We at LTAS have vowed never, ever to give up on the canceled soaps we believe should rightly be on the air. Skepticism that we will accomplish this abounds, but we now have proof we can do it, and thus we will. The rebirth of several canceled primetime shows long after many, but not their true blue fans, gave up on them.
Mega-fans of four cancelled primetime shows now have reason to rejoice as four shows massively popular with their cult, die-hard followings are have been rebooted or spun off and air on three of the big four networks (Fox, NBC, and CBS—any surprise you don’t see ABC’s name in that list?).
20th Century Fox’s X-Files enjoyed a massive cult audience and critical acclaim. So much so that the movies based on it had fans lined up around city blocks for tickets. One of the reason it boasted such popularity, and not incidentally great popularity with soap fans, was the chemistry between its main characters Agents Scully and Mulder.
The moony looks on their faces as they gazed at each other, the way the sometimes even held hands, the way they seemed incomplete when they were apart. Just like soap super-couples such as AMC’s Erica and Jack, Days of Our Lives’ Patch and Kayla, GL’s Reva and Shane; the list goes on and on. In March 2015 Fox announced it would revive couple and their adventures that riveted so many fans as a miniseries. The actors, network, and writers have already discussed a rebooting of the series after the last episode of the miniseries airs tonight. Boosting them no doubt. Last week, the miniseries episode came in fourth in the top 25 shows of the week.
For six seasons, NBC Universal’s Xena, Warrior Princess, enthralled fans in 108 countries around the world, gave rise to dozens of tie-in products, and topped several critical lists of top TV heroines, fantasy series, and cult shows. The show, one of the few at the time with a both literally and figuratively strong female lead, one who donned a suit of rigid armor and wielded a sword with the skill of a samurai, will long hold a place in the television history books as one of a kind. NBC, in one of those inexplicable network decisions we soap fans know all to well, cancelled the series in 2001. The network now plans to once again produce and air the show. Kudos to NBC for showing their loyal fans that even 14 years later is not too late to right a wrong and give their fans due respect.
I include the cancellation and reboot of Dallas by Warner Bros Television and TNT, respectively, in this article about primetime’s rebirth, as, even though it aired in primetime, it had the structure and qualities of a daytime soap.
I doubt I need to remind readers of LTAS, a website about soap operas, how much you loved and supported Dallas, when it started out on CBS, its portrayal of the high-flying, champagne and caviar, mansions and yachts lifestyles of ultra-wealthy Southerners. You made the, “Who Shot JR?” cliffhanger and the reveal two TV episodes with the highest ratings in the medium’s history. CBS cancelled Dallas in 1991. But, Warner Brothers Television, who always owned the rights to Dallas, honored fans and showed business savvy when it allowed the cancelled series to air on TNT in 2010. Fans loved the reboot too, but TNT cancelled it, so we ask Warner Brothers Television to work with CBS to once again honor fans, allowing CBS to once again air it.
Warner Bros Television has once again honored fans of another show (ANOTHER one ABC/Disney cancelled too soon and unfairly), Lois and Clark, by creating a spinoff, Supergirl, which currently airs and enjoys stellar ratings of a 12.9 million-viewer average. It airs on CBS, so I give CBS/Warner Bros Television additional points for that. But ABC/Disney doesn’t deserve any credit for allowing this to happen—because they didn’t. Warner Brothers Television owns the rights to Lois and Clark. They are just the pathetic saps who have to watch a spinoff of a show they cancelled become a cultural phenomenon, especially because one of the reasons they cancelled Lois and Clark because, for whatever reason, they didn’t want, a “sci-fi” show on their network. ABC/Disney will only get my kudos when AMC and OLTL are back on their network for one hour each in their original timeslots.
Now, dear readers, which of the Big Four network remains in our list of networks smartly and reverently rebooting shows? Ah, yes: ABC/Disney. We all know how they have disrespected and broken the hearts of daytime fans. But their treatment of Twin Peaks serves as just one example of how they did so to primetime fans. Luckily for ABC/Disney, David Lynch, an esteemed director of art films, agreed to write and produce that show’s pilot, which reached a whopping and head-spinning 35 million viewers. That episode and dozens that followed had viewers tune in week after week to watch Agent Cooper sip coffee, eat pie, and speak in odd quips, as he searched for the killer of Laura Palmer. The image of Palmer’s lifeless, blue-ish corpse wrapped in a plastic tarp and dotted with lake water debris still lingers in the collective American psyche. In another bad programming decision, ABC/Disney decided to cancel Twin Peaks, leading TV Guide to put it at high on its list of series that were cancelled too soon. This summer, Showtime, will reboot Twin Peaks, but no thanks to ABC/Disney. Thanks go to David Lynch, producer Mark Frost, and CBS. The first two have retained ownership of the show, while CBS has distribution rights.
Why have CBS, Fox, and NBC networks now rebooted or spun off shows primetime fans have been endlessly and loudly rallying for the return of for decades? We at LTAS say because they see the way daytime fans have stood outside ABC/Disney headquarters in the cold, waving posters and shouting pro-soap slogans, they have watched ABC/Disney’s profits plummet from daytime’s fans’ boycott of all things ABC/Disney, and they see us daytime fans posting literally and figuratively colorful pro-soap and anti-ABC/Disney content day after day. CBS, Fox, and NBC wisely do not want to be next.
We want another primetime show reborn, and that is JAG. We urge Paramount Television to take a cue from Warner Brothers Television and give fans/viewers/consumers what they want: a rebooted series, one in which Mac and Ham get the happily ever after they deserve. The series ended with a picture of their wedding! What a slap in the face to fans—they want an actual wedding and to see them in a committed, long-term relationship.
Our relationship with the networks is a two-way street. So now it’s our turn to clean our side of the street by accessing the networks’ Facebook and Twitter accounts and web page contact forms. Let them know we realize how they have made some first steps in giving us back quality, scripted television in primetime, but now they must fully do so in daytime too.
And then let’s lean back on our couches, put our feet up, and watch our primetime shows and soaps, content and secure in the knowledge that quality, American scripted television is reborn in primetime, and daytime’s rebirth will now occur in 2016.
By Akbi Khan
Edited by Akbi Khan