It looks like TV revivals are en vogue in season, and all the networks are out to get a piece of the action. Several shows which reigned during the 1990s and 2000s will be returning to TV screens in the coming months, including ABC's Roseanne, CBS's Hawaii-five 0, Showtime's The L Word and The CW's Dynasty. Following the buzz around the upcoming Will & Grace reboot, NBC entertainment boss Bob Greenblatt has opened up about his desire to resurrect some more of the network's other flagship series — but the question is, should they?
Alongside Will & Grace, #NBC are also bringing back popular detective drama Miami Vice, and have even been exploring the possibility of resurrecting The Office and #30Rock — two of its most critically acclaimed sitcoms, which both ended in 2013 after a long and successful runs.
There has been a lot of chatter surrounding #TheOffice recently, with rumors circulating that producer Greg Daniels would return to helm a new era of the show along with a brand new cast. Deadline are reporting that no such deal is on the table just yet, but that doesn't mean it won't happen at all.
Speaking to the website on NBC's part of the TCA press tour, Greenblatt hinted that the idea isn't entirely off the table:
“We often talk about The Office, I’ve talked to Greg four times over the past few years. It’s always, ‘maybe some day but not now. There is certainly an open invitation but we don’t have anything happening right now. If he wants to do it, I would do it.”
He went on to say that he's asked Tina Fey about potentially bringing back 30 Rock as well, who equally hasn't entirely ruled out the possibility of a revival:
“I’d say to Tina ‘Hey, you think some more 30 Rock makes any sense?’ She’d say, I don’t know maybe.’“
Greenblatt has also been working with The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin on a live adaption of A Few Good Men, and has quizzed him on the possibility of bringing back the Emmy award-winning political drama:
“I keep saying to him, ‘Do you want to do The West Wing again, wouldn’t it be great to do it?’ He says, ‘You know I love that show and some day I’d love to revisit it, but it’s not going to happen right now.’ I’ve said it to John Wells on ER, but there is nothing concrete except Miami Vice which is something that we are reviving.”
Revivals vs. Original Content — Should TV Networks Be Investing In Old Ideas?
Any pitch, any show and any idea is a gamble in TV land. As with the film industry, reboots and revivals will always garner more interest than original content, but the stakes are always higher if it misses the mark. So far 2017 has seen some excellent revivals, most notably Twin Peaks, which received very positive feedback from fans of the original 1990 David Lynch show. However, Netflix's Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life and last year's Fox reboot of The X-Files both left fans underwhelmed, yet are on track to continue anyway due to high viewing figures.
Having said this, original series have also never been more popular. HBO, AMC, and Netflix are smashing records left, right, and center with shows like Game of Thrones, Westworld, Stranger Things, and The Walking Dead, proving that there's a great deal of stock in original content.
Bob Greenblatt agrees that revivals can be a bit of a minefield, and while all four flagship NBC shows mentioned are tentatively on the table, he's only looking to bring back the “the flashiest” series:
“It’s not an easy think [sic] to crack (a revival), expectations are so high and you’ve got to get it just right.”
On the other hand, if he got the right phone call, then we could see Dunder-Mifflin or Liz Lemon returning to TV screens sooner than anticipated:
"We’re not thinking anything beyond Miami Vice at the moment but if Tina called and said ‘I’d do 30 Rock,’ I’d do it in a heartbeat, even for a limited run. The same about The Office.”
While television is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, it doesn't mean there's no place in the schedule for revivals at all. LGBT-centric shows like Will & Grace and The L Word have been welcomed back with open arms due to need for updated representation, and who isn't excited about the prospect of Xena: Warrior Princess returning? While sitcoms like 30 Rock and The Office would not be difficult to continue, their scripts, cast, and direction were so strong during their years on the air, that all the stars would have to align perfectly to make a revival work — but I for one would like to see NBC take on that challenge.