Why Networks Need to Take a Chill Pill With Revivals

Recently, television has been flooded with revivals of 1980s, '90s, and '00s relics, with Gilmore Girls, Will & Grace, Roseanne, and recently Murphy Brown all being dug up form the TV graveyard. All of these shows enjoyed lengthy runs, with the shortest of the above mentioned, Gilmore Girls, running for seven seasons. These revivals have been a mixed bag, both critically and commercially. Many enjoy considerable interest initially. But with so many shows being returning, a line has to be drawn. This needs to end. And here's why.

Soon, TV will be as crowded with revivals as the people in this crowd
The more shows that get revived, the less special revivals will be. The shock value will be gone. The excitement just won't be there. Early revivals were exciting because it wasn't something you saw every day. But at this point, just about every show seems to have been brought back from the dead. In a world in which revivals take up half of the TV schedule, nobody's going to tune in just because of nostalgia. Because at that point, everything will be nostalgic. This trend is just not one that can be sustained. Not without plenty of revival failures.

Short Longevity:
Will & Grace has fallen dramatically since its revival premiere (screenshot via Spotted Ratings)
While the show is still averaging well above any other NBC sitcom, Will & Grace has taken a mighty fall in the ratings since it returned to the airwaves. It took a one-point dip in week two and has continued to fall, with a few exceptions, since then. This may well be the truth for all revivals, or it could be a fluke that is contained to just Will & Grace. Still, the networks should think about how long their revivals will be hot commodities after they make anticipated returns. If they'll only be modest players in the long run, is it even worth the trouble of bringing them back?

Acclaim Isn't Guaranteed:
Fuller House received negative reviews from critics
This isn't necessarily a commercial aspect like other points here, but a messy, poorly executed revival just may ruin the public's thoughts not just of the revival, but of the show itself. While Twin Peaks and Will & Grace received acclaim and award nominations for their returns, plenty of others haven't been received so warmly. Despite moderately positive responses from fans, Fuller House received poor reviews from critics. I previously pointed out why the Gilmore Girls reboot didn't work for me, and though it received generally positive responses from critics, I plenty of others didn't care for it. Personally, it ruined my opinion of the original series. If that can happen for me with Gilmore Girls, it can happen to just about any show. Even the previously-mentioned Twin Peaks and Will & Grace received poor reactions from some fans. Though not everyone can be pleased, a poorly done revival can backfire significantly. Just like with any other show, these revivals aren't safe from being rejected majorly. It has to be said: nostalgia simply cannot carry a show. A show also needs a heart and soul.

Risk Factor:
Most revived shows last saw the light of day when these dudes were president
Most shows that are being revived in this recent wave have been off the air for a very long time. Murphy Brown and Roseanne have been off the air for twenty years. Will & Grace was gone for ten. Needless to say, the core audiences of these shows during their original runs aren't the target audience nowadays. If a new show just can't connect with younger viewers, a revival won't work. It's a huge risk to bring something back as old as some of these shows. Not only do they have to stay timely to woo new fans, but they have to stay true to what they once were to please their old fans. It's a tricky mixture that needs a lot of tweaking to make work. No matter how acclaimed they were in their day, no matter how iconic they are, and no matter how famous their stars are, these future revivals can and will fail.

The buck needs to stop here
I'm not saying that networks should stop reviving things entirely. I am, however, saying that the frequency at which it is occurring is alarming. ABC alone has two joining its schedule midseason 2018. NBC may very well have two next season. And Netflix already has a plethora of revivals. The networks do, however, have to get it out of their heads all of these revivals will be slam-dunks. That's not a healthy mentality or one that you should have for any show. Maybe, just maybe, the networks can exercise some restraint when it comes to revivals. Because the buck really has to stop somewhere. Otherwise, we'll soon be enjoying new seasons of I Love Lucy and Bewitched, because why not?

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