'Community,' 'Arrested Development' & Other Major TV Comebacks
By Denny Directo
It's no surprise that the way we consume television is evolving. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, and iTunes, among others, have completely revolutionized TV. These platforms are not only ushering a new generation of television-less TV watchers but they're also plotting aggressive slates of new shows and resurrecting network series from cancellation. The list of TV shows finding new life at new homes is growing faster than ever.
After five seasons on NBC, the peacock network decided to pull the plug on cult-favorite comedy Community. Low ratings ultimately lead to its demise despite a feverishly loyal fan base. Thankfully, Yahoo! Screen revived the canceled series for a sixth season, bringing 13 all-new episodes to computer screens everywhere this fall.
The teaser trailer is a nostalgic reminder of why the gang at Greendale Community College deserve #SixSeasonsAndaMovie and takes a snarky jab at those low ratings on that other network.
"Ratings? Where we're going, we don't need ratings!" the clip proudly exclaims.
But Community isn't the first show to be saved from cancellation oblivion by an online mega-portal. Arrested Development also failed to attract large audiences during it's three season run on FOX, despite critical praise and an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2004.
In the years following, the show generated a new legion of fans who only discovered the show after it was off the air. Seven years after it was canceled, Netflix picked up the series for a fourth season. The highly anticipated debut generated three times the usage of House Of Cards, making it Netflix's most watched original series, according to Procera Networks. There's already talks of a fifth season.
Following in the footsteps of Arrested is The Killing. After three seasons on AMC, Netflix brought the drama back to life for an abbreviated fourth and final season this month.
And there's plenty of other beloved shows that are finding their way back into people's homes, long after they've appeared on TV.
Last May, HBO officially announced that The Comeback would make a comeback of its own for a six-episode limited series this November. The 2005 series followed Lisa Kudrow as a washed up TV star trying desperately to revive her career while filming a reality show. The comedy, which only lasted one season on the cable channel, recently wrapped production in Los Angeles.
Likewise, FOX recently reset the ticking clock on its groundbreaking series 24 for a major tent pole TV event. 24: Live Another Day premiered in May and garnered a total of 15.6 million viewers out performing the original series debut. The show got an extra bump from DVR, encores and nonlinear plays and trailed only American Idol as the network's most-watched series this year.
Will NBC's upcoming reboot of their 2006 superhero series Heroes have similar success? Only time will tell when the 13 episode mini-series, Heroes Reborn, premieres next year. But one thing is clear, ratings can't be the tell-all sign of a show's success and certainly the shelf life of a TV series is getting longer and longer.