10 Canceled TV Shows That Should Have Stayed Dead
These 10 dead shows got another chance at life, and blew it.
, and it's extremely rare for them to get a second chance--even when . That makes it sting all the more when shows that were once beloved do get to come back for a revival, reboot, or sequel series, and they wind up missing the mark.
These new seasons of old, dead, and canceled TV shows aren't necessarily the worst things on television. They simply didn't live up to the beloved seasons that came before, and in some cases, even made those earlier episodes harder to enjoy by association. These are shows that got a second shot on the air, and failed to recapture the magic. In other words, we would have likely been happier if they had stayed dead.
We're sure you'll disagree with some of our choices, so feel free to leave a comment down below.
1. Veronica Mars
Original run: 2004-2006 (UPN/The CW)
Revival: 2019 (Hulu)
The show's original run starred Kristen Bell as a plucky and loveable teenage detective who tangled with all sorts of nefarious forces. Bell returned for a movie in 2014, and finally a fourth season on Hulu in 2019. Unfortunately, although the critical consensus was mostly positive, some fans felt that the characters weren't true to themselves--particularly Veronica, who acted weirdly toxic in her relationship with Logan. Add to that a convoluted mystery, a hateful "twist" in the final episode, and the fact that the 2014 movie had already wrapped things up pretty effectively.
2. Arrested Development
Original run: 2003-2006 (Fox)
Revival: 2013, 2018-19 (Netflix)
The original three seasons of Arrested Development are some of the funniest TV ever produced, featuring an all-star ensemble cast and rewarding multiple viewings with endless layers of in-jokes, meta references, and callbacks. Unfortunately, Season 4, which arrived on Netflix 7 years after the show was cancelled, was infamously so bad that it was officially re-cut, and Season 5 wasn't much better. It turns out it's hard to re-capture the magic of that ensemble when you can barely get two of them in the same room together.
3. The X-Files
Original run: 1993-2002 (Fox)
Revival: 2016-2018 (Fox)
The original seasons of The X-Files were inconsistent, to say the least, often relying on monster-of-the-week filler to pad out seasons with dozens of episodes. When revisiting it now, it's common to use an episode watch list to determine which ones to skip. These days, typical TV seasons have far fewer episodes, meaning each one needs to be great--something the 2016 X-Files revival definitely did not achieve. Although there were some winners in the new seasons, the extreme retconning of the original show was downright disrespectful.
Original run: 2006-2010 (NBC)
Revival: 2015 (NBC)
Heroes may have taken its comic book tropes too far, remixing the story and characters after its beloved first season. But the 2015 revival, Heroes: Reborn, was much worse than that: an uninspired re-tread that simply attempted to repeat the same beats that made the original season so good, with nothing new to say.
5. Twin Peaks
Original run: 1990-1991 (ABC)
Revival: 2017 (Showtime)
Like all of David Lynch's weird work, you either love or hate Twin Peaks. Admittedly, it's not for everyone. But the original two seasons (moreso Season 1, but 2 had its moments) captured a cult following that's lasted decades. Many Lynch fans adored the revival, Twin Peaks: The Return, but not everyone enjoyed the fully unfettered trip down memory lane. Much of The Return felt designed to frustrate and befuddle fans who'd waited 25 years, and the new season ultimately created more mysteries than it resolved.
Original run: 1988-1997 (ABC)
Revival: 2018 (ABC)
To be clear, this is not about The Conners, which is a delightful sitcom--but it only became that after the show killed the formerly titular character, Roseanne. Real-life Roseanne Barr's problematic public persona means this show should have never been revived--just look at the extremely that got the show re-canceled in the first place. This is one that definitely should have stayed dead.
Original run: 1985-1992 (ABC)
Revival: 2016-2021 (CBS)
MacGyver was a beloved show in its time, but the 2016 reboot brought nothing new to the table. It was canceled this year.
8. Full House
Original run: 1987-1995 (ABC)
Revival: 2016-2020 (Netflix)
Full House is one of the most iconic sitcoms of the '90s. The Netflix revival wasn't terrible, and it even scratched an itch for fans eager to see what the Tanners and co. have been up to in the intervening years. But Fuller House relied far too heavily on nostalgia, substituting endless callbacks to the original series for actual good writing. Ultimately, it left a sour taste.
Original run: 2001-2010 (Fox)
Revival: 2014 (Fox)
The anti-terrorism thriller 24 originally premiered just months after 9/11, making it incredibly timely. It's no wonder it struck a chord with audiences. The world had changed a lot by 2014, though, when 24: Legacy attempted to reboot the series with a new hero. Mainly, though, it simply repeated all the same beats as the original without adding anything new to the formula, which made it feel tired despite its breakneck action pace.
10. Breaking Bad
Original run: 2008-2013 (AMC)
Revival: 2019 (Netflix)
OK, so Breaking Bad was definitely never canceled. It's widely considered to be one of the best shows on TV, and its ending was utterly perfect. Even the spin-off series, Better Call Saul, is fantastic. So why is it on this list? Because of the 2019 movie, El Camino, which revealed exactly what happened to Aaron Paul's character Jesse after he escaped in the Breaking Bad finale. It featured some flashbacks that allowed beloved characters to make fun cameos, but overall, it added basically nothing to the story; in the Season 5 finale, Jesse escaped, while at the end of El Camino, Jesse escaped. The movie is a redundant and unnecessary footnote.