Our Favorite Things: TV Shows We Would Bring Back

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Hill Street Blues
Entourage
Star Trek
Undeclared
Firefly
24
Scrubs
Gomer
Twilight Zone

This week the TV series Arrested Development will begin its fourth season on NetFlix. Normally, that’s not something particularly notable – lots of shows make it to four seasons. What makes this case special is that Arrested Development’s third season ended in 2006. And now, seven years later it’s back. The reason undoubtedly is because of its diehard, rabid fan base (including many of us at The Peorian), which got us thinking: What are some other shows that have been cancelled that we would love to see resurrected for one more season? That was the question we posed to our murder of writers. We told them to disregard time or era or the corporeal viability of the actors involved. Check out what they had to say!

Hill Street Blues
Paul Gordon
This was the show that set the stage for gritty, real-life-like cop shows that we have today, with realistic sets and dialogue and attire, etc. It was the kind of groundbreaking show we’ve since come to expect from Stephen Bochko. The acting was unlike anything we’d seen up to that point because the actors were being given dialogue that was trend-setting in its realism. That realism has grown substantially in the years since Hill Street Blues, of course, but the courage to say some things and show some things started here. Also, it was good. Who can forget Mick Belker or Frank Furillo, Henry Goldblume or Lucy Bates We didn’t particularly like Fay Furillo, but we weren’t supposed to when she was compared with Joyce Davenport. And Neal Washington and J.D. LaRue were the kind of guys you’d like to sit and have a beer with some time. So were Renko and Bobby Hill. It was one of the first shows I can recall that killed off a main character in a way the viewer really felt it. Of course, I can still remember the theme music and Sgt. Esterhaus imploring the troops on every episode, “Let’s be careful out there.”  Waiting for Netflix to pick this gem up.

Entourage
Shaun Taylor
If I could bring back a TV show for one season, it would hands down be ENTOURAGE! That show was ground breaking in giving average folks like me a “real” view into the world of Hollywood. All jokes aside, the show had an awesome cast, with awesome chemistry. Not to mention, Jeremy Piven absolutely crushed his role as Ari Gold. I loved seeing the fast cars, big houses and beautiful women. But most of all, I enjoyed seeing each actor/actress play his or her position. Nobody tried to outshine each other. Egos were left at the door and what we ended up with was an amazing show.

Undeclared
Kevin Kizer
If I were to tell my friends I was selecting a cancelled Judd Apatow show to resurrect, their thoughts would immediately leap to Freaks and Geeks, the cult classic NBC show about teenagers growing up in the early ‘80s that launched the careers of James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Linda Cardellini, Busy Philipps, John Francis Daley, Samm Levine and Martin Starr – just to name eight. They would be wrong. The show I would most like to see resurrected is a lesser-known Apatow joint called Undeclared, which was about a group of college freshman getting to know each other and their new surroundings.

Like most Apatow projects, this was an ensemble effort, starring Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Carla Gallo, Monica Keena, Timm Sharp and Charlie Hunnam. This was a deft little comedy that unfortunately launched in September of 2001 on Fox and never gained any traction, viewer-wise.

Along with a great primary cast, Apatow managed to bring in some great supporting actors. First and foremost, the brilliant singer/songwriter-turned-Apatow-muse Loudon Wainwright III as Baruchel’s recently divorced father who tries (and largely succeeds) to become “one of the guys.” Other bit players included Amy Poehler (insane RA), Fred Willard (professor), Kevin Hart (religious student), Jenna Fischer (one-night stand), Jason Segel (boyfriend/copy shop manager), Kyle Gass (copy shop worker) and David Krumholtz (another copy shop worker).

And if that’s not enough comedic firepower, Apatow brought in a few heavy hitters in memorable roles: Ben Stiller (Zubaz-wearing, Bow Flex-pumping, ecstasy-popping, mullet-donning ex-boyfriend of Segel’s mom), Adam Sandler (playing himself, who picks up one of the coeds) and Will Ferrell (townie who writes term papers for a living – and does lots of speed). There were only 17 episodes but they were a comedic joy to behold.

Scrubs
Terry Towery
If I could bring back a television show for one more season, it would be Scrubs. And not the horrible Med School Scrubs that was paraded out after the series moved to ABC to die. I mean the old Scrubs with J.D., Turk, Carla, Elliot, Cox and all the rest.

I honestly have no idea why the series so completely captivated me, but it did. In this house, we've watched every episode so many times (on DVD or in cable reruns) that my youngest son and I can parrot each and every line of dialogue as it's spoken. I'm not proud of that, mind you. It's just a fact.

The show was occasionally hilarious, always sophomoric and, sometimes, utterly heartbreaking. The writing was world class, the humor cutting edge, and the acting among the best on TV. I grew to know and love the gang at Sacred Heart Hospital like they were members of my own family. And that's why I would bring it back for one more season.  

Firefly
Stuart Clubb
I’d like to bring back the Simpsons from Seasons 2 and 3 – pretty sure that’s when Conan was writing. Not sure what the show is now. But on a serious note – the show I’d love to see come back is Firefly. There were a lot of hearts broken when it got canceled in 2002. If you Google anything about Firefly you’ll see a great fan base any show would hope to have, and it only seems to be growing. However, I didn’t know the show existed until I saw the movie, Serenity. They made the movie after the cancelation to help bring the series some closure. I immediately was drawn into the TV show and watched the first and only season multiple times.

The show is a fusion of space travel and cowboy western – trust me it works if you give it a chance. The thing I love most is the tone of the show. They have character-conflicting emotions and intense action, but with a clever sense of humor. The show is easy to watch for a Sci-Fi and it’s a lot of fun. Really. The show is just fun to watch. There is still a large portion of people yearning for the show’s return. Even the cast and creator have hinted at their openness to returning to the Firefly universe. And with Netflix reviving shows and other online venues creating original content, the hope of Firefly’s return is still strong after a decade.

24
Tim Cundiff
I have a short, simple, two-number answer to that question: 24. And what’s great is I don’t have to wish for another season, because it’s happening next year! Long live Jack Bauer!!

Gomer Pyle USMC/Star Trek/The Twilight Zone
Steven Streight
It's hard to come up with a TV series I'd like to see come back for one more episode. 

They generally tend to be terminated long after they've run out of plot ideas. Seinfeld and The Office are good examples of running beyond their prime. Some shows were great in their time, but watching old reruns, one wonders if they would be tolerable if they continued in perpetuity. Like sentient creatures, TV shows seem to have a life cycle and an expiration date stamped on them.

Sometimes, like with The Office in particular, it's sad to see the show floundering around aimlessly then grinding to a halt in a horrible display. Somebody should have put The Office out of its misery months ago. It's uncomfortable watching a show's death spasms and withering contortions.

What show to resurrect? Sorry. Each one that died received its funeral service and burial and it seems improper to dig up the bones and prop it up for a posthumous comeback. In most cases, it would be creepy and unseemly. We have moved on, often, sadly, with no new TV show to be thrilled with like we were with the dear departed. 

But, pressed to name a show that might be okay to revive for just one more season, I guess I'd propose Gomer Pyle USMC, Star Trek (the original show with William Shatner) or The Twilight Zone – but in the mode of the past, not updated with color or modern effects, just a pure continuation of the show as it existed in all its primal glory.

 

About the Author
A Juilliard-trained writer, Kevin Kizer has fought against numerous world-champion writers during his career, besting the reigning middle weight writing champion in an exhibition bout in Helsinki in 1976. He also played a crucial role on the U.S. gold-medal winning writing team during the 1984 Pan-Am games, where he came off the bench in dramatic fashion to write the winning prepositional phrase just as time expired.