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ONLY THE GOOD DIE NEVER

Your favorite TV shows are never really dead

By Adam Epstein

Buddhist philosophy says that no one truly dies, that all death leads to rebirth—an endless cycle of life and death, living and dying, booting and rebooting. The Buddha must have been a Veronica Mars fan.

Veronica Mars, the mid-2000s teen mystery show starring Kristen Bell, is getting a revival series at Hulu, Variety reported yesterday (Aug. 22). Bell is set to reprise her role as the titular private investigator (presumably an older version of her—Bell is now 38), while series creator Rob Thomas will return as writer of the show.

In the original series, Veronica Mars is a student in the fictional town of Neptune, California who moonlights as a mystery-solver with the help of her father, a former sheriff. It ran for three seasons on UPN (later the CW) before being canceled in 2007. The show was revived as a feature film in 2014 after Bell and Thomas raised almost $6 million on Kickstarter. Now it will live on once again, this time as limited Hulu series.

By now you’re probably familiar with this process: TV show with a loyal following is canceled, fans are upset, cast and crew hint they’re interested in a revival, rumors swirl, maybe a TV movie, maybe a reboot, some time passes, rumors swirl again until, eventually, the revival is ordered.

If too much time has passed for a straight revival to work (that is, a continuation of the original story line with much or some of the original cast members reprising their roles), then a reboot is always an option. A reboot typically abandons continuity to start fresh with a new cast (examples: Netflix’s Lost in Space series, the return of MacGyver on CBS).

And then there is the exceedingly rare reboot-of-a-revival. For instance, ABC revived its sitcom Roseanne in 2017. After Roseanne Barr said some very racist things on Twitter, the network immediately canceled the revival but soon announced they would be rebooting the revival without Barr.

Sometimes TV shows are rebooted before they’re even declared dead. There isn’t even a word for that. What should we call it? A pre-boot? Let’s just call it “pulling a Teen Wolf,” which, by the way, was itself a reboot of a 1985 film.

In the last few years, dozens and dozens of TV shows—some quite popular, others more niche—have been revived or rebooted at major networks, with Netflix and its conveyor-belt mentality leading the way. These include, but are not limited to: Gilmore GirlsMurphy BrownWill and GraceQueer Eye for the Straight GuyTwilight Zone, Arrested DevelopmentTwin Peaks, Rugrats, The X-Files, 24, Deadwood, True Detective, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Animaniacs, The Magic School Bus, American Idol, The Hills (announced just this week!), and, for some reason, ALF.

If your favorite show isn’t listed above, fret not, for it’ll surely receive a reboot or revival of its own in due time. They all will. In television, death is just another path to life.