Revival survival

With more and more TV shows being revived by online streaming services such as Netflix, Lena El-Sheikh makes the case for why we need more TV revivals

2nd November 2015

If you haven’t already heard, Gilmore Girls is coming soon to a Netflix near you- and I am very excited about it. Eight years after the series finale in 2007, Netflix have reportedly closed a deal to revive Gilmore Girls in the form of four 90-minute-long mini movies, written and produced by series creators, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino. The mini-series will pick up in present time and all of the main cast are expected to return, including Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Kelly Bishop and Scott Patterson.

Gilmore Girls is the most recent revival in the line of TV show reboots that have come back from the dead with the help of new TV broadcasting technology, on-demand streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, which are slowly but surely taking over traditional TV broadcasting as they play into our nostalgia obsessed generation, bringing back loved classics and rescuing our favourite TV shows from cancellation. Usually, I am a firm believer in the creator having the last word; when a TV show is over, it is over and there should be no narrative beyond what the writer has created. However, there has been a shift in the way that we consume TV as series now rely on online communities to keep the fire surrounding shows aflame and it is these passionate communities of online fans that provide an in-built audience for TV revivals, guaranteeing their success. So, while TV shows may not survive on traditional broadcasting because figures are not high enough to keep advertisers interested, fans are certainly loyal and dedicated enough to get people to subscribe to streaming services, increasing the shelf life of shows that are just too good to end.

“TV shows may not survive on traditional broadcasting because figures are not high enough to keep advertisers interested, fans are certainly loyal and dedicated enough to get people to subscribe to streaming services”

Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson was recently sacked on BBC, much to the dismal of thousands of fans who signed a petition to keep the trio on the show, but thanks to streaming services, Amazon Prime have taken them on for a similar show, rumoured to be renamed ‘Gear Knobs’, and are expected to launch in the new year. Not only does this please viewers of Top Gear by continuing the legacy of the show, but it is the best possible way for streaming services to gain subscriptions, providing content that people will automatically love. Following in the footsteps of Amazon and Netflix, Yahoo Screen revived Community in response to fans wanting to see its slogan of ‘Six series and a movie’ lived out and The Mindy Project continues its fourth series on Hulu. Even traditional TV broadcasting have jumped on the bandwagon as American Networks, such as Showtime are reviving cult-classic Twin Peaks and Fox are bringing back The X-Files. In the case of Gilmore Girls, there is an air of nostalgia that excites me for the revival series, but also, Gilmore Girls arguably never ended as series 7, its final series was written and produced by an entirely different ensemble than the previous six series, meaning that fans never had the chance to watch the show as it was intended to end, with four words that only creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino knows. The revival promises to rewrite the errors of the final series, ending on its own terms.

In today’s day and age, on-demand streaming services are the only hope for cancelled TV shows and series that thrived a decade ago- we need services, such as Netflix to keep our favourite fictional universes alive for the sake of closure and a trip down memory lane. While I don’t think every 90s show to ever exist should be remade, streaming services certainly provide the perfect platform for TV comebacks to be executed correctly and successfully.

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