Jumping the Soapbox: Top Ten Revivals Netflix Hasn’t Made Yet

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Considering that Netflix has already brought back Wet Hot American Summer, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Arrested Development, Full House, and even Mystery Science Theater 3000, they’re quickly turning into the streaming service equivalent of Peter Pan; collecting lost television shows and movies we don’t want to leave to the sands of time and will gladly pay $9.99 a month to keep on life support.  Now I’ve enjoyed some of the stuff that they’ve Frankensteined back into existence (the new MST3K was actually the first time the series really started to click for me), but where the heck is MY nostalgic revival!?  Yes, I was a fan of Bill Nye too, but there are so many things that they could bring back that will cause me to reflexively empty my wallet and try to shove it into my computer monitor that they haven’t even considered yet!  In fact, let’s just go ahead and name ten of them!  Now the ordering of this list is SOMEWHAT arbitrary as there are LOTS of factors to think about when trying to put these in any sort of order so it’s hard to quantify which one is more important to try and bring back than another.  How much did I like the original show or movie?  How much more can they do with the license if it was brought back?  Will Netflix even have a snowball’s chance in hell of taking this project off the license holder’s hands?  All of which I think makes this a rather interesting (if slightly convoluted) top ten list even if it seems to be somewhat random!  Let’s get started!!

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10) Jem and the Holograms

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Right off the bat, let’s start with a series I’ve never even watched.  I’ve never particularly cared for Jem and the Holograms as a television series, and I CERTAINLY didn’t care for it when Hasbro and Jason Blum put out that cheap and cynical movie that had nothing with the franchise in the first place!  The reason it’s on this list is because of the IDW comic book series created by Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell.  Gorgeous artwork, interesting storylines, and believable updates for all the characters are just the tip of the iceberg as far as things this series manages to get right, and while there are some notable differences between the original cartoon and this comic (Jerrica doesn’t own or even co-own Starlight Music), it’s still a fantastic entry point for anyone who was interested in the premise but was turned off the extreme Late Eighties Toy Cartoon aspects of the show.  Now to be fair, Netflix’s history with exclusive animated series hasn’t been the STRONGEST part of their original content, but they seem to have a solid enough relationship with Hasbro already (pretty much all of their animated shows are on there right now) which doesn’t put this outside the realm of possibility.  If nothing else, Hasbro still hasn’t done enough to apologize for that terrible movie, so it’s the least they could do!

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9) Courage the Cowardly Dog

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This series, along with the likes of Ren & Stimpy and Invader Zim, is one of those shows you wouldn’t believe aired with the intention of young viewers to see but are SO happy that it did.  So much about this show is not only terrifying for those who aren’t prepared for it but is also genuinely beautiful in its own twisted way.  Episodes like Courage in the Big Stinkin’ City (THAT FREAKING VIOLIN GIRL!), Freaky Fred, and of course King Ramses’ Curse (RETURN THE SLAB!!)  are disturbing even to this day, but then we have episodes like The Hunchback of Nowhere, The Tower of Dr Zalost, and the unforgettable Last of the Starmakers, show how much beauty can still be found in this world full of horrors and misfortune.  So if the show was THAT influential and such a high point for children’s animation, why is it so high on the list?  Well… I just don’t have confidence that John R Dilworth (or anyone else for that matter) can do justice to such a masterful work.  We’ve already SEEN what John R Dilworth wants to do with a revived Courage series as he made a short in 2014 called The Fog of Courage, and I simply was not impressed by it.  I didn’t like the CGI art style as it didn’t lend itself to the exaggerated and intricate visuals that the show was known for, and the story itself wasn’t that compelling; not to mention the fact that Lionel Wilson, the original voice of Eustace, died soon after the show ended and the person they got to replace him just doesn’t sound right.  Granted, Wallace Shawn is a talented actor and I could probably get used to it over time, but that coupled with how not enthusiastic I was with everything else… I just don’t know if I even want this show to come back even if Netflix is willing to give them a chance.  Oh who am I kidding?  I would ABSOLUTLEY watch it and be happy for the privilege!

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8) A Goofy Movie 3

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Out of everything on this list, this is the one that’s simply not going to happen; not necessarily because it wouldn’t be a good idea, but because there’s no way in hell that Disney is gonna “cooperate” with another company on one of their flagship characters.  If they actually gave a crap about making another movie in this series, they would have done it a while ago and they CERTAINLY would have kept it in house.  That said, both A Goofy Movie and An Extremely Goofy Movie are cornerstones of my childhood, and while the sequel is FAR worse than the original film, it’s still one of the better straight to video Disney sequels that were made during that period where Disney were popping those out constantly.  Granted, that’s a pretty low bar to clear, but still!  Both movies were surprisingly frank and honest looks at fatherhood with Goofy doing his best to be there for his son and Max trying to work through the problems we all face when growing up which set them apart from pretty much anything the Mouse House has made before and since.  The reliance on that stupid X-Games sponsorship in the sequel is the primary reason why it’s so much inferior to the first one, but strip all that out and you still have something really unique there; unless of course you can name me ONE other Disney movie that takes place on a freaking college campus or has the primary romantic subplot involve characters approaching forty.  The way I see it, the best way to close out this trilogy is to go full circle, as cliché as it would be, and have Goofy become a grandfather.  Max is now a dad, Goofy is trying to help him with the responsibilities, an inevitable flare up as one generation’s ideas of parenting clashes with another; it all writes itself!  On top of that, as unlikely as Disney would be to work with Netflix on it, it’s almost a necessity nowadays for stuff like that to hit a streaming service at some point as Netflix and its ilk have basically subsumed the straight to video market, so if they DO make it without any help from Netflix, it’ll probably end up there at SOME point!  At least for a little while!

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7) Highlander

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There are a dozen or so reboots of popular action films from the eighties that have been in pre-production hell for nearly a decade now, and any one of them would be appropriate for this list.  Remember when Ryan Reynolds was attached to this reboot?  How about when Marky Mark of all people was cast as Eric Draven in that Crow movie that was never made?  Sure, Big Trouble in Little China seems to be going full steam ahead with Dwayne Johnson, but what about that Escape from New York reboot that was scrapped but might now be a prequel?  I ultimately chose Highlander because it’s probably the one that would best within the scope of Netflix (it was always more about the concept than big flashy effects) and you could even get away with doing it as a television series which isn’t new ground for the franchise.  Heck, with this sort of Battle Royale premise, you really could take the first movie and extend it into an entire series with the final episode being the climactic battle between Connor MacCleod and The Kurgan!  The point is that not every revival of a classic eighties (or late seventies or early nineties) high concept action film is gonna be Mad Max and get its own Fury Road.  It might be worth it try and take Highlander or even something like Buckaroo Banzai to this sort of mid-range tier of movies and television that simply didn’t exist when people were trying to get these projects off the ground.  I’d much rather get a modestly budgeted remake of highlander than hearing about a big budgeted one that MIGHT be going into production every six months.

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6) Titus

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The story behind Titus’s cancellation despite being a rather sizable hit in its first two seasons has been told several times from series creator Christopher Titus, and while his story is very much a one sided interpretation from the scorned party, there’s no doubt that the series died a rather unnatural death and that if managed properly it could have gone so much longer.  Now bringing a sitcom back to life is probably one of the hardest things to do as so much of what makes those work is the cast involved; most of whom have probably moved on to bigger and better things since then.  Still, for something like a thirteen episode season on Netflix all filmed at one time, they wouldn’t have the hardest time bringing everyone back together (this isn’t like trying to bring Will Smith back for a Fresh Prince revival), and putting in that extra effort will give the fans a much better send off for the series than was originally given.  Hell, I’d even be interested in seeing Christopher Titus make more of a spiritual successor to his series if they can’t get a straight up rival off the ground!  We’ve got Louie, Maron, Rob, and Lopez, so why not do one called Chris!?

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5) The Patakis

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For those of you that don’t know, Hey Arnold creator Craig Bartlett was trying to get a spin-off made that was all about Helga Pataki and was set several years in the future with her at the age of fifteen and Arnold having moved away.  Nickelodeon didn’t want it and neither did MTV who felt the idea was too close to Daria to be a worthwhile addition to the network which is a real shame.  If you look up some of the information out there about the series, there was some really interesting stuff but you can see why Nickelodeon passed on this darker interpretation of the characters (even if Bartlett was aiming for it to be on Nick at Night).  Now Nickelodeon has been very coy with the Hey Arnold fans for years now, but it looks like they’re finally gonna give Bartlett a shot to finish up the story in that jungle adventure movie that was dropped several years ago but has just been picked back up by the network.  Maybe there’s a possibility for Nickelodeon to finally give The Patakis a chance (Samurai Jack is proving that there’s a market for adult oriented revivals of children’s cartoons), but if they’re still skittish about showing it on their own network… well that’s where Netflix would come in.  Then again, I think all the Nickelodeon stuff is streaming on Hulu so chances are it would end up there before Netflix, but either way it’d be REALLY interesting to see if they can pull something like that off!

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4) 3rd Rock from the Sun

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Speaking of sitcoms being incredibly hard to revive, I have no illusions that we’d ever get a seventh season of this show; not just because Joseph Gordon-Levitt is WAY too big of a star to return to the series, but because the show already had the perfect ending.  Very few shows can claim to have a perfect last episode as there’s usually no good way to say goodbye to something.  This show though?  Perfect.  You couldn’t ask for a better sendoff than the one they got at the end of this series, and I wouldn’t want to ruin it by trying to get everyone back.  What you COULD do though is maybe a sequel series.  Send a new crew to Earth and have them work through modern day culture the same way the Solomons did in the late nineties.  Heck, they could probably even get French Stewart back as the new High Commander!  Look, if they could pull it off with Fuller House, they can do it with a show that I like, alright!?

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3) Ed, Edd n Eddy

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There are very few cartoon shows as important to my formative years than Ed, Edd n Eddy which… probably explains a lot actually, but this certainly felt like the last great cartoon of a generation.  Heck, it was the last high profile cartoon to be made using hand drawn animation cels, so it really was the end of an era in its own way!  The show did go on for a VERY respectable six seasons (honestly, it was really just five as season six only had ONE episode) so it wasn’t like it was an underappreciated gem, but the reason I want it to come back is because of where the show was when it was cancelled.  The show had taken a HUGE step forward in the fifth season by taking the kids out of the cul-de-sac and putting them in school.  For years, the show was all about the summer that would never end which is a dynamic that worked perfectly and could have gone on for much longer, but they took the risk and changed everything so they could try new things and give these characters a chance to grow.  I really did like that season because of that, and it’s a shame that we only got so many episodes at Peach Creek Jr High.  Cartoon Network certainly hasn’t done anything with this series in years despite being one of the best received and longest running shows they’ve ever produced (we haven’t even gotten a proper DVD release of the series yet), but similar to the idea of bringing Highlander to the small screen, maybe a more focused and less resource intensive run of episodes to just gauge public interest wouldn’t be all that risky for them, and what better place to try that out than Netflix?  They’re own network?  Okay, but this is my list so I’m counting it!!

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2) Moral Orel

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I could honestly fill half this list with Adult Swim shows that would absolute kill it on Netflix (or Hulu or whatever service Cartoon Network is using), but the one that rises above the rest just has to be Moral Orel; another show that was ended way before its time.  Dino Stamatopoulos has confirmed that if the show wasn’t ended that early that he would have had season four pick up with Clay’s father coming back into the fold and to spend time with Orel before he died of a terminal disease, but sadly that never came to pass and the best we got was a half hour prequel special called Beforel Orel which was fantastic in its own right, but still left the fans wanting more.  Now don’t get me wrong.  Like with Third Rock from the Sun, this is a show that ended PERFECTLY as very few shows get to do, and it was quite fortunate that Dino was given warning ahead of time that this was the final season which meant he was able to craft the entire narrative of the show with all its characters around a definite end point (a courtesy not extended to Aqua Teen Hunger Force where the creators weren’t told they were in their final season until they were already halfway through it).  Still, even knowing how the story will ultimately end for Orel, I absolutely want more.  I want to see how Clay would act around his father after all these years.  I want to know if Bloberta will ever find happiness again or if she’ll continue to solider on in this loveless marriage she has to a man she hates.  Heck, I want to know Stephanie will ever find a girlfriend in this backward town!  I don’t know what the budget was for this show, but I can’t imagine it was prohibitively expensive which is what would stymie a lot of potential projects for Netflix (or Hulu or whatever), and there does seem to still be an interest in doing the series; otherwise why would everyone come back several years just to do the Beforel Orel special?  At the very least, can Cartoon Network get off its ass and release the entire series on DVD already!?  IT’S ONLY THREE SEASONS!!

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1) Megas XLR

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YES!  ABSOLUTELY ONE HUNDRED AND TEN PERCENT YES!!   Megas XLR was so freaking ahead of its time that there’s no way it could have lasted and only got two seasons before it bit the dust.  In today’s pop culture landscape though?  This could be HUGE.  Hell, the series predated the Michael Bay Transformers films by a good three years and is still better than any of those movies, so imagine what it be like if SOMEONE would just give it another chance!?  Sure, the show wasn’t PERFECT in its heyday, but it had so much imagination and probably the greatest premise for a sci-fi action comedy show ever!  It’s about a dude who pilots a giant robot with a bad ass MUSCLE CAR!!  Is there ANYONE who watches those Fast and the Furious movies that WOULDN’T fall in love with that!?  The show was brilliant in the way it satirized tropes of giant robot shows, alien invasion movies, Super Sentai and Tatsunoko style action, and even threw in video game references, Bruce Campbell, and professional wrestling for good measure!!  If I ever won the lottery, the first thing I would do (after paying my student loans) is do whatever I could to at least get a FEW more episodes of this show on the air, but since I’m NOT that lucky I’ll just have to hope someone at Cartoon Network, Netflix, or wherever, sees the potential in bringing back this utter masterpiece that was ended far too soon.  After all, it’s not just chicks that dig giant robots!

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And that should just about do it for my pointless screaming into the void about things that I have no power to control or meaningfully have an effect on!  Agree?  Disagree?  Let me know in the comments below!

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