In an age of reboot mania, we choose our favorites that were either gone too soon, or simply deserve a second chance
Credit: Randy Tepper/Showtime; Doug Hyun/HBO; Greg Gorman/Fox

Fuller House. X-Files. Twin Peaks.Star Trek. Gilmore Girls. MacGyver. Prison Break…the list of old TV shows suddenly getting the reboot or revival treatment goes on and on. And on. (Wait, what’s that? The Worst Witch was just added to the list? Okay, then!) We asked EW staff members what other TV shows they missed the most, or ones they thought truly deserved a comeback. Are you paying attention, heads of programming?

Rome (HBO, 2005–2007)

Why should it come back? Rome is one of the few shows in TV history where a network actually admitted that canceling it was a mistake. Production was so elaborate and costly that HBO had to decide whether to order a third season before season 2 had debuted. By the time they realized their mistake and the show was turning into a success the stars were booked on other shows. It was basically a Game of Thrones-style show before Game of Thrones. —James Hibberd, Editor-at-Large

Ally McBeal (Fox, 1997–2002)

In this reboot, Callie McBeal gets a new job at a quirky law firm in Boston, only to discover her ex-girlfriend is an associate there — and is dating one of the male partners. How many times will Callie have to swipe right to find her true love? Added bonus: We get to find out what the Dancing Baby looks like now that he’s a teenager. —Henry Goldblatt, Editor

Felicity (The WB, 1998–2002)

The coming-of-age show became a cult favorite early in its four-season run, but die-hard and casual fans alike can agree that the show went downhill fast in its final episodes when show runner J.J. Abrams began working on his pet project Alias. So, on behalf of everyone who still feels disappointed by that weird time-travel finale — yes, even 15 years later — can we get a reboot that sees the characters earn a picture-perfect ending? (One that would partner Felicity with Noel, obviously. #TeamNoel4Eva.) —Nina Terrero, Correspondent

The West Wing (NBC, 1999–2006)

It ran its course during 7 seasons, but Jed Bartlet’s enlightened liberalism literally carried me through the Bush presidency. With the looming prospect of a President Trump or President Cruz, I might need another term of Aaron Sorkin’s idealism. President Sam Seaborn? Chief of Staff Josh Lyman? Sounds like “the real thing.” —Jeff Labrecque, Senior Writer

Enlightened (HBO, 2011–2013)

Enlightened represents the best aspects of HBO comedies: sharp wit, biting satire, and a huge heart. For two seasons, viewers followed the often unstable, always gung-ho life and career of Amy Jellicoe, portrayed with impeccable fragile confidence by Laura Dern. Written by Mike White (School of Rock, Freaks and Geeks), who also stars as the terminally shy and sweet Tyler, the series grappled with how someone can change or become a good person, as Jellicoe attempts to reinvent herself after a spiritual awakening in rehab. The cast was a dream for comedy fans, featuring nuanced performances from normally bombastic performers like Molly Shannon, Jason Mantzoukas, and Riki Lindhome. With the incredible success of their newer female-led, dry, work comedy Veep and Lisa Kudrow’s marvelous series The Comeback, now is the perfect time for HBO to realize their error in canceling Enlightened and put Amy Jellicoe back to work. —Dylan Kickham, Intern

Deadwood (HBO, 2004–2006)

Deadwood is HBO’s most infamous creative blunder — the network had a falling-out with creator David Milch, which led to the show being canceled without its promised final story arc. Parties are currently at work on a movie revival to wrap up the show. What’s interesting is that no 21st century attempt at a Western, before or since Deadwood, has managed to capture the same level of fandom. —James Hibberd, Editor-at-Large

United States of Tara (Showtime, 2009–2011)

Before Girls, before You’re the Worst, before all the other current shows rightly heralded for tackling mental health, there was United States of Tara: a Showtime dramedy created by Juno writer Diablo Cody that follows a matriarch with dissociative identity disorder and how that affects her family. Starring a captivating (and Emmy-winning) Toni Collette as the title character, Tara is as deliciously complicated as it is darkly funny — which is, very. Its biggest flaw was that it wasn’t renewed for a fourth season, cutting off Tara’s consistently gripping journey right as she was having a sort of breakthrough. The show, which also starred Brie Larson and John Corbett with Rosemarie DeWitt and Patton Oswalt in supporting roles, had plenty more story to tell, and with honest, enlightening comedies highlighting depression and anxiety becoming more and more common, now is the perfect time to tell it. –Ariana Bacle, Writer-Reporter

Awake (NBC, 2012–2012)

This is the last show I remember wishing had more episodes so it could get even more twisty. Sure, the whole plot — about a man (Jason Isaacs) who spends time in two realities after a car accident and can’t tell which is which, the one in which his wife is alive or the one in which his son lives — was trippy, and its dual storylines made it sometimes frustratingly difficult to dive into, but it was never a snooze. Unique and mind-bending and worth the investment, ​Awake​ felt like the type of show that could have benefited from a binge-viewing format or from the support of a ballsy cable network — something the current TV landscape can achieve. And besides, showrunner Kyle Killen (Lone Star) could use a win. —Shirley Li, Editorial Assistant, TV

Ugly Betty (ABC, 2006–2010)

Before it was hip to be a hipster, Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera rocked colorful, thick-rimmed glasses and mismatched vintage garb as the titular character on ABC’s fish-out-of-water comedy. Ugly Betty was unabashedly optimistic in its emphasis on celebrating unconventional characters that existed outside the spectrum of network norms. The show featured a wealth of diversity among its cast, ranging from prominent gay characters like Mode assistant Marc St. James (Michael Urie) to Betty’s lovably dysfunctional Mexican-American family (Ana Ortiz, Tony Plana, Mark Indelicato), making it the perfect show to revive amid today’s push for greater inclusivity on TV and in movies. Ultimately there’s a cold, empty space in my TV schedule that this show used to occupy, one that only Ugly Betty and its various oversized “Guadalajara” ponchos could ever warm. —Joey Nolfi, Intern

Firefly (Fox, 2002–2003)

There is nothing I want more than for Firefly to come back. It had the potential to be Joss Whedon’s best show. He put the most of himself into it (the finale is his self-admitted most personal episode of TV ever), and it was the most polished, showing off what he had learned from his earlier shows. Buffy and Angel had rocky starts and iffy seasons, but from the get-go this show kind of had its dynamic down. Almost every character is fully fleshed out (and all of them get at least one showcase even in the measly 13 episodes we were lucky enough to get), and there are several juicy mysteries left unsolved (such as Reverend Book’s past, what happened to River, and why Inara has a secret syringe). It’s been years now and everyone’s a little older, but I would still love to pick up these characters years later, if possible. —Christian Holub, Writer-Reporter

Jericho (CBS, 2006–2008)

CBS’ post-nuclear small-town drama had a great hook and passionate fans, yet never felt right on CBS, where the production’s budget and creative limitations of trying to tell an ambitious high-stakes story on broadcast really showed. A darker cable version could do better. —James Hibberd, Editor-at-Large

Southland (NBC, then TNT, 2009–2013)

Not only did Southland deserve to continue its run solely due to the quality of its storytelling, but you simply cannot end a series with one of its main characters bleeding out with no hint as to whether he’ll survive. WE NEED TO KNOW. —Samantha Highfill, Correspondent

The Office (NBC, 2005–2013)

Despite the completion of nine already blissful seasons, I could (and do) watch Dunder-Mifflin’s senseless high jinks on an endless loop. Many alums have spurred similarly adept sitcoms — Mindy Kaling spawned The Mindy Project, Ellie Kemper grabbed a starring role on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt — and Steve Carrell ascended to movie stardom. Reconciling the original cast would undoubtedly spark comedic genius. —Dana Getz, Intern

Pushing Daisies (ABC, 2007–2009)

So many Bryan Fuller shows to choose from, but my vote’s for Pushing Daisies. Ned the pie-maker — played by an endearing Lee Pace — has the ability to bring people back to life with one touch, but permanently dead with a second. When he resurrects his childhood crush Chuck (Anna Friel), he decides to keep her alive, and the two go gallivanting around town solving murders. Despite critical acclaim, the show was cut short after two seasons due to the writer’s strike. But the visual style was whimsical and vibrant, the writing smart and witty, the characters played to perfection by a stellar cast including Kristin Chenoweth, Chi McBride, Swoosie Kurtz, Ellen Greene, and narrator Jim Dale. There’s not enough of that quirky charm on TV right now, so let’s revive (ha) Pushing Daisies. —Danielle Zhu, Intern

Dexter (Showtime, 2006–2013)

Did the last season with Charlotte Rampling go totally off the rails? Sure. Was the series finale one of the worst in recent memory? It was! Would the show even make sense without Debra “F—ing” Morgan? Not bleeping likely! Still, I can’t help but wonder what Dexter is up to out there in Washington, or wherever he sailed off to to start anew as an anonymous lumberjack. Is he still killing bad people? Is it wrong that I hope so? Whatever it is, the good news is he’s still alive, so they can totally bring this back — and should, since his romantic love story with Hannah McKay (Yvonne Strahovski) was never fully realized. Let’s at least have a mini event series that reunites him with Hannah (and his poor abandoned son Harrison!) down in South America, and he can be a loving dad and husband during the day, and take down some evil human traffickers or corrupt politicians at night. Dexter needs his happy ending, and so do I. —Gillian Telling, Senior Editor, TV

The Secret Circle (The CW, 2011–2012)

The Secret Circle was taken from The CW’s lineup before the show was able to work it’s magic with a large audience. But now that many of the stars — Britt Robertson, Phoebe Tonkin, and Shelley Hennig, and Chris Zylka — are household names, it’s definitely time for a take two. —Dalene Rovenstine, TV Recap Editor

Enlisted (Fox, 2014–2014)

I’d love to see Enlisted back in action. It may have taken creator Kevin Biegel a few episodes to figure out how to make Pete (a winning Geoff Stults) and his brothers (the equally winning Chris Lowell and Parker Young) fit the show’s sitcom ways while balancing with some dark material (think the episode tackling Pete’s PTSD), but when he did, the show landed right on target. (Remember Young’s Randy reciting the entire plot of Toy Story 3?) Sure, Yahoo came ​this close to reviving the series, but really, this one just needed some more time on the air to get in line. —Shirley Li​, Editorial Assistant, TV

Alias (ABC, 2001–2006)

A new version of Alias could kick so much ass. Not only is TV pushing the visibility and development of female characters with Supergirl and Marvel’s Jessica Jones, but it also feels like it’s been a while since we’ve had a mythology-heavy show that’s not mired in sci-fi or superhero-dom. —Shirley Li, Editorial Assistant, TV

Clone High (MTV, 2002–2003)

Clone High! This one-season MTV cartoon featured a high school full of historical figures, with each of them living up to/breaking away from their precedent (main characters being skinny nerd Abe Lincoln, party boy Gandhi, and emo Joan of Arc). It was pretty hilarious but unfortunately got canceled following controversy over the portrayal of Gandhi. It was the first showcase for Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who are much more famous now after Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street, Last Man on Earth, and more, and I would love to see more of it. –Christian Holub, Writer-Reporter

Desperate Housewives (ABC, 2007–2012)

It’s been 4 years since it went off the air and a real batch of Housewives on the East and West Coasts have stolen the spotlight. It’s time to take back the cul-de-sac! —Tim Stack, Senior Writer

And finally, the one we can all agree on:

Happy Endings (ABC, 2011–2013)

No other show could bounce so artfully from one madcap adventure to the next without betraying its characters. (The trick? They were all already crazy from the start.) From the cast to the catchphrases, Happy Endings was an optimistic red velvet walrus in TV form. It just wasn’t at a point in its life where it could be taken seriously. —Kelly Connolly, Assistant Editor, EW Community

Desperate Housewives (TV Show)
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