The fans of Veronica Mars took less than 24 hours to raise $2 million for a film continuation of the high school noir on Kickstarter.com. The film is targeting a summer 2014 release, and the campaign's success has stirred speculation that other dead TV shows might be revived in such a way.
Fred and Wilma are etched in stone in the pop culture psyche, though their show was unceremoniously pulled from the air in 1966 after six seasons. But the theatrical release of the spy spoof The Man Called Flintstone later that year reinvigorated the prehistoric brand’s popularity and helped pave the way for dozens of TV series, made-for-TV movies and feature films.
Perhaps no canceled show has had the legs of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. Its surviving actors continue to enjoy notoriety from their roles, and the series went on to spawn (so far) 12 feature films and five television series.
The iconic primetime soap ran for an impressive 14 seasons and 357 episodes (plus several made-for-TV movies and a reunion special). Twenty-one years after the show signed off, it was revived by TNT in 2012 for a series featuring original stars Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and Larry Hagman alongside a new castmembers Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe. Hagman (J.R. Ewing) died in November 2012, and his character will be given a sendoff during the show's second season.
Though it lasted just six episodes on ABC, Police Squad! spawned Leslie Nielsen’s successful (and hilarious) The Naked Gun trilogy. Like the later films, Nielsen starred as Det. Frank Drebin in a performance that earned him an Emmy nomination.
An enduring part of pop culture in Britain and beyond, Doctor Who ran for 26 seasons from 1963-89. After cancellation, it was kept alive in book and made-for-TV movie form. It finally returned as a full-fledged series in 2005 under the auspices of Russell T Davies. To date, 11 actors have played the Doctor, the time traveling alien at the center of the show’s action.
'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'
Sarah Michelle Gellar's Buffy Summers is so resilient that the character managed to be resurrected from the dead multiple times during her seven seasons on TV. So its fitting that after the successful show from Joss Whedon ended, its story was continued in the form of an official comic book, Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Eight.
TV viewers almost got just one season to ogle the babes and hunks of Baywatch. With the show canceled after its first 13 episodes, star David Hasselhoff managed to revive it for syndication, during which it helped introduce the world to the likes of Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra. The Baywatch team called it quits for good in 2001 after 11 seasons.
It wasn’t quite time for this drama to move to the afterlife. Though CW execs had announced 7th Heaven would end with its season 10 finale in 2006, the episode received such high ratings (pulling 7 million viewers) that it was renewed for another season. But ratings for season 11 tanked, and the Camden family’s story ended for good in May 2007.
Joss Whedon’s much-loved but low-rated space western aired just 14 episodes but attracted a devoted legion of Browncoats, whose enthusiasm (and willingness to buy DVDs) helped the film Serenity get made. Serenity was well-received by critics and fans alike, but earned just shy of its reported $39 million budget, dashing hopes for a sequel.
Rich in critical acclaim but poor in viewership, Fox killed Arrested Development after an abbreviated third season. But the show developed a devoted fan base on DVD. Talk of a movie starring the Bluths was bandied about for years, until it was announced the show would indeed return for a fourth season in 2013, this time on Netflix.
The Griffin family had a crisis on its hands when their show was put on ice after season three. But strong DVD sales as well as the following it cultivated thanks to Adult Swim reruns led Fox to rethink the decision and bring the show back in 2004.
'Sex and the City'
The big personalities of the HBO series couldn’t be confined to the small screen. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and her friends continued their Manhattan adventures in two commercially successful films – released in 2008 and 2010. In 2013, the CW launched The Carrie Diaries, which explores Carrie’s 1980s-set high school years.
Not so fast -- The Killing wasn’t killed off after all, even though AMC declined to renew the series for a third season in 2012. A deal was hammered out in which AMC would share the cost of production of Netflix. AMC will air episodes first, with Netflix allowed to stream them afterward.
CBS was willing to let Jericho go after a low-rated first season. But a fan outcry saw the network inundated with mail, phone calls and packages of nuts, all urging it to keep the post-apocalyptic show. (The nuts were a reference to the season finale, in which a character yells “nuts!” in response for a call for the town of Jericho to surrender.) That passion convinced CBS to give the show a second chance and to order seven new episodes of the series. The reprieve was short-lived, and it was soon canceled again for good.
Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) and the boys left HBO’s airwave in 2011 after eight seasons. The finale saw big changes for the characters, including marriage, retirement and multimillion-dollar deals (and not for whom you’d expect). The show’s creators teased its big-screen potential even before it was off the air, and a film version officially received the greenlight in January 2013.
"We had very strong female characters, but we want the guys to get back to just being guys,” executive producer Mark Wahlbergsaid of the project. “Everyone wants to see them get nuts again."
'Bored to Death'
Starring Jason Schwartzman as a writer who fancies himself a private detective, the HBO series was canceled in 2012 after three seasons (and an intimate family reunion in the finale that left some fans creeped out). In January 2013, the premium network announced series creator Jonathan Ames was scripting a feature continuation of the show, which would also feature series stars Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis.