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Forgotten TV Series That Should Get A Reboot

Audiences live in a world where seemingly every fifth show on television is some version of a reboot. In recent years, everything from "Murphy Brown" to "Mad About You" has been resurrected from the dead like some sort of cathode ray zombie. But rather than popular shows getting reboots today, isn't it time to resurrect some forgotten gems deserving of a second chance?

Sure, fans occasionally clamor for a "Firefly" reboot — but that series already got its movie, and revisiting a Joss Whedon series would be ill-advised for too many reasons to count. Instead, networks (and streaming services) should focus on shows that are unknown to modern audiences, which makes them all the more compelling to reboot because there is a often kernel of a great idea in there that got the series to air — even if casting, script shortcomings or budget ultimately resulted in a project that failed to connect with a mass audience. Give these ideas better writers, solid actors and a modern, CG-friendly budget, and these reboots could just be the next big (old) thing.

"100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd"

"100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd" was a Nickelodeon show that told the story of the titular character, a schoolyard bully who — after messing with a mystical man called The Drifter — was turned into a dog as punishment. In order to become a human again, he needed to do 100 good deeds. Complicating matters was the concept that the only humans who could hear him talk were The Drifter and Justin (the last kid Eddie picked on before his transformation).

Given that most Nick shows lasted around three seasons, and most episodes had Eddie only completing one good deed per episode, the idea that this would last 100 episodes was quite optimistic. It was made more difficult by the fact that the Drifter would, on occasion, roll back Eddie's deed total if he felt Eddie was being lackadaisical. As such, the show was canceled with about 40 deeds left to perform.

So, in essence: Eddie's still a dog! 22 years later, it seems time to at least reboot it so fans can have some closure. But, you may say, nobody cares because nobody remembers the show — okay, set the ticker back to zero, re-cast the whole series again and let's see if Hollywood can take this winning concept and come up with 100 episodes worth watching this time.

"Gary & Mike"

"Gary & Mike" was an adult claymation show on UPN, a series of words that instantly dates it to the year 2001. It followed the adventures of two twenty-something Gen X friends: high strung, good hearted Gary, and chaotic, sex-addicted best friend Mike. The two drove across America, blazing their own trail and leaving destruction in their wake — all while being chased by Officer Dick, tracking down Mike after the ne'er-do-well slept with the cop's daughter.

The show combined a raunchy sensibility with sharp writing that was both ahead of its time and emblematic of its time. The series ended on a cliffhanger, almost literally: Gary and Mike drove their car off an incomplete highway, a la "Thelma & Louise," and the words "to be continued..." splashed across the screen. 

It was never continued.

This show deserves a reboot for two reasons. First, it had an adventure style unlike any other show on TV at the time — or since. Cartoons aimed at adult audiences are a much more popular genre now than they were at the turn of the century, and there currently aren't any claymation ones. Second, that cliffhanger ending never got a resolution.

"Tales of the Gold Monkey"

"Tales of the Gold Monkey" lasted for one season on ABC in the early '80s, and — though it has largely been forgotten today — was a huge influence on a lot of modern television. The show popped up in the aftermath of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," when everyone wanted to get in on that sweet modern serial action. 

"Gold Monkey" followed the adventures of Jake Cutter, an Army Air Corps turned air cargo delivery proprietor on a South Pacific island. The show boasted a series of characters based on stock adventure characters: Cutter's best friend was a drunk, his love interest was a spy disguised as a lounge singer, and his dog might have been the smartest creature on the island.

While the show was never a success, it picked up some influential fans. One such fan was animator Jymn Magon, who used "Tales" as an inspiration for Disney Channel original "TaleSpin." Another fan was Adam Reed, who built "Danger Island" — the ninth season of his show "Archer" — in part as a "Tales" pastiche.

Given that the show inspired those two hits, a new version of it might finally strike "Gold." Plus, after a year of isolation, viewers seem to be in the proper mindset to embrace globe-trotting adventure shows — there has to be a hunger out there, or else they wouldn't be making a fifth Indiana Jones movie. So much of TV right now is so serious. Why not some old fashioned escapist jungle adventures?

"Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous"

Many people are called "Original YouTubers," but few of them — especially the ones who only started uploading around 2013 — hold a candle to Bo Burnham. When YouTube hit it big in 2006, long before the platform became a brand unto itself, the original creators were either people uploading goofy things to share with friends or people looking to launch into television. Burnham started out as a teenager in 2006 uploading potato-quality videos of his original songs. But he soon took off and did indeed launch into television with 2013's "Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous."

The show followed the titular Zach Stone (played by Burnham), a teen who decided to forgo college and become a star ... despite lacking any meaningful talent. He has a camera crew follow him while he tries all sorts of odd jobs and strange stunts with the goal of becoming famous. It only lasted one season, and Burnham went on to objectively better things. But the core concept of the show, especially in the wake of Burnham's acclaimed special "Inside," might be worth a second look.

A reboot of this show wouldn't necessarily need to include Burnham, though his success both in Hollywood and as a director of comedy specials (not even mentioning "Inside") would be beneficial. But the barriers for stardom, which YouTube lowered in the mid aughts, have become even lower in a world where everyone has a high quality camera in their pocket. We live in a world where "selfie stations" now exist for Instagrammers and TikTokers. Combine that with "Inside" as a warning that such a life will not bring you happiness, and a new version of "Zach Stone" would fit right in with today's landscape.

"The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!"

"Swing your arms from side-to-side!

Come on, it's time to reboot The Mario!"

"The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!" is well known among certain Millenials and younger Gen Xers, but it's almost entirely unknown to everyone else. That's a shame, because this show was bonkers. 

Split into two segments, the first were live action segments (which saw Captain Lou Albano's Mario and Danny Wells' Luigi living a domestic life, albeit with some big name guest stars stopping by their flat) and the second were the cartoons, which gave us the Mario brothers having adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom.

This series needs to get rebooted for several reasons, and not just because it could probably get a bigger budget nowadays. First, video games are far more mainstream now than they were in the late '80s — everyone and their (often literal) mom has played some version of Mario. Secondly, the stunt casting behind another live action Mario offers endless hilarious possibilities. We already got a wrestling personality in Albano and an Academy Award nominee with Bob Hoskins in the cult classic "Super Mario Bros. Movie." Maybe now's the time for a second shot at Danny DeVito, who turned down the movie all those years ago? 

Finally, and most logically, the concept of a part live action/part animated show is pretty novel, and it's one that deserves another chance.

"Max Headroom"

Max Headroom has endured as a pop culture icon for decades past his heyday, but man, what a heyday. The character has appeared in ads, cameos, and broadcast hijackings for decades, but also featured heavily in two narrative works: the TV movie "Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future" and the spinoff TV series "Max Headroom." They took place in a near-future where the world was controlled by television networks, and one of the main voices against them was the titular wisecracking AI. It's frequently been called "ahead of its time." So why not bring it back now that it feels ... of this time?

The brilliant Matt Frewer is still with us — seen (or heard) most recently in projects ranging from "Altered Carbon" to "The Magicians" to "Perry Mason." If the role must be recast, so be it — or, how about stitching together a wholly-new Headroom using CG and existing tapes of Frewer doing Headroom from back in the day? 

Few shows are more ripe for a reboot than "Max Headroom." For one, that future where TV (or, more broadly, visual media) controls everything? We're living in a version of it now. Corporate consolidation means there's fewer media companies than ever, many of which only broadcast what suits their corporate agenda. There's also literally more room for Max Headroom to explore. He used to exist primarily in servers, in a way that only made sense when the internet was used by government nerds. Now that everyone uses the internet and has countless ways to watch video, there's an endless number of places Max could show up.

"Weinerville"

Yes, get your snickering out of the way now, "Weinerville" was indeed the name of a show — and a good one, at that. 

Hosted by Mark Weiner, a comedian and puppeteer, the show followed the town of Weinerville, which was made up almost entirely of puppets. It was a prime example of the absurdist mixed media madness that was early '90s Nickelodeon, and snippets continue to exist across the internet that demonstrate how fast paced and bizarre the show was. 

"Weinerville" lasted for 68 episodes over two years before getting canceled, and has since been largely forgotten. Marc Weiner, however, is still performing — he has a YouTube channel where he frequently uploads new skits, songs, and puppetry. He certainly has more freedom on YouTube, but he doesn't have the audience he deserves. A reboot of "Weinerville" (or whatever Weiner chooses to call it) would be a win-win: it would partially satiate the endless appetite for '90s nostalgia, and it could reinvigorate the audience that a true pioneer had ever so briefly all those years ago.

"Sliders"

"Sliders" lasted five seasons over two networks and, while it was never a mega hit, remains a cult favorite to this day. The show followed a group of people — the titular sliders — who moved between different dimensions and time periods via a wormhole. All they wanted to do was return to their home dimension, but the device they used to open the wormhole didn't let them choose that easily.

Cast member John Rhys-Davies made the same reboot suggestion in 2016, even though his character, Professor Arturo, was killed off after Rhys-Davies couldn't stand the scripts anymore. He told Digital Spy that the writers barely understood sci-fi, the network barely understood what made for a good show, and he could barely tolerate reading what he was handed to him anymore. 

That said, he praised the concept and said that it could easily be reworked for a modern audience: "You have to have writers who can write — and who understand that if you're writing science fiction, you should have read some science fiction and you should actually understand some science!"

"SCTV"

"Second City Television," almost universally known as "SCTV," was one of the most important and influential sketch comedy series of all time. So why wasn't it as long lasting as "Saturday Night Live," or as revered as "Chappelle's Show," or even as enduring as fellow Canadian export "Kids In The Hall?" 

That's partly because "SCTV" was always a bigger hit in Canada than in America, the audience was niche to begin with, and almost all the stars went on to great movie careers entirely independent of the show. Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Harold Ramis, Martin Short, and John Candy were the brightest stars, but they're all better known for their movie careers rather than their origins. 

Martin Scorsese has been working on a documentary about the show for years, a can that keeps getting kicked down the road for various reasons. "Kids In The Hall" have stuck around for years and are working on a streaming revival. "MadTV" got rebooted for a bit in the mid 2010s. So why not "SCTV?" Even if it's just the logo, shows like "I Think You Should Leave" demonstrate that there's a modern appetite for sketch comedy. Why not bring back some classic cast members for a short run, or kickstart a new generation of improv superstars?

"Better Off Ted"

Showrunner Victor Fresco is fortunate enough to have been in charge of several great shows, and unlucky enough that many of them have been canceled too soon. The most recent example is "Santa Clarita Diet," axed after getting 100% Rotten Tomatoes score on its third season. He also helmed "Andy Richter Controls The Universe," another show that never got the ratings or support it deserved. But maybe his most underrated show is finally ready for a reboot: "Better Off Ted."

The show followed Ted, the head of research at an amoral — if not outright evil — mega-corporation. The company, Veridian Dynamics, created all sorts of sci-fi horrors and tried to influence real world policy, all while its employees either tried to stop the worst effects of the company or at least benefited from them. All of this makes it a more ideal candidate for a modern reboot.

Many of the companies that seemed innocuous when "Better Off Ted" aired are now shown to be just as amoral as Veridian Dynamics: Many believe Facebook knowingly allows extremism to flourish on their platform, Google collects data at rates we can't even fathom, and even Roombas send the dimensions of your room back to its corporate overlords. A new "Better Off Ted" could lean into this existing absurdism or try and find ways to one up it.

Jay Harrington (Ted himself) is a little busy these days with "SWAT" and Portia de Rossi (Veronica) has her business ventures, but with the way TV works these days, it probably wouldn't be hard to get a limited series reboot. If nothing else, Fresco deserves a second chance at this underrated, innovative show.

"Tru Calling"

"Tru Calling" followed Tru Davies (Eliza Dushku, a patron saint of Shows Gone Too Soon), a young woman with a strange supernatural power. What was that power? Corpses awaken and tell her about their past 24 hours, and Tru has the ability to go back and stop their deaths. The show only lasted for two seasons before getting canceled. 

What replaced it? "The Simple Life." There are few things anyone can say about mid-aughts TV that's more bizarre than the reality.

But what an amazing concept! Part of the reason this deserves a reboot is that many potential storylines were already planned. Writer Doris Egan outlined many in several LiveJournal entries after the show went off the air, so there's a few easy scripts (and a built in fanbase eager to see them) right off the bat. 

There's also always an appetite for supernatural drama in a world where "Teen Wolf" got six seasons. Plus, there's about a zillion more channels now than there were when "Tru Calling" first aired — so, getting a reboot on a specialty channel would allow for a more niche audience, instead of being all about the ratings.

"Farscape"

"Farscape" followed astronaut John Crichton, thrown across the universe while on an experimental space mission. 

Finding himself on an alien vessel in the middle of an alien war, Chrichton was largely a vehicle to learn about the many species and characters of this new part of space — many of whom were put together with amazing prosthetics, makeup, and puppetry. The show was partly made by The Jim Henson Company, which should be a mark of its quality and warmth right out of the gate for newcomers.

"Farscape" was canceled on a cliffhanger, but got revived for a wrap-up miniseries. Unlike other entries on this list, there've been many attempts at web series or movies for years, all to no avail. That doesn't mean it's worth giving up on, for fans or anyone who holds the IP.

Several actors, like Anthony Simcoe (Dargo), have outright retired from acting, but that need not be a hindrance. A reboot wouldn't require the original characters — it's a big universe. If "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" can have multiple spinoffs with entirely new casts, it's entirely conceivable for "Farscape" to have its own Next Generation. Plus, who doesn't want a show with more Jim Henson Company puppetry?