Making a TV show that is actually going to last is hard work. Anyone can write a show and potentially pitch it to either a big or small network. However, at the end of the day keeping a show on the air is what matters. Several factors go into making a show successful; good writing, a loyal fan base and of course a good relationship with the network. Unfortunately, sometimes even checking all the boxes on those requirements just isn’t enough to keep a show on the air. Luckily, sometimes there are several networks ready and willing to snatch it up. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This has been the case with several TV shows over the years. Shows that are cancelled and coming back is actually more popular that people realize. Your favorite show may not have gotten a second chance but these ones sure did. Here is a list of shows that got lucky.
15. Veronica Mars
Fans were obsessed with Veronica Mars when it originally aired. There’s just something about a female teen detective that made the world feel right again. Veronica Mars is responsible for introducing the world to the lovely Kristen Bell. However, after three seasons the show was ultimately cancelled because of a number of reasons. It had low ratings, it got caught up in that UPN and WB struggle, and basically never found a real home. After trying to find a new network, the show was eventually cancelled for good in 2007 upsetting a lot of loyal fans and leaving a gap in the TV world. Those same loyal fans were the ones who pushed for a comeback. They ultimately got one in 2014 when it came back to be summed up in a film using crowd funded money.
Heroes will forever be a cult hit. When the show premiered in 2006, it started with a bang; fans loved it and essentially it could do no wrong. Unfortunately, fans weren’t too pleased with season two, and after that things just went downhill. But like they say, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Once the show was officially cancelled in 2010, the fans were outraged. In fact, they hoped that it would turn around in the much-anticipated season five. The show was brought back in 2016 as Heroes: Reborn mixing old and new characters. It didn’t tie up loose ends, if anything, it kind of added new confusing storylines. It ran for 13 episodes and ended on a weird note. The reboot was also cancelled so that was it for Heroes.
13. Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks is another cult classic. It ran for two full and very confusing seasons. It was ultimately cancelled due to bad ratings. The creators decided to try and sum up the show with a film called Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. It also flopped and left more questions than answers. However, due to the popularity of the show fans wouldn’t let it go and it was decided that a revival was necessary. Now called Twin Peaks: The Return, it is a continuation in the present day, 25 years after the last episode. While it is still somewhat confusing, it has brought comfort to fans by giving them the insight that they lacked last time but also by updating them on how the characters have progressed since the show ended.
Timeless is a new show that premiered in winter but after a few episodes, it lost steam. Ultimately like many new shows it did not survive its first season and was given the axe in early May. To everyone’s surprise and because of the hounding by fans, just three short days later the show was renewed. Not only is it shocking, but it might actually be record timing. It officially has a second season starting in Fall with the rest of the shows. Hopefully this time it can keep its numbers up especially against all the new shows it will have to compete with.
Roswell was a show about aliens landing on earth and having to not only cover up that they are aliens but also having to navigate high school. It had three seasons and started falling off during its second season. To be honest, like Veronica Mars, Roswell also kind of got screwed during the UPN and WB shake up ultimately landing in a pretty crappy place. It was cancelled for lack of room on the channel. By the time the CW was formed, they were looking for shows to add to their roster and gave Roswell a shot. However, the show had to go up against the mega popular Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It ended up in a not so helpful time slot and ultimately couldn’t survive.
No matter what anyone says, Damages never deserved to be cancelled. Thanks to FX who gave up on the show, it was originally cancelled in 2010. Lack of an audience was the main reason and truthfully, FX was moving onto a different kind of show focusing more on comedies. They also already had a resident drama: The Shield. Thankfully, DirectTV was looking for shows. They quickly snatched up Damages and granted the fans two more seasons. The show did well on DirectTV and was able to end on whatever note the writers felt was best. Even though most of the fans agree that season one was the best, that is normally how it goes with TV shows.
9. The Game
The Game is a show that follows athletes as they navigate the sports world while being tempted by money, women and family. The show was a hit on UPN; it had a stellar cast and even brought light to some real issues. CW picked up the show in one of its primetime spots, but unfortunately in 2009, after three seasons, they decided not to continue with it. The parent company CBS didn’t want to run the show on their channel, but thankfully BET swooped in and took the show on. The show ran from 2011 (season four) to 2015 (season nine) the final season. It had ground-breaking numbers and even now, reruns on BET are doing better than some new shows.
8. Arrested Development
Arrested Development is one of the more popular revived shows that people know about. The show originally premiered on Fox in 2003 and ran for three successful seasons. In the third season close to the end the show started to lose viewership. Fans were unimpressed with repetitive jokes and just generally lost interest. It was eventually revived by Netflix at fans’ request. In 2013 a fourth season aired exclusively on Netflix and fans went crazy. However, since then it has disappeared again. Recently Netflix promised a fifth season. It is set to premiere in 2018 and most likely it will be just as successful as season four was.
7. The Mindy Project
The Mindy Project started on a high note mostly because of the popularity behind Mindy Kaling and her days on The Office. Her show ended up on Fox in 2012 and ran for three seasons until the ratings began to plummet and Fox jumped ship. The show ended up finding a new home with streaming service HULU. So far it has run for two semi successful seasons but unfortunately, this upcoming season will be the last one as the show has officially lost its steam and its loyal fan base. There has also been a lot of hate from former fans and critics about how the show handles race and women. This could have also affected the lack of viewership. Oh well, all good things must come to an end, right?
Nashville is one of the most recent shows to feel the crunch of cancellation. After starting off in 2012 on a literal high note, the show quickly fell off. Not only did the viewership slip, but fans were unimpressed with some of the decisions made in regard to the characters. After four and a half seasons on NBC, the show was ultimately cancelled. CMT saw a diamond in the rough and saved the day by not only finishing off season five but also commissioning a season six. Fans breathed a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, the numbers took another dive as the main character was killed off. Not only pissing off fans, but leaving them to wonder what a show without that character would look like. Let’s see how long CMT sticks it out.
5. Prison Break
Prison Break is a ground-breaking show. Premiering in 2005, the show focused on two brothers; one in prison for a crime he claims he is innocent of and another who wants to break him out. It ran for four seasons and when the creators realized that the show would not be renewed they opted for a sort of film to “sum up” what was left. Because many concepts were left unfinished, fans rallied for a revival. Finally, in 2015 the creators were able to secure a definite yes. In April 2017, the fifth season premiered titled Prison Break: Resurrection where many of the original cast members returned. It is officially called a mini-series having only nine episodes.
Firefly still has a lot of upset fans. When the show was cancelled not only were they shocked but they were left high and dry. Firefly premiered in 2002 and critics expected something along the lines of Buffy The Vampire Slayer or Angel because Joss Whedon was behind it. The show unfortunately only had one season and was officially cancelled in December 2002. Fans however, fought for at least a summed up ending; something they could be content with. Ultimately, a Firefly TV movie was made to honour the fans and honour what the show was and how it affected people. Fans are not happy though, some are still holding out hope that maybe one day the show will be revived. Maybe by revival king: Netflix.
3. Friday Night Lights
Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. With a motto like that, how can a show be cancelled? Friday Night Lights is based on the 2004 film but it was so much more. It did better, the cast was relatable and heartwarming. Unfortunately, that is not enough to keep a show going. Friday Night Lights was cancelled by NBC after season two. Again, DirectTV came in and saved the day. They picked up the critically acclaimed show and gave it a home for three more seasons. The characters were able to finish their stories and the fans were satisfied with what they received.
2. The Killing
Like every other show on this list, The Killing started out great. A murder mystery that fans could really sink their teeth into. The AMC series ran for four seasons altogether, but only two of those seasons were on AMC. That’s right, AMC bailed on the show as it struggled to find its place on the network after two seasons. Now, fans can admit that the show really messed up when they refused to solve the season one murder in season one. Instead dragging it out until season two. They learned that lesson a little too late and it ultimately disappeared from AMC’s lineup. After much shopping around the show found a home on Netflix who graciously gave them two more seasons to sum up the careers and lives of Linden and Holder. For those who hung in there, the show did great.
1. Family Guy
Family Guy has to be the most known cancelled and comeback shows in the history of television. The show was off to a great start; it appealed to the fans who love a dirty joke, and don’t take offense to every little thing. However, the FCC wasn’t impressed and due to a lot of protest and many annoyed parents, Family Guy was cancelled after one season on the air. Fans weren’t having it they rallied together, protested back and were able to bring their new favorite show back on the air, on the same network. The show, however, did come back with a few restrictions. They had to tone down the offensive jokes, they were basically put on a watch list and are still on it. That being said, 15 seasons later and they’re still here.