ByJames Thomas, writer at
Writer, Graphic Designer, Husband, Father, Geek and Aspiring Scripter of Moving Pictures
James Thomas

The entertainment industry has been widely criticized over the last few years for having "run out of ideas." With most film franchises now being remakes of classics from the '70s and '80s, based on popular comic books and action figure franchises, and one can hardly argue that notion. However, it has never been more evident than with the new trend of old television shows making a triumphant – and often even unnecessary – return to the airwaves.

Gone are the days of wondering what your once favorite TV characters are up to in the years (or decades) since the cancellation of their shows. Now you can just see for yourself as the likes of The X-Files and Heroes have returned to network television, while other shows like Full House and Arrested Development have returned via Netflix.

In some cases this is a welcome thing. Some shows were cancelled before their time and the fan base never got their closure. Sometimes it's a show cashing in on the nostalgic trend and giving us a sequel series to show what certain characters are up to 20 years later. And some seem to just come back because the cast and crew had nothing better to do except cram more of the same old crap down our throats ( ::cough:: Heroes Reborn ::cough:: )

So with the recent announcement that Gilmore Girls would be returning for a four episode mini-series on Netflix, I've prepared a short list of the top 5 shows that actually do need to come back in some form or another, if this is going to be the persistent new trend in television.

5. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

This one was actually on the verge of happening. It wasn't clear if it was going to be a sequel series or a straight modern day remake, but series star Will Smith was rumored to be developing a new take on the popular '90s sitcom with himself at the producer's wheel. Nothing much has developed since the original news broke a year or two ago, except for remarks from Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton Banks) on the unlikelihood of it getting off the ground.

Where is the original cast now?

Will Smith is obviously a huge, Oscar-nominated movie star, having just released the film


and will soon be featured as Deadshot in the DC Universe film,

Suicide Squad

. Alfonso Ribeiro (the aforementioned goofy cousin, Carlton) won

Dancing With the Stars

in 2014 (thanks, in part, to his reprisal of the famous Carlton dance). The rest of the cast hasn't seen as much super stardom since the end of the series in 1996, with most only popping up for one or two episode guest appearances on various shows (if doing any work at all). Unfortunately, series co-star James Avery – who brought the Banks patriarch, Uncle Phil, to incredible life – passed away in 2013.

What would a new series be about?

This show actually almost didn't make my list because I felt like it ended on a positive note after a long run of success and not much else really needed to be told on the Smith/Banks clan. However, I had a dream last night that the new series took shape and the premise was solid. What's the old saying? If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The new sequel series, The Fresh Prince of New York, would have Will sending his son (likely played by real life son, Jayden) off to NYC for one reason or another to live with cousins Carlton, Hillary and Ashley (whom all moved there at the end of the original series). From there, shenanigans and life lessons would ensue. Of course, this is all pending the willingness for said characters to return to their iconic roles... but why not, right?

This would be a good fit for network television or Netflix, perhaps even as a strong partner with fellow sitcom sequel series Fuller House.

4. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

This is one of those ones that was cancelled before its time and actually left audiences with a rather insane cliffhanger. The titular super couple of Lois Lane and Clark Kent (Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain, respectively) were married and had just had a baby dropped off on their doorstep. The episode ended on a cliffhanger with the intent of coming back to wrap things up with a promised fifth season, but the plug was pulled at the proverbial eleventh hour and fans were left wanting. Dean Cain has often recounted in interviews and at conventions that he would like to have seen the beloved characters go on to have a family of their own, and the baby was certainly a step in that direction.

Where is the original cast now?

Dean just appeared in two episodes of CBS's new Supergirl series (no, not as Superman) as well as in many film appearances, including a rather entertaining prison thriller from WWE Films, Vendetta. Since the end of Desperate Housewives, Teri Hatcher has mostly been providing her voice to animated projects. The series second Jimmy Olsen, Justin Whalen, made various film appearances, the biggest of which being the atrocious and critically panned Dungeons & Dragons. And the comedic couple of Eddie Jones and K Callan (Ma and Pa Kent) continue to make film TV appearances here and there. Sadly, Lane Smith (who played probably my favorite incarnation of the Daily Planet's editor-in-chief, Perry White) passed away from ALS in 2005.

What would a new series be about?

Like Gilmore Girls, this would best serve as a mini series on Netflix or Hulu just to give its fan base some closure on the abrupt ending. It would pick up 20 years later with Lois & Clark still trying to solve the mystery of their now adopted son's origins in an era where Clark is trying to take a step back as Superman so that other heroes can shine.

3. Friends

This has been a touchy subject as of late. An on-stage Friends "reunion" was planned for a ceremony honoring legendary TV director James Burrows but will be short Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing) when the special airs at the end of February. However, it can't be said that fans aren't dying to know what their favorite friends have been up to since the series came to a close in 2001.

Where is the original cast now?

Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green) is most famously known these days as Brad Pitt's ex-wife (and Angelina Jolie's lifelong mortal enemy if E! has anything to say about it) but is also known to make top grossing movies from time to time. Courtney Cox (Monica Geller Bing) just wrapped a series run on Cougar Town in 2015. Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay) has worked steadily but is best known for the show Web Therapy. Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani) had a short lived spin-off in the form of Joey and can now be seen playing a fictional version of himself on the Showtime series Episodes. Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing) was most recently seen on an updated TV version of The Odd Couple and David Schwimmer (Ross Geller) just started starring as Robert Kardashian on American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson.

What would the new series be about?

This is actually one that doesn't need to be a series. It's just not necessary. The cast has moved on and we don't need further multi episodic adventures of this group. However, it would be nice to just see a 2 hour TV movie special detailing what they've been up to and how their lives have changed over the last 15 years. NBC should really get on the ball with that one. That's 'Must See TV' if I ever heard of any.

2. Chuck

C'mon NBC! You brought back Heroes which, let's be honest, was cancelled because after the first season it just got progressively worse and nobody wanted to watch it anymore. Why would you not bring back a series that fans have been clamoring for ever since it's ambiguous and rather upsetting ending? Chuck was a spy comedy than ran for five seasons and was arguably one of the best written and performed shows I have ever seen. I love it so much I wrote a pretty popular piece on it here. There's a huge movement on Twitter to bring the series back, including a petition by the @ChuckVStheMovie account and the hashtag.

Where is the original cast now?

Series star Zachary Levi (Chuck Bartowski) has recently been one of the stars of Heroes Reborn as well as the host of SyFy's Geeks Who Drink TV trivia game. Yvonne Strahovski (Sarah Walker) was just in The Astronaut Wives Club (from Chuck co-creator Josh Schwartz) and Adam Baldwin (John Casey) has been traversing the post-apocalypse on TNT's The Last Ship. The remaining cast has all had various appearances in other shows and films regularly since the show ended in 2012.

What would the new series be about?

Zachary Levi has said that Chuck probably doesn't need a whole new series rebirth, but would definitely be interested in a movie or mini series to round the show's ending, which had Sarah losing her memories and Chuck wanting to start over with her. Personally, I found that to be a hugely flawed ending because the Chuck/Sarah relationship was one of the best on television and dammit the two deserved happiness. Not a fresh start!

I would love to see a Chuck Returns mini or event series on NBC or Netflix that picks up in the years since the show ended with Chuck and Sarah rebuilding their lives but not quite having the spark that would come with the return of her memories. So while Chuck tirelessly searches for a way to restore them they are all pulled back into the spy world when a threat emerges that only the Intersect can solve. If a series is out of the question and has to be a movie, then so be it. Just make it happen.

1. Firefly

If there was ever a series that just got a total raw deal and that fans absolutely refuse to let go of, it's Joss Whedon's Firefly. The space western ran for half a season before getting cancelled as a result of poor planning and foresight on the part of Fox. The rights were purchased by Universal, who released the movie Serenity in 2005 to wrap things up. Even though that, in itself, was 11 years ago, fans refuse to let go of the idea that the show can continue. The cast can't attend a single convention without being asked when fans can see new episodes. Why Fox, Universal or Netflix haven't brought back the series in some form or another is beyond mind-blowing because it would be the biggest thing on television.

Where is the original cast now?

Nathan Fillion (Malcolm Reynolds) can currently be seen as the star of the hit series Castle, but in its eighth season let's be honest, it's probably nearing its last legs. As previously mentioned, Adam Baldwin (Jayne Cobb) can be seen on The Last Ship (at least I think so. I've never watched it. Is his character dead?) Gina Torres (Zoe Washburne) is one of the stars of USA's hit series, Suits. Summer Glau (River Tam) has appeared on The CW's Arrow and the show Sequestered. Sean Maher (Simon Tam) has had a harder time landing a regular gig and mostly appears in guest appearances on different shows. Jewel Staite (Kaylee Frye) will soon be seen on The CW's Legends of Tomorrow, but currently only slated for one episode. Morena Baccarin (Inara Serra) has been playing Dr. Leslie Thompkins on Fox's Batman prequel series, Gotham, and will next be seen in the highly anticipated superhero flick, Deadpool. Alan Tudyk (Hoban 'Wash' Washburne) and Ron Glass (Shepherd Book) both had their characters killed off in Serenity and have been working steadily ever since, though its not out of the question that the two could return if requested.

What would the new series be about?

In short... any damn thing anybody wants. If it bears the name Firefly or Serenity and takes place in the 'Verse, people will watch it. It's unlikely that the original cast would refuse to come back if asked because they all enjoy reflecting on the series just as much as fans continue to talk about it and hope that it returns. A brand new Firefly TV series could air once each cast member is available.

A sequel to Serenity can be made. A mini or event series could air on Fox or Netflix if a full multi season commitment just isn't feasible. A band new concept in the vein of Star Trek: The Next Generation could tell the story of a second war between the Alliance and the Browncoats with a new cast of characters, accompanied by occasional guest appearance of the Serenity crew, of course. You can take my love, take my land and take me to where I cannot stand. But I don't care, because I'm still free to believe that Firefly can and will continue... and you can't take that sky from me.

So what do you think? If this is the new trend of television, are these the shows you'd like to see return? Do you have a different choice? Sound off below and let's get Tinseltown talking. And don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@ThisIsJamesT) for all things rant and ravey. And be sure to keep reporting back for my series of articles celebrating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, Fifty Years in the Final Frontier.


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