13 Sleeper Hit Canceled Shows That Deserve A Revival

Nearly every show cancellation is a bummer to someone. Maybe the show had started huge and lost viewers over time, maybe it was just starting to find its stride when it was cut, or maybe it just never found that stable fanbase it needed. The most devastating of all the reasons is when a show finds it's rabid fanbase years after it left the air and those new viewers are hungry for more.

We're in the midst of a reboot and revival era and there are most than a few shows that debuted at the wrong place and at the wrong time that deserve another shot on the air now that they've got the fans to back them up.

  • 1
    632 VOTES

    Airdate: 2002

    Seasons: 1

    Firefly is the poster child for “wrong time, wrong place” shows. A mixture of an odd airtime, episodes being released out of order (and a couple not at all on TV), and the good television viewers of 2002 maybe not being ready for a wester/space hybrid meant the show was dead nearly on arrival. It wasn't until the single-season was collected – in the proper order! – on DVD that it grew its now-massive cult following. Although the show did get a wrap-up film in Serenity, with just 14 episodes the series established a rich world that was clearly full of stories that should still be told.

    -Jacob Bryant

    632 votes
  • 2
    378 VOTES

    Airdate: 2007-2009

    Seasons: 2

    The best way to describe Pushing Daisies is Comfort Food: The Show. Lee Pace plays a pie chef who has the ability to touch dead people and bring them to life for a minute – a skill he uses with a private investigator and his (once dead) girlfriend to solve a variety of wacky, Dr. Seussian murders. Yes, the show is part criminal procedural but the cases are far from dark. In fact, the show is nearly saccharine-sweet enough to give you a cavity. That sweetness helped the show gain massive popularity via streamers that it didn't come close to having during its two seasons on the air. Pushing Daisies might be the perfect remedy to help fight the fires the 2020s have brought.

    -Jacob Bryant

    378 votes
  • 3
    283 VOTES
    Photo: CBS

    Airdate: 2006-2008

    Seasons: 2

    Jericho managed to come back from the dead once after fans of the puzzle-box, post-nuked USA were rabid for answers following a Season 1 cliffhanger, but the end of the truncated second season left just as much on the table. Jake Green (Skeet Ulrich), Robert Hawkins (Lennie James), and the rest of the citizens in the small town of Jericho, KS might have helped figure out the culprit of who nuked most of the major cities in the US by the end of Season 2 but it was clear there was a lot more story to tell. What was the deal with Jennings and Rall? How close were they to another Civil War? The show's creators into a third season via an IDW comic that got into how Jake and Hawkins allied with the new Independent Republic of Texas to stop the war between the new Cheyenne, WY-based Allied States of America, and the remnants of the constitutional United States government. The blueprints for more Jericho already exist, we just need a streamer to come in and make dreams come true.

    - Jacob Bryant

    283 votes
  • 4
    250 VOTES

    Airdate: 2015-2022

    Seasons: 6

    Yes, The Expanse ran for six seasons. Yes, the show was saved after a three-season run on Syfy for an additional three seasons on Amazon Prime. Yes, the show was able to end on its own terms with an abbreviated sixth season. Was that enough? No. As the series ran on, The Expanse earned more and more accolades as one of the best adaptations on television with some calling it the best sci-fi series since Battlestar Galactica and others explaining it to new viewers as “Game of Thrones in space.” Although the series came to an – albeit satisfying – conclusion on its own in 2022, the story was far from over with three more books left unadapted. While the Free Navy threat and the Earth/Mars/Belter conflict wraped up in Season 6, the final three novels focus heavily on the unanswered questions about the protomolecule and the Ring Gates. The show was saved once; it should be saved again to give the series – and its many fans –  the ending it deserves.

    -Jacob Bryant

    250 votes
  • 5
    253 VOTES

    Airdate: 2019

    Seasons: 1

    The Society was one of the many shows to fall victim to cancelation due to COVID. Originally the series had been popular enough to warrant a second season but when sets were forced to shut down for extended periods of time led to contract and availability headaches Netflix chose to rescind their renewal and cancel the series after only a single season. The show – which follows the kids from New Ham, Connecticut waking up to discover there are no adults in town and they can't cross the town border- left plenty of questions unanswered as the various factions began to descend more and more into a Lord of the Flies-esque existence. The series has joined a hallowed few Netflix shows that have fans pestering every social media post (related to The Society or not) to bring them back to New Ham, and I'm one of them.

    -Jacob Bryant

    253 votes
  • Airdate: 1999

    Seasons: 1

    It ran for only one season, but was created by a mastermind who changed the comedy film industry, starred a cast who are mostly A-listers today, and is probably more watched now than it ever was during its initial run 20 years ago. When it first ran on NBC, Freaks and Geeks was beloved by critics and the few audience members who happened to tune in, but for the most part, ran under the radar. Starring Seth Rogan, James Franco, Jason Segal, Martin Starr, Linda Cardellini, and John Francis Daley, the high school comedy set in 1980 gained a fan base long after it was banished from the primetime schedule. Since its final episode, which saw Lindsay ditch an academic summit to follow the Grateful Dead, there has been talk about resurrecting the series. Who knows. Maybe one day a 50something Lindsay will emerge from a van ready to continue her high school education?

    - Erin Maxwell

    221 votes