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This is Why We Keep Reviving Dead TV Shows

This is Why We Keep Reviving Dead TV Shows
From Slashfilm - November 3, 2017

(Welcome toThe Soapbox, the space where wegetpersonal, political, and opinionated about anything and everything. In this edition: why TV shows keep coming back fromthe dead and why this needs to stop.)

TV show reboots and revivals have been around for decades. Just look at Leave it to Beaver, the 1950s black-and-white sitcom that was resurrected in the 80s aswait for it The New Leave It to Beaver. Theres The Odd Couple and The Twilight Zone; even the cartoon classic Tom and Jerry came back 74 years after its original creation.

So we cant pretend that youngergenerations haveany kind of monopoly on the concept of a television revival. But over the last couple of years, we have seen an especially high concentration of sometimes long-dead series announcing their return, to the point that sometimes it feels like everything new is just an old story reimagined.

And sure, fans tend to welcome these reunions rabidly. How can we help ourselves? Look at Arrested Development, which according to film critic and podcast host Tom OKeefe probably kicked off this recent spate of revivals. Its return after a short-lived first run was hugely anticipatedbut also hugely disappointing. Yet even after that fourth season, Netflix is releasing a fifth in 2018, and fans are already cautiously optimistic.

Are we gluttons for punishment, or do we just not know when to stop?

TV Show Revivals Spring from an Age-Old Tendency Toward Nostalgia

Germar Derron, pop culture editor, attributes the success of many recent TV show reboots to their indulgent nostalgia. To put things in perspective, Fuller House has reached almost as large a viewership as The Walking Dead and Derron says thats because Full House is the show of our childhood. Its one of the very few things we agree on [] It plays hard to a simpler gentler time before we paid bills, or got that third DUI or divorce.

And just as TV show revivals are nothing new, neither is that craving for simpler times. For those of us who look to the 80s and 90s as those simpler times, its hard to imagine that those generations were harking back to earlier decades in the same way. But thats exactly how The New Leave It to Beaver likely arose: it stemmed from the ever-familiar need for sentimentality.

Online Streaming Services Have Catalyzed the Revival & Reboot Resurgence

On my honor, I have never once watched an episode of Twin Peaks. But quiz me about it and youll find that I know more about the intricacies of its plot and characters than you might expect. I know all these details because Ive been exposed to the Twin Peaks Tumblr fandom, where my peers used to endlessly theorize about the show, ship their OTPs, and recapitulate tiny details.

How did anyone my age know anything about a show that was cancelled before most of us were even born? In the days before online streaming, they might have caught reruns on cableif the stars aligned perfectly and they managed to be around at the right time of day, flipping through the right channels, and caught up to that exact episode.

But now you can stream every episode of Twin Peaks on Netflix at your leisure. No more waiting for stars to align: if a friend recommends a show you just have to check out, you can go home and watch it right away. You can watch it as many times as you want, over and over, without having to record it and take up valuable space on your DVR.

In the same way that we have every show we could possibly want within the click of a mouse, we also have internet forums and fandoms within the same reach. Fandoms feed on themselvesthey thrive on constant discussions about all the same topics, and they grow exponentially from there. So they have an easier time making their collective voice heard to demand the closure they never received, or the gluttonous return of a series that died more than a decade ago.

Producers and Networks Prefer Not to Gamble on New Content

Revivals Are Just a Painful Opportunity for Once-Beloved Series to Disappoint Hungry Fans

We Should Look Beyond Revivals of Old, Tired Concepts

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