Cancelled TV Shows

52 Cancelled Shows That Came Back (Yet Shouldn't Give You False Hope)

At this difficult time of year, as underperforming TV show after underperforming TV show gets dragged to the woodshed, one could find solace in the fact that the dead sometimes do rise again.

But should you find comfort in that?

As part of what we’ll call our Cancellation Season Survival Guide, TVLine rounded up 52 comeback stories — as old as Leave It to Beaver and as recent as the imminent Twin Peaks revival — for shows that had been declared dead (or were close to flatlining), only to live another day (literally, if you’re 24‘s Jack Bauer).

The reasons for resuscitation are wide-ranging, from the network that decided it was worth it to produce My Three Sons in color, to the fans of Jericho who truly drove CBS nuts. There are many instances of, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” — something NBC perhaps should have considered before gift-wrapping for CBS what would turn out to be 34 seasons of JAG/NCIS goods! And, yes, there have been the few occasions a scrapped show made the leap to the big screen (for better or for worse).

But again, this trip down memory lane is not meant to get your hopes up for when your fave show falls. Nowhere here will you see a caption that says, “The petition got the job done!” Jericho‘s is a great story, but one that has only been somewhat replicated once, by the Chuck fans and their six-inchers. And it should be noted that everyone’s go-to “savior,” Netflix, hasn’t rescued a freshly cancelled series in two-and-a-half years, since Longmire.

Flip through the attached gallery (click here for direct access) and tell us which resurrection most pleased you.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Wrstlgirl says:

    I still and will forever miss Jericho!!

    • NightOwl1 says:

      When they brought Jericho back, they changed so much that the original essence that fans loved was no longer present. I’ll always miss Jericho & Chuck.

      • Wrstlgirl says:

        Maybe some fans but certainly not all of them including me. I loved everything about that show.

        • Emme says:

          Same here. Enjoyed season 2, criminally short as it was, just as much as season 1. As fascinating as seeing Jericho in a microcosm in season 1, I can’t imagine the series as a whole without Beck. I was particularly amazed that the show was able to accomplish what they did in season 2 with 7 episodes that normally takes other shows another 6 or 12 to do.

    • Daya says:

      Me too! When I finally do my first cosplay, it will be an OC from a fanfic I wrote. <3

  2. Sam says:

    You’re missing a great drama series that got an extra season and four TV movies on another network: In the Heat of the Night.

  3. Leona says:

    You forgot the awesome USA series “La Femme Nikita.” It was cancelled after four seasons and fans started sending old VCRs, remotes, and TVs to Warner Bros. It wound up being brought back for a shortened fifth season.

  4. msstargate says:

    Stargate SG-1 ran 5 seasons on Showtime, cancelled and then picked up by the Channel formerly know as SciFi where it ran for 5 more seasons, and gave us 2 spin offs that ran for 5 years and 2 years.

  5. AMG says:

    Netflix picked up both Full House and Gilmore Girls in 2015.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      “Freshly cancelled”

      • jericho says:

        These two shows are different. Like Girl Meets World, 90210 and Melrose Place, Fuller House is a reboot of a show. The show did not come back, there is a difference.

        Gilmore Girls is a different entity all together. The show did and did not come back. It really depends on how you categorize the 4 new entries. Were the 4 TV “Movies” or were they 4 “overlong” episodes. Personally, I’d have loved to see them come back but they really didn’t.

        Now if someone could make BMW come back as “teen” show that focuses on the entire cast and not just the kids, that would be an awesome thing.

  6. Becky says:

    Isn’t Will and Grace being revived next year?

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Added! I regret the conspicuous omission. (Sometimes you get so deep into the 1970s/80s weeds, you forget the newer stuff.)

  7. TJ says:

    You forgot a few 70’s staples: The Bionic Woman was picked up by NBC after being cancelled by ABC and would run for one more season. It, along with the Six Million Dollar Man, came back for 3 TV movies airing on NBC for the first two and NBC for the third. This means both shows had incarnations on all three major networks! Also cancelled by ABC after 13 episodes, Wonder Woman went to CBS to run for two more full seasons in a modern day setting.

  8. Whovian says:

    Matlock moved from NBC to ABC

  9. kirads09 says:

    Cancellations I am still chaffed about may never get over: Alcatraz, Terra Nova, Almost Human, Battle Creek and Incorporated. I know they ain’t comin back ever but still….

    • Daya says:

      I watched Battle Creek just because I’m from Michigan…I’m sure I’m not the only one!

    • PatriciaLee says:

      I’m with you on some of those, and I keep a running list of shows to bring back if ever I become a billionaire or a best friend of a billionaire: Allegiance, Almost Human, Battle Creek, Believe, Benched, Breaking In, Chaos, Common Law , Complications, Cupid, Detroit 1-8-7, Eli Stone, FlashForward, Forever, Houdini & Doyle, Human Target, Ironside, Journeyman, Lie To Me, Life, Life on Mars, Limitless, Marvel’s Agent Carter, Mind Games, My Own Worst Enemy, Perception, Person of Interest, Pushing Daisies, Second Chance, Terra Nova, Terriers, The Cape, The Glades, The Good Guys, The Grinder, The Mentalist, The Neighbors, The Player, The Reaper, The Unusuals, Trophy Wife, Vegas, and Vinyl

  10. James says:

    Well 90210 and Melrose Place were spin offs. I wouldnt consider them as “revivals”…
    How I wish The Leftovers is on this lost once is finished 😵

  11. T.W.S.S. says:

    I only discovered Southland last year, great cop drama, so glad it was saved.

  12. Jerry says:

    Some shout-out should go to “The Paper Chase,” which was cancelled after the 1978-79 season in CBS, only to be resurrected in 1983 for a three-year run Showtime. Pretty sure that was the first drama series to make the transition from a network to a pay cable.

  13. Jonathan says:

    So the lesson learned is NBC doesnt know how to keep good shows.

  14. Catherine says:

    And yet “Breaking In” didn’t even air most of that revival second season.

  15. TVFan says:

    Family Matters ran on ABC as part of it’s TGIF line-up for many seasons. The last season ran on CBS and is marked by the loss of Urkle’s suspenders & the replacement of the actress portraying Harriet Winslow.

  16. tvdiva says:

    Where is Murder She Wrote? I thought it was on the list to be cancelled, then Angela Lansbury won an Emmy and CBS decided to keep the show.

  17. JKR says:

    The one cancellation that still I remember well is Once and Again (people paid for billboards outside the studio offices!). More recently, Limitless and FlashForward.

  18. MMD says:

    The only one that I truly care about is the movie finale of Deadwood which i have anxiously been waiting for.

  19. You could add “Farscape” to that list. It came back as a wrap-up mini-series.

  20. Melodie says:

    All I want is for Switched at Birth to be magically renewed or revived. I would even settle for Lizzy Weiss admitting that Bay and Emmett end up together in the future. I have watched many shows and have more often than not been disappointed by love triangles’ resolutions, but I had never been this invested in it, and I truly believe that they were wrong, this is not the way it was supposed to end. I refuse to believe that it is over.

  21. Where is Farscape? It got cancelled and came back due to fan support as a mini series the Peacekeeper Wars.

  22. Aubrey says:

    Family Guy is actually in it’s 15th season, not it’s 14th.

  23. A fan of TV says:

    Jericho would have run for years if it had come along a few years later and been on any channel/platform outside the network 4. Really, truly too bad, as now you’d need to reboot the whole series with entirely new actors (and would need to hope against hope for the same magic/chemistry).

    That said, someone should reboot it anyway. Especially in the Trump era, the relevance is through the freaking roof.

  24. S says:

    Farscape should be on here! I believe you could add it as another successful fan revival campaign… probably one of the first? Certainly it predated Jericho.

  25. Ceylan says:

    I know it hasn’t officially returned yet\ but how could you leave out Young Justice? And wasn’t About a Boy originally a book?

  26. Hollie says:

    and then later that day news came of the Psych revival….

  27. Paul says:

    Family Matters Ran on ABC then Moved To CBS
    Step By Step See Above
    Search For Tomorrow Canceled by CBS Picked Up By NBC for 4 More Years
    Bionic Woman Canceled By ABC Moved To NBC
    The Golden Girls Ran for 7 Years On NBC Rebooted Next Year On CBS AS The Golden Palace
    Too Close For Comfort Ran On ABC For Several Years Revived In First Run Syndication For Several More Years
    Edge of Night Canceled By CBS Ran On ABC For Several more Years

  28. darkn3ss says:

    They seriously should bring back Grimm TT

  29. bluepasj says:

    Damages would have benefited from ending on the 3rd season and not reaching the unsatisfactory 5th.

  30. Master_K says:

    Hmm I haven’t seen anyone mention Buffy. Which moved from The WB, to UPN, to comic book.

  31. A. Bishop says:

    What about Farscape? After the 4th season finale left the series in a cliffhanger, the series was cancelled (after it had already been renewed), fans went nuts. One of the best fan saves ever. Pressure from fans and fund raising (around 23 million) brought about Peacekeeper Wars 4 hr mini-series to bring closure.

  32. Grey says:

    Two shows that never got a fair shot to me were Magic City and Feed The Beast, both cancel way to early, not given time to find themselves as a show.