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Friday, March 23, 2018

TV Revivals Are All the Rage

Written by Jon Williams

Next week, on Tuesday, March 27, Roseanne will return to television screens. The beloved sitcom originally ran for nine seasons from 1988 through 1997. Now it’s coming back with a nine-episode season that will feature the show’s original cast—which creates some interesting dilemmas, since two actresses played the character of Becky (the second, Sarah Chalke, will appear as a different character) and Dan, played by John Goodman, died in the original final season of the show (he’s back). Other familiar faces returning to the show include Laurie Metcalf, fresh off her Academy Award nomination for Lady Bird, Sandra Bernhard, Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki, and, of course, Roseanne Barr herself.

Television is widely considered to be in a new golden age, with an incredible amount of high-quality content being created. With the rise of streaming services producing shows of their own in addition to more traditional cable and broadcast channels, competition for viewers is at an all-time high, and the television industry is frequently looking to the past to fill its slate. Everything old is new again as reboots and revivals, like Roseanne, are popping up everywhere. Another popular sitcom that has returned is Will & Grace, which originally aired from 1998 through 2006. After a ten-minute one-off proved to be wildly popular in 2016, the show was brought back to series in the fall of 2017. The first revival season will come to a close next week, and the show has already been renewed for a second and third season. Likewise, Full House, which ran from 1987 through 1995, has been brought back as Fuller House, following the adult lives of the characters who were children in the original show. The new show is three seasons in and going strong.

The phenomenon isn’t limited to sitcoms. Earlier this week, the second revival season of The X-Files came to a close. Originally running from 1993 to 2002, the sci-fi series about a pair of FBI agents tracking down leads on alien visitation was brought back for a six-episode limited event series in 2016 before this year’s ten-episode set. With Gillian Anderson bowing out and David Duchovny open to returning, it’s unclear if the show will continue further. In the drama category, Twin Peaks was also revived for a limited event series in 2017 following two seasons in 1990-91 and the movie Fire Walk with Me in 1992. And the dramedy series Gilmore Girls was brought back for the four-episode miniseries A Year in the Life in 2016 following its original seven-season run from 2000 through 2007.

And there are more revivals in the works. It was recently announced that Murphy Brown will be back on television later this year, with Candice Bergen and the show’s original cast returning to explore the state of television journalism in the current climate. Although nothing has been finalized, Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt are in talks to team back up for new episodes of Mad About You, nineteen years after that show’s seeming end. And don’t forget about reboots, in which series concepts are reused in different, usually updated circumstances, starting with a new cast. Some of those we can look forward to include Cagney & Lacey, Magnum P.I., Charmed, The Greatest American Hero, and Lost in Space, not to mention recent rumours about Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

With all of these classic shows returning to small screens in one form or another, and more sure to follow, patrons will be looking for the original shows to catch up or just to relive old favourites. You can find them on our website, and count on us to bring you the revivals and reboots as they become available. Are there any other series no longer on the air that you’d like to see brought back? If so, keep the faith—it just might happen!

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