Cancelled (Brought Back) Television Shows – WIF Redemptive TV

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TV Shows That Returned

From Cancellation Hell

It’s a word every creator, producer, and star of a TV show dreads — the “C” word, as in cancelled. More often than not, that stamp of disapproval from executives sitting in high-rise office buildings in New York or Los Angeles seals a series’ fate. In some cases, these shows go down with a fervent fight from loyal fans. But the majority of the TV shows sent to the graveyard are just plain clunkers that did not resonate with viewers.

Although mighty executives’ cancellation stamps are weighty weapons, there are times a TV series escapes influential decision-makers’ death grips. In microscopically small instances, there have been rare revivals of a show, usually to a different network or program service. At times, the resuscitated TV series has a long after-life; other times, it goes flat for a second, and final time. Below are 10 examples of notable series that beat the odds and gave audiences more after the “C” word first surfaced.

10. Punky Brewster (1984-1986, 1987-1988)

She was a pint-sized, lovable, and spunky girl who was known for her bold wardrobe and earth-shattering ability to melt the heart of her cantankerous guardian. Actress Soleil Moon Frye stepped into Punky Brewster’s mismatched high-topped tennis shoes and garnered an avid young audience when NBC first put the show on the air.

Unfortunately, the audience just was not large enough for NBC’s ratings standards, and after two seasons, the show was axed. But a widespread movement in the mid-1980s, known as first-run syndication, breathed new life into Punky Brewster for one more season. The format in the revival was similar to the original NBC run, though some of the storylines revealed a more mature tone.

In the end, the revival in syndication matched the NBC run, bringing Punky Brewster to the illustrious mantle of 88 episodes, spanning four seasons. The perfect combination meant the lovable character has lived on over the years through reruns on various broadcast, cable and online outlets.

9. Mama’s Family (1983-1984, 1986-1990)

The southern-fried humor displayed on Mama’s Family was fairly straightforward, but the history behind the series’ origins and various attempts at getting on the air is more storied. Actress Vicki Lawrence, who first gained fame on The Carol Burnett Show, stepped into the elderly Mama’s signature sagging support hose through a series of sketches known as, “The Family.”

Several years after Burnett’s hit variety show went off the air, producer Joe Hamilton (Burnett’s then-husband) shopped around the idea of a spin-off of “The Family” sketches. Hamilton sold the idea of bringing the stand-alone sitcom, by then known as Mama’s Family, to NBC chairman Grant Tinker over a game of golf in the early 1980s.

Mama and her brood — which, in the early episodes, featured occasional appearances by Burnett and established actresses Betty White and Rue McClanahan — only had a brief stay on NBC. The series was booted off the airwaves after a season-and-a-half of middling ratings. But Lawrence got back into her support hose after a two-year hiatus. Mama’s Family was more successful in syndication than it was in its original NBC run. The series ran through early 1990.

8. JAG (1995-1996, 1997-2005)

This Naval-themed series, headlined by actor David James Elliott, was pitched as a hybrid of the plots in Top Gun and A Few Good Men. With two blockbuster films as its inspiration, JAG seemed poised for success. But NBC, the network that ordered a pilot to series, dumped it in a sleepy timeslot, and the drama ranked No. 79 in the ratings at the end of its inaugural season.

With such low ratings, JAG and the ship the series rode in on seemed sunk. But CBS, seeing potential in the series, swept to the rescue and brought the series back midway through the 1996-1997 season. Ratings gradually rose, and over the years the drama found its way into the top 20 on a few occasions throughout its long-lived run.

JAG’s lineage also is traced to another exceptionally long-lived CBS drama,NCIS, as the latter was a spin-off of the mother ship (no pun intended).

7. Charles in Charge (1984-1985, 1987-1990)

Scott Baio’s first attempt at a starring role in a series (Joanie Loves Chachi) fell flat, but the Happy Days alum struck gold the second time around — albeit with a few twists and turns along the way — as he played a male housekeeper.

Charles in Charge aired for one season on CBS to low ratings. But the sitcom’s production company, Scholastic, shopped it around and struck a deal to air new episodes through first-run syndication after a year-and-a-half respite.

There were significant cast changes between the two versions of the sitcom. While Charles and his sidekick best friend, the aptly named Buddy (Willie Aames) appeared throughout the sitcom’s run, Charles cared for the Pembroke family during the CBS run, but a plot twist resulted in the titular character tending to the Powell brood throughout the rest of the series’ run in syndication.

6. Leave it to Beaver (1957-1958, 1958-1963)

Unlike most series receiving the “C” word, the well-worn, black-and-white sitcom Leave it to Beaver continued to run without so much as a hiccup when CBS announced it was axing the show after one season. ABC almost immediately swooped in and revived the defining period piece, known for wholesome moral lessons and Barbara Billingsley’s amazing ability to vacuum in high heels and pearls.

In a quirky case of déjà vu, a mid-1980s reboot of the sitcom had a very similar scenario. The Disney channel ran an update of the sitcom (with many of the same actors reprising their roles). Still the Beaver, however, met an early demise on the kiddie cable channel, and it was revived on a different cable outlet: Ted Turner’s then-Atlanta superstation, WTBS.

5. Community (2009-2014, 2015)

The fear of cancellation was an almost annual occurrence on Community, a critically acclaimed, low-rated cult-classic sitcom that centered around a group of adults from disparate backgrounds who attended the fictitious Greendale Community College. Throughout its five-year run on NBC,Community received plenty of buzz for the on-screen and off-screen antics that took place.

But after years of back-and-forth rumors about the show’s fate, NBC finally pulled the trigger at the conclusion of the 2013-2014 season, handing creator Dan Harmon a pink slip.

After a few months of dormancy, executives at the Internet pioneering company Yahoo! announced they were bringing the series back for another season through the company’s Yahoo! Screen service, which at the time had just begun dabbling in original productions. The cost of acquiring the rights to stream new episodes of Community proved cost-prohibitive, however, and the series bowed out after one additional season online.

4. Baywatch (1989-1990, 1991-2001)

Once considered America’s most most exported entertainment program,Baywatch was known for plotlines that were nearly as skimpy as the bathing suits the beach babes wore throughout the series’ decade-plus run. NBC introduced the David Hasselhoff-headlined series, but threw it back into the ocean after one season.

Through the wonders of first-run syndication, the producers of Baywatchstruck a deal to revive the series after a one-year hiatus, selling new episodes to TV stations across the U.S. As time went on, the show became a cash cow because the rights were sold to TV networks on other countries spanning the globe.

3. Cagney and Lacey (1982, 1982-1983, 1983-1988)

Of all the series receiving second chances, the police procedural Cagney and Lacey is notable for a number of reasons, chief among them being the fact it was not cancelled once, but twice by the same network. Early in its run, the drama, about two female detectives, suffered a number of cast changes. In the pilot episode, actress Loretta Swit played Det. Christine Cagney, but when the drama was ordered to series, actress Meg Foster stepped into the role. Actress Tyne Daly played detective Mary Beth Lacey throughout the run.

After a low-rated tryout season of six episodes, CBS cancelled the series at the close of the 1981-1982 season. Vocal outcries about what was believed to be a trailblazing series, however, prompted CBS executives to reverse their decision, so long as Foster was replaced with actress Sharon Gless.

Cagney and Lacey soldiered on for its second season, but executives remained weary of the anemic ratings. The drama was canceled again at the close of the 1982-1983 season, but advocates for quality television mounted a stunning campaign. The publicity, coupled with notably high ratings during summer reruns, prompted executives to again change their mind. From there, the show enjoyed a long, healthy and far more stable run.

2. Family Guy (1999-2002, 2005-Present)

Premiering in a coveted spot (immediately after the Super Bowl), the odds initially looked good for Family Guy, the Fox network’s first major foray into launching an animated primetime series since The Simpsons hit the airwaves a decade earlier. But after four seasons of basement-dwelling ratings, network executives pulled the plug on the antics of the Griffin family.

After several years of dormancy, two eyebrow raising factors impressed Fox executives and prompted a revival in 2005. For one, the Cartoon Network had been airing reruns of the series on its Adult Swim block of programming, and it received high ratings. Another factor that led to the about-faced decision were the voluminous profits from DVD sales, suggesting strong interest in the series. Since its revival, Family Guy has been a venerable staple on Fox’s Sunday night lineup.

1. Arrested Development (2003-2006, 2013-Present)

Praised by critics and viewers for razor-sharp, satirical dialogue, Arrested Development garnered heavy publicity for its portrayal of the wealthy, deeply dysfunctional Bluth family. Unfortunately, all the media buzz surrounding the show did not translate into ratings magic. After three low-rated seasons, Fox gave the comedy the ax.

Any attempt at a revival appeared dead when creator Mitch Hurwitz indicated the show would not be transitioning to Showtime. Years later, however, Arrested Development did come back to life. In 2013, officials at streaming video service Netflix began dipping their toes into the pool of original programming. They commissioned a fourth season of the show that essentially picked up seven years after the show went off the air, and another season is currently in the works.

TV Shows That Returned

From Cancellation Hell

Looney Tunes

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Top 10 Greatest Musical Moments

From Cartoons


Cartoons are an under-appreciated art form that most dismiss as either childish or immature. To those people, you’re stone-cold wrong; take their musical numbers, for example. Many times, a silly cartoon will feature complex tunes, performed by a full orchestra, that would rival some of the best “legit” pieces of music out there.

Here are ten musical moments from cartoons so awesome, we could legally sell this article as audible chocolate.

10. Tom And Jerry: The Cat Concerto


Tom and Jerry are arguably the most famous cat and mouse team on the face of the planet, and their antics have been entertaining people for decades. The Cat Concerto features Tom (the cat, if you didn’t already know) playing the piano at a very formal recital. Jerry being a mouse, a creature that famously hates classical music, tries to ruin his fun. All of which is set to, and kept perfectly in time with, Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2. Playing that song on a piano already takes years of practice; now imagine the amount of time it took to animate a cartoon cat and mouse playing it, in the ’40′s!

The episode, while only 7 minutes long, showcases more musical talent and finger dexterity than every guitar hero video on YouTube combined. Not to mention it also won the duo their fourth Academy Award for Best Animated Short.

9. The Simpsons: Baby On Board


Throughout their several-decade run, The Simpsons have had a number of great musical moments. Arguably the most famous is Homer’s Barbershop Quartet, which is a thinly veiled parody of the Beatles career.

The episode featured a central song, “Baby on Board.” Although the song itself wasn’t considered to be one of the finest featured on The Simpsons, the episode as a whole got more positive reviews than a French brothel that takes coupons. And when you’ve got 500 episodes under your belt, that’s pretty darn good.

8. South Park: Chocolate Salty Balls


To an outsider, South Park is nothing more than crude jokes and even cruder animation. Which is kind of unfair, since the show is probably one of the best produced animations out there, with a turnaround quicker than virtually anything else on air. No really, Matt Stone and Trey Parker are reportedly able to churn out an episode in around 4 days, and their musical numbers are recorded in roughly the same way.

The crown jewel in the South Park musical catalog has to be “Chocolate Salty Balls” by Chef (Isaac Hayes,) if only because they released the song as a full-length single that tells you how to actually make them. So if you have an hour free, you should probably, you know, go make some salty chocolate balls. Grandma will love them.

7. Animaniacs: Yakko’s World


Music was one of the defining elements of Animaniacs, which was partly on the repeated insistence of director Steven Spielberg, who felt that music gave the show an edge. The end result was that each episode had music performed by a full 30-piece orchestra, because if you’re going to do something, do it right.

The show actually won an Emmy for its theme song, which was still nowhere near as good as “Yakko’s World,” which was unbelievably recorded in one take, in real time. Where’s Yakko’s award, America?

6. SpongeBob Squarepants: Goofy Goober Rock


Spongebob is an odd show; although the animation and content is clearly aimed at small children, it’s gained a significant following with older people, because, well, it’s all kinds of awesome.

The show’s music is also singled out several times in its frankly insultingly-long list of awards. But, of everything the show has ever done, nothing comes close to “Goofy Goober Rock,” which features a guitar solo so intense, and demanding on the fingers of the person playing it, women hearing it close their legs out of pure instinct.

5. Family Guy: I Need A Jew


You can insult a lot about Family Guy: its writing, its lazy jokes, or the fact that it takes cheap shots at people who don’t deserve it. But one thing you can’t insult is the shows musical numbers. Although the writers seem happy to make cheap jabs for laughs, the musical team work their damn asses off, with all the music you see on the show being created by a full orchestra. Seth MacFarlane himself is credited as being a musical genius, with a voice made of silken honey. It’s kind of a shame then, that he got his award for singing a song about Jews, in the voice of a retarded guy, instead of his natural singing voice.

4. Samurai Jack: Jack And The Rave


Samurai Jack is a show that follows the journey of a nameless samurai (Jack is a nickname.) The show received multiple awards for its simple, yet bold, outline-less art style.

Now, music played a large role in tension building and scene setting for  the show. But in no episode was music more focused upon than, Jack and the Rave. In it, the titular samurai tries to free a group of children from the evil clutches of a sinister DJ who plays evil rave music. The accompanying soundtrack is from the same series that did an almost completely silent black and white fight, between a samurai and a ninja. When you have a show that can contain those two things, you win at cartoons forever.

3. Metalocalypse: Dethklok’s Entire Catalog


This is a show that focuses on the adventures of the most metal (and entirely fictional) band in the world, Dethklok. Since the show’s inception, the band has released three full-length, critically acclaimed albums, and have gotten real world endorsements from actual companies. Most flesh-and-blood bands would kill for that chance, and a bunch of cartoon characters have pulled it off. What’s their excuse?

But here’s the thing; the music on the show isn’t just metal as Hell, it’s almost entirely technically accurate. Every note, every solo, and every drum beat is synced up perfectly because, why wouldn’t it be? Considering that every song contains at least one face-melting solo, that’s pretty damn impressive.

2. Scooby-Doo: The Theme Song


Scooby-Doo has been around for decades, and has made an impact on pop culture so big that the pup has his own gravitational pull. The show has been remade several times, though one thing has remained fairly constant: its theme song, which has been covered by more bands than the National Anthem. For some reason though, the show has yet to an award for its music, which is a damn shame, considering just how damn catchy that theme is. You’ll always be a winner to us, Scoob. Always.

1. Looney Tunes: What’s Opera Doc?


What’s Opera Doc is, quite simply, the finest piece of animation ever committed to film. That’s not mere hyperbole, for once; the short is consistently nominated as the greatest cartoon ever by industry experts, and it’s really not hard to see why.

Opera, although held in high regard by people who wear a tuxedo for breakfast and eat fancy mustard with their toast, is not a love shared by everyone. We don’t all enjoy watching overweight people sing for three hours, but everyone loves seeing a rabbit do it for six minutes. Everyone.

Looney Tunes