, like the family’s chicken dances and lessons learned from a one-armed man.

What went right

Getting the whole cast back together was no easy feat, as they’d all moved on to film careers and television series of their own, but the creators managed to pull it off.

What went wrong

The 2013 season changed up the format of the original, and although it revisited some of the long-running jokes from the beloved sitcom, it didn’t quite deliver. Disappointed fans said they’d have been better off without it — or said nothing at all.

The brand-new season, which dropped Tuesday on Netflix, has yet to be tested, though cast members have discussed a return-to-form of sorts for season 5.

"Gilmore Girls"

Revived in 2016 for a four-episode miniseries, the hit show about a mother and daughter that revolved around their quick wit and pop culture references came back, but its return didn’t quite ring true.

What went right

The chemistry between the three main Gilmore Girls worked as well as it ever did when they returned to Stars Hollow after so long to give fans another taste of their signature way of fighting, but loving each other so deeply at the same time.

What went wrong

The creators of the show intended the storyline addressed in the revival season to happen right away in the timeline of the show, not ten years later.

Rather than take a logical approach — that relationships would have evolved and kids would’ve learned some lessons — they jumped right into their vision from the past, creating a show that didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

"Veronica Mars" and "Firefly"

Revived via movies ("Veronica Mars" and "Serenity"), these serialized stories couldn’t convince anybody to let them have 20 more hours of content. But they could handle two.

What went right

Both movie adaptations are made so lovingly, with the utmost respect for the original. The characters are exactly the way they should be, and storylines are wrapped up with satisfying finality.

Each version contained some twists and turns characteristic of the original show, and saying goodbye forever was quite bittersweet.

What went wrong

The only thing they failed to do was revive the show for real.

"Full House"

Revived as "Fuller House" in 2016, the classic 90s sitcom was rebooted into a shiny new version of itself once nostalgia for the era became prevalent. The original, which ran from 1987-1995, had launched the career of the Olsen twins and became a much-quoted household name.

What went right

When the show came back, it was so familiar, it was like digging into a comfort food. Same actors, same jokes, same heartwarming lessons.

There were some more modern updates, but the story about three dads became a story about three moms and the zany offspring they all helped raise.

What went wrong

There's not much to complain about here! Fans loved it, and the revival has been going strong with plans for additional seasons in the works. Hopefully they never “Cut it out!”

What other shows have you enjoyed the revival of? Which ones do you wish had stayed dead? Let us know in the comments!

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