We’re living in a world where TV programs may get the chance to move from networks to cable instead of getting cancelled, and where reboots and spinoffs are acceptable, but are not the only options for series. With shows like Arrested Development (and even 24) opting to come back, creating new episodes and new reasons for fans to invest, the possibilities for other new shows to return seem endless, although the return of programs might be a little more restrictive than it seems at first glance.
The TV Blend crew put our heads together and realized for a show to return, conditions must be perfect. Not only would the show need to be fondly remembered by audiences, but it would need to present the sort of topical and situational humor or story that could be adapted for a new age, and hopefully for new audiences, along with the old. Some programs, like Full House, would be nearly impossible to bring back in the same incarnation, since the cast would be full-grown and even if the kids lived nearby, the house would not be full. In most cases, 24 notwithstanding, comedies also seemed more relevant to bring back than dramas. Without further ado, here are the top five comedies we’d like to see return to the schedule.
Seinfeld was a comedy that excelled at using observational humor to approach modern-day topics. This show about "nothing" was really about everything, which is why it's the kind of comedy that could be adapted to another time period. So why not revive the series for a tenth season that brings the four core characters back together? The comedy is as beloved as it ever was, and there would surely be an audience. Although, series creator Larry David and stars Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander would all have to be willing to return for Seinfeld to work.
Louis-Dreyfus has Veep on HBO and Richards is set for Kirstie’s New Show, but ideally they'd all find some spare time to do the show. Season 10 could put the characters back in New York and give them some minor life-updates in the time that's passed since 1998. Maybe Elaine and Jerry are married (not to each other, please), George is divorced and Kramer is still single, and they're all still friends. From there, it's just a matter of giving them issues to deal with. Picture George complaining about how he can't stand the women he's being matched with by an online dating site - and he blames the site, refusing to see the matches as a reflection on his own personality - while Kramer agrees to help his actor-friend Mickey get a video to go viral. And maybe Jerry (or Elaine) is in hot water over a sarcastic Facebook comment made about a photo of an acquaintance's child. The potential for Seinfeld-esque humor related to social networking alone could probably fill a season, and that's just one angle that could be explored, should Seinfeld ever return. We'd watch.
The Larry Sanders Show
"Hey now!" So it's been 15 years since the last episode of HBO's The Larry Sanders Show aired, but since culture is (still) obsessed with celebrity, not to mention the pay cable network has made major inroads with new comedy slates, another season of the groundbreaking series would be a perfect candidate for a limited revival. "No flipping," hear us out. Created by Garry Shandling and Dennis Klein (featuring award winning writers like Peter Tolan, Maya Forbes, Paul Simms and Judd Apatow as well as directors Todd Holland and Ken Kwapis), Larry Sanders was a huge critical success, lasting for six seasons on HBO and influencing a lot of the best television of the last few years.
Using a show-within-a-show format (shot differently to aesthetically distinguish between the scenes and his life behind them), the satire of late night television also had a phenomenal available cast - Shandling, Jeffrey Tambor and Rip Torn not to mention support like Jeremy Piven, Janeane Garofalo, Bob Odenkirk and Sarah Silverman, all who are currently available. The show also famously featured a ton of celebrity guests playing often unflattering versions of themselves. Seriously, check out that crazy long list. And bringing Larry back would be easy enough. Perhaps the executives got worried about the dip in ratings after Larry 'left' and he was almost immediately invited back to the late night show and has been doing it ever since. Or he was briefly put at ten o'clock before an awkward power struggle saw him return to his regular hours. Hmm, sounds familiar. "You may flip now."
Life isn’t a race. Within a close group of friends, however, it can feel like it. As some get promoted up the corporate ladder, others idle within jobs they have no future in. As some think of committing to a single person, others hopscotch through dive bars and on lucky nights, random bedrooms. Through the lenses of disposable income, relationships and later children, we measure ourselves against those we love, simultaneously rooting for our brothers and sisters in arms and yet secretly hoping they never move too far past us. It’s that fascinating and complicated dichotomy of close relationships that Friends understood so well, and it’s that same dichotomy that makes another season on Friends so damn appealing.
When our buddies last left us, they were heading to Central Perk for one last cup of coffee before Monica and Chandler moved to the suburbs. Given their family situation, the change in locations was pretty logical, but it also represented the single biggest threat to the group’s cohesiveness they’d ever encountered. A new season of Friends would offer viewers a chance to see how everyone was able to stay in touch with distance being a real barrier for the first time. It would let fans see how these characters we love so much behave as parents—not parents to little kids—full on, wrist deep parents with actual philosophies and an incredible number of requirements. Jennifer Aniston would probably only agree to be in select episodes and other schedules would need to be worked out, but something tells me millions would run to watch our favorite group of friends hold hands through another stage in their lives.
Sex and the City
I know, I know. The two Sex and the City movies made it embarrassing to admit you ever even liked the show, much less want to see more of it. But those of us who loved Sex and the City as a TV show, who remember its biting humor and elegant plots much more than the gaudy fashion and catchphrases, can at least admit to ourselves that Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte are still characters worth following. And now that the characters are all in their 40s (or even 50s!), their stories could be fresh all over again.
One of the few strong moments in Sex and the City 2 had Miranda and Charlotte commiserating about their new lives as mothers. Imagine a season-long arc about that, as Miranda copes with Brady becoming an adolescent and Charlotte has to allow her adorable, postcard-ready daughters to grow up into messy, complicated humans. Think of the gulf that having kids vs. not having kids would put between the four women, and how Carrie and Samantha's single lives would seem emptier without their friends, but also freer. All you have to do is Google "Mommy wars" to know that there's endless fodder for debate, humor and heartbreak around women who have children, and now that the show would no longer be about four single women, that divide could make the show interesting again even after it seemed to have told all its stories when it ended in 2004. At the very least, we deserve to wipe the slate clean of Sex and the City 2-- and one last season is the best way to do it.
My Name Is Earl
Greg Garcia is gifted at creating worlds full of unusual (and often poor) individuals, and he was at his best with My Name is Earl. Despite bowing out of Raising Hope, Garcia has a pretty full plate, with The Millers headed to CBS and an overall deal at that network, but I bet he would bend over backwards to work on My Name Is Earl again, provided the show was not returning to NBC. I’m also guessing the cast would be willing to return, including Jason Lee, Eddie Steeples, Jaime Pressley, and Ethan Supplee, as none of them are currently starring in anything and spend a lot of time guest starring on Raising Hope--although it may be a little more difficult to wrangle in The League’s Nadine Velazquez.
A unique worldview is hard to create effectively in a comedy, and My Name is Earl always offered a perspective that was both fresh and familiar. The format of the show would make it ideal for a return. Earl would still be working down his list of apologies with the faithful Randy by his side, Patty the Daytime Hooker would finally start using her master’s degree, passing on her work to her daughter, and Tim Stack would move on from alcohol briefly, turning to bath salts (he still wouldn’t get arrested). That may be more of a wishlist than the actual new plot points, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from My Name is Earl, it’s that even though some things may change and people may even win the lottery, nothing really changes, at all.