How We’d Bring It Back: While we suspect a thirtysomething Angela Chase would be as fascinating as the teenager whose trials and tribulations captivated a cult audience in the mid-’90s, Claire Danes’ current successes on Homeland dictate a remake, rather than a continuation. Surely, though, The CW or MTV could find room on their schedules for an introspective, not-so-candy-coated look at teenage life (and the pursuit of a heartthrob named Jordan Catalano).
In Living Color
Originally Aired: 1990-1994
How We’d Bring It Back: Okay, so Fox recently put the kibosh on a planned revival of its seminal African-American-focused sketch comedy show, but why not take another swing this pilot season? It’s not like rival SNL is killing it in the diversity department, and with the success of So You Think You Can Dance, the network has an easily accessible pool of Fly Girls (and Boys).
Originally Aired: 1996
How We’d Bring It Back: To paraphrase Beyoncé, viewers weren’t quite “ready for this jelly” when Fox initially aired the critically acclaimed drama about a neglected kid who grew up into a nefarious corporate power player, couldn’t quite leave behind his cardboard box and would do anything to get ahead. The tech and surveillance aspects of the original show look a little goofy by 2013 standards, but you know what has aged so well it could fit seamlessly into a reboot? Series star Adrian Pasdar as an anti-hero that today’s damaged men-obsessed TV world would love.
Originally Aired: 1994-1998
How We’d Bring It Back: When series star Ellen DeGeneres and her alter-ego — book shop proprietor Ellen Morgan — came out as lesbian, the resultant avalanche of press pretty much buried ABC’s witty ensemble comedy (which also starred a pre-Entourage Jeremy Piven and the saucy Joely Fisher). Wouldn’t it be a hoot, though, to revisit the show’s kooky characters 15 years later? Heck, maybe ABC could launch this sequel series via a crossover episode with the L.A.-set Modern Family?
Originally Aired: 1985-1989
How We’d Bring It Back: Edward Woodward’s ex-CIA operative-turned-vigilante to the helpless was pretty badass for his era. But move his cryptic newspaper ad (“Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer. 212-555-4200”) to 2013 and ramp up the violence, and you’ve got a worthy modern rival to Justified, Person of Interest and Dexter.
The Cosby Show
Originally Aired: 1984-1992
How We’d Bring It Back: Very few family comedies have had the cultural impact — or massive audience — of Bill Cosby’s NBC blockbuster. If the Peacock Net wants its own answer to multi-generational smash Modern Family, and a building block for its fine-but-ratings-challenged Thursday-night comedy lineup, why not launch a series around the Huxtable clan in 2013? Hey, if viewers were nostalgic for J.R. Ewing & Co., odds seem almost certain they’d be willing to spend 30 minutes a week with Cliff and Clair (Phylicia Rashad) and their now-grown-up brood.
Kindred: The Embraced
Originally Aired: 1996
How We’d Bring It Back: The short-lived-but-sexy drama about San Francisco’s warring families of vampires — a sort of Vampire Diaries–Godfather hybrid — seems like it deserves another chance to see the light of day (so to speak) in the post-Twilight, post-True Blood, post-Vampire Diaries era. Would it be too bold to nominate Jay Hernandez for the role of Julian Luna (originally played by the late Mark Frankel)?
The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd
Originally Aired: 1987-1991
How We’d Bring It Back: This meditative series starred Blair Brown as a divorced New Yorker juggling life and work (and basic survival) in Manhattan. And while it never quite achieved breakout success during its two-season run on NBC, (plus an additional two seasons on Lifetime) its understated humor and romantic center might have better luck with a modern audience. Why not take those old scripts, polish ’em up with some 2013 details, add a new leading lady (how about Linda Cardellini?) and watch what happens?
Originally Aired: 1982-1987
How We’d Bring It Back: The romcom-procedural hybrid that helped pave the way for everything from Moonlighting to Bones to Castle starred Stephanie Zimbalist as private eye Laura Holt and Pierce Brosnan as the mysterious man who finessed his way into her life while providing a male face to front her agency. If a new incarnation can give us chemistry half as winning as the Zimbalist-Brosnan pairing — and glamorously solve crimes in the process — then surely there’s room for it on network television, yes?
Originally Aired: 1972-1978
How We’d Bring It Back: The legendary Bea Arthur took home the Emmy in 1977 for playing the show’s titular liberal feminist and finding hilarity in the hot-button issues of the day. In many ways, the country remains as divided as ever on social and political issues; perhaps it’s time for some daring programmer to bring us Maude 2.0. She’d be a character who might not be able to end the culture but who might get both sides to occasionally laugh about ’em. Land someone like Jamie Lee Curtis, Allison Janney, Vanessa Williams or Felicity Huffman for the lead, and the series would be
Originally Aired: 1966-1969 (original series); Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994); Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999); Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001); Star Trek: Enterprise (2001-2005)
How We’d Bring It Back: Has it really been eight years since any kind of Star Trek spinoff graced our TV screens? As SyFy proved with its awesome BSG update — and J.J. Abrams reiterated with his big-screen Star Trek success in 2009 — nostalgia is a potent marketing tool for sci-fi fans, as long as the new vision is creative, not derivative (hello, Bionic Woman). Would you really bet against a new (and maybe edgier?) Star Trek pilot?
Aliens in America
Originally Aired: 2007-2008
How We’d Bring It Back: The CW’s acclaimed but low-rated look at a square Midwestern family who open their home to a Muslim foreign exchange student from Pakistan brought us Cougar Town‘s Dan Byrd and the equally great Adhir Kalyan as geeks from opposite sides of the globe banding together in an effort to survive the horrors of high school. With a five-year time-out in the naughty corner, maybe our nation’s couch potatoes will do the right thing if Aliens gets a chance at a remake (so long as the Emmy-worthy Amy Pietz remains in the role of the family matriarch).
Murder, She Wrote
Originally Aired: 1984-1996
How We’d Bring It Back: If 87-year-old Angela Lansbury is game for helping us get back to kicking off our Sunday nights as crime-solving author Jessica Fletcher, then by all means, CBS, make it happen! If she’s not, there must be dozens of AARP card-carrying actresses whom audiences would willingly embrace in a similar type of role. Either way, it’s time the big four threw a bone to the Masterpiece: Mystery! crowd, not to mention multi-generational households looking for something to watch as a unit.
Originally Aired: 2000-2008
How We’d Bring It Back: We can’t be the only ones clamoring to see the further adventures of the titular quartet of Joan, Toni, Maya and Lynn, can we? And seeing how the Big Five aren’t exactly scoring high marks in telling stories about stylish, funny, professional African-American women, greenlighting a continuation of the UPN/CW sitcom would give them a shortcut to beating their competition in that department.
Now and Again
Originally Aired: 1999-2000
How We’d Bring It Back: The audience never matched the acclaim for Glenn Gordon Caron’s ambitious tale of a husband/father killed in a subway accident whose brain is salvaged and placed in the body of a lab-created superagent (Eric Close). Perhaps, though, like its protagonist, the concept deserves a second shot at survival — maybe as an ambitious limited-run cable program or a network attempt to capture the kinds of eyeballs that are searching their channel guides looking for the next Fringe or X-Files or Life on Mars.
Freaks and Geeks
Originally Aired: 1999-2000
How We’d Bring It Back: How this ’80s-set high-school comedy — which featured an incredible ensemble cast and writing that sparkled with heart and wit — failed to catch a foothold in its initial TV run is a mystery worthy of Jessica Fletcher’s attention. With the massive recent successes of creator Paul Feig (who went on to direct Bridesmaids) and executive producer Judd Apatow (director of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up), perhaps a second attempt at creating that throwback magic would get the attention it deserves.
Originally Aired: 1997-2002
How We’d Bring It Back: At its peak, David E. Kelly’s dramedy about a fanciful/lovelorn lawyer and her motley band of coworkers was something of a cultural phenomenon/lightning rod. And while it may have been a guilty pleasure, it’s a fast-talking, moony-eyed pleasure to which we’d happily return — especially if the bulk of the show’s ensemble cast could be lured back to the halls of Cage and Fish. We’d even welcome back the happy-hour stylings of Vonda Shepard (but maybe not that creepy dancing baby).
The Tracey Ullman Show
Originally Aired: 1987-1990
How We’d Bring It Back: Primetime network TV has ignored the variety-show genre for too long! Why not bring it back in vogue with one of the best in the business, the British-born chanteuse who created such memorable characters as teenager daughter of gay dads Francesca McDowell and burnt out DJ Summer Storm, and ended every episode by shouting to the audience to “Go home! Go home!”? (Bonus: Maybe Ms. Ullman can include some sort of weekly animated short in the mix and be responsible for launching the next Simpsons.)
Originally Aired: 1987-1991
How We’d Bring It Back: If critics and audiences fell in love with the show’s ensemble of middle-class Philly suburbanites during the late ’80s, is there any reason we wouldn’t want a second helping of their trials and tribulations in 2013? Okay, so producers Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick would have to change the title to sixtysomething, but if Michael and Hope and Elliot and Nancy and Ellyn and Melissa (and maybe Lee) are along for the ride, we’ll gladly follow wherever their AARP cards take ’em.
Originally Aired: 1999-2000
How We’d Bring It Back: Jay Mohr’s sleazy producer Peter Dragon and Ileana Douglas’ child-actress-turned-callgirl-turned-studio-exec helped make Fox’s Hollywood-set sitcom a bawdy, vitriolic, occasionally cringe-inducing delight. As with the previously mentioned Profit, we’re betting viewers would give a warmer reception to the show’s antiheroes today than they did almost 15 years ago. And while a total remake might be the likeliest way to proceed, we’d personally prefer if Mohr and Douglas (and perhaps tortured assistant Jack Plotnick) stayed on as the foundations of any 2013 remodel.
Originally Aired: 1995-1997
How We’d Bring It Back:The Killing revived interest in the one-case-per-season storytelling championed by this ABC cult fave from Steven Bochco (L.A. Law, NYPD Blue). And with the promise of maintaining a commitment of no more than 22 episodes for actors and writers, who knows what kind of high-profile talent a network might be able to drum up if it revisited this premise in 2013?
Originally Aired: 1990-1995
How We’d Bring It Back: The 2013 network schedule isn’t exactly packed with kid-friendly sitcoms, but a rebooted version of Mayim Bialik’s series about a teenage girl growing up with her dad and two brothers — and indispensible BFF Six LeMeure — might be just the ticket to relaunching a TGIF-style sitcom bloc the whole family could enjoy. Has anyone checked what Better Off Ted‘s Isabella Acres is up to this spring?
Originally Aired: 1990-1991
How We’d Bring It Back: “Diane, picture this: Some 20 years after we
left the denizens of the show’s titular Washington town, another
brutal murder is perpetrated. And guess who’s assigned to the case?
FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). And just like that, creepiness — and some damn fine pie — ensues.”
What TV series would you remake or revive if you ran a network? Sound off in the comments — we might just do a spinoff gallery with your best picks!