In Part 1 of this article, I covered the aftermaths of shows like 24, Community and Heroes. This continuation finishes my coverage, with series like Fringe, Merlin, and The X-Files.
SPOILER ALERT: This contains spoilers for several canceled and finished shows.
Launched in 2006 before post-apocalyptic dramas really hit their stride in TV land, Jericho lasted just one season before CBS called it quits for poor ratings. But the fans thought the network was nuts for not giving the show a chance…literally. Inspired by lead character Jake Green’s notable proclamation of “Nuts!” in the season finale, the fans delivered over 20 tons of nuts to CBS HQ in efforts to bring attention to Jericho’s desired revival. CBS responded with a seven-episode second season as “a way to provide closure to the compelling drama that was the Jericho story,” said CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler. While the small dedicated fan base stayed glued to their televisions, the series returned with only two-thirds of its original viewers, and was canceled for the final time in 2008. That year and the next were rife with talk and speculation of a return via the then-Sci Fi Channel (now SyFy), Comcast, and even film, but nothing has so far come to fruition. The only story continuation has been in comic book form: Devil’s Due and IDW Publishing have so far published seasons 3 and 4 in this format, with a fifth in the works. But another revival may still be a possibility, as show creator Stephen Chbosky spoke of in 2013: “You know William Morris Endeavor Agency, who represents me, [executive producer] John Turteltaub and many other people, and they’ve been talking to Netflix and you never know. I can’t say what it will be in season 3, but I’m excited for the new developments.”
At the hands of aforementioned Fringe mastermind J. J. Abrams, a supposedly deserted island inhabited by a party of plane crash survivors and supernatural creatures was given a chance on the airwaves at ABC. And with six seasons, numerous conventions, a ton of magazines, podcasts, action figures, and a fanatical fan base to its name, it didn’t disappoint. When the show departed in 2010, the finale only added to the persisting mysteries and theories about the island and its myriad dwellers, which continue to be debated to this day (though some theories have been debunked by the show’s writers since then). But despite negative backlash about the unanswered questions, Abrams has kept to his guns on the finale, saying, “There may have been specific technical things people felt they wanted to understand, like what the island was exactly or why it was. But it’s like the briefcase in ‘Pulp Fiction.’ If you show me what’s in there, I promise you it will disappoint me.” Satisfied with the “emotional conclusion to that show,” Abrams has not spoken of a revival or revisitation to the Lost world. But the acclaimed director probably wouldn’t have much time anyway — after twice having boldly gone where no man has gone before (2009’s Star Trek and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness), he’s now making a trip to a galaxy far, far away, sitting at the helm of Star Wars’ return to the big screen, Episode VII: The Force Awakens. But there are still plenty of fans celebrating the show’s landmark anniversaries…and probably still playing Hurley’s numbers on the lotto.
BBC’s loose adaptation of the early tales of wizard Merlin had few struggles throughout its five-season tenure on British and American airwaves — met with increasingly positive reviews and a heavy popularity only bolstered by online streaming, the only major shift the medieval fantasy experienced was its move from NBC to Syfy after its first season. But it’s because of this success that the show, which concluded during Christmas of 2012, is still in the hearts of its fans; in its wake, the Merlin fandom has exploded, almost surpassing Firefly’s fan base in their woes and yearnings for a revival. Even with no new material on which to wax poetically, the fandom has risen to the ranks of Whovians, Wayward Sons, and Browncoats in their level of dedication. But sadly, it doesn’t look like their ennui will abate anytime soon — on the idea of a possible Merlin movie, Morgana portrayer Kate McGrath has said, “There’s been a lot of talk about it over the past couple of years, and I could never understand what story we could tell better in a two-hour movie that we haven’t already told in the 65 hours of TV…the most wonderful thing that we have been privileged to do is to be able to tell the end of the story.” With no other talks of revisiting Camelot, the fans will have to make do with catching star Colin Morgan in the upcoming AMC sci-fi Humans, or watching past episodes of Doctor Who, on which nearly thirty members of Merlin’s cast has appeared at one time or another.
Pushing Daisies (2007-2009)
The oh-so-adorable pie maker with the life-giving touch had his colorful life of detective work and love with his dead-but-not-really childhood sweetheart Charlotte (or “Chuck”) broadcast for two seasons, but despite the intense drama surrounding the characters’ families and love lives, and the six-foot-five package of cute that is Lee Pace as the lead, the series was canceled by ABC. Creator Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) responded quickly with a resurrection in comic book form, but the DC Comics imprint on which it was to be released closed its doors around that time, leaving it to this day unreleased (save the first page). Other ideas for giving Ned and Chuck their happy ending have been proposed by Fuller in the form of a mini-series or movie, or even a Broadway musical with the show’s lovelorn waitress, Kristin Chenoweth. But for now, fans (who have made their desire for more Daisies well known by dominating Esquire’s TV Reboot Tournament this year) will have to settle for watching Ned as confident, albeit manipulative, tech marketer Joe Macmillan in AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, going into its second season later this year, and Chuck in the NBC TV movie American Odyssey.
This post-apocalyptic NBC drama, launched in 2012, revolved around humanity’s adaptation to, and division in, a future world without electrical power. With Supernatural’s creator Eric Kripke at the helm, not to mention an average ten million viewers throughout its first season, the Matheson family’s story was expected to be told well past its more positively reviewed second season. Alas, it became victim to the cancellation axe, airing its finale in May 2014. But while its stars have been picking up other jobs in its wake (Billy Burke in CBS’s upcoming show Zoo; Elizabeth Mitchell in a recurring role as the Snow Queen in Once Upon A Time), fans have been using their electrical power to hit the ‘net for the show, logging nearly 90,000 signatures in a circulating petition to renew the show or relocate it to another network, and gaining even more support on Twitter via the hashtag #RelocateRevolution. If the fans have their way, Kripke has already spoken of what he’d planned for a third season: “It was gonna be this incredible stockpile of supplies. All the good guys and all the bad guys in the show were going to fight for this gold mine of material and supplies…It was going to be a treasure hunt season, which would have fun and mixed up the show in a really interesting way.”
Veronica Mars (2004-2007)
Neptune, California’s own Nancy Drew was a success with critics during its three-season run, but its ratings on UPN and the CW didn’t often reflect it. Its final season saw Veronica Mars, a student outcast with a detective side job, and several of her high school friends adjusting to college, but even though ratings were showing improvement, the drama was confirmed “not coming back” by CW president Dawn Ostroff in mid-2007. The “Marshmallows” spared little expense in attempting to bring the show back: their efforts included an aerial advertisement spouting “Renew Veronica Mars” and a collection of over 10,000 Mars Bars sent to the CW, to no avail. But their intense dedication came in handy later, because though creator Rob Thomas (not the Matchbox Twenty guy) spoke of his plans to bring Mars to the silver screen in 2008, the project didn’t gain much enthusiasm or hope until they brought it to the fans in 2013 via a Kickstarter campaign. The goal of $2 million was met in less than a day, and became the “largest film project in Kickstarter history” with a total amount of $5.7 million raised for its production. The film, complete with several members of its original cast, premiered a year later, grossing over $3 million at the box office. Though a series continuation will probably remain off the table, with its fans having made known their enthusiasm for the eponymous character, the story is continuing to live in other forms of media, such as the 2014 web series Play It Again, Dick, a spin-off based on Ryan Hansen’s Dick Casablancas, and in novels. And Thomas isn’t ruling out another go in the theaters: “I know what number we have to hit to do it again [with Warner Bros. paying for it]…I think we can do it. I have confidence. So I am not too pessimistic about this being the last round.”
The X-Files (1993-2002)
The truth was out there for millions of viewers when FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully hit the Fox airwaves in 1993. While modern-day series have the utilization of the world wide web to affect and connect, the X-Files’s avid fandom formed and evolved with the internet; their Tumblr was in the form of mailing lists and newsgroups. And X-Philes, as the fans are known, have a lot of material to obsess over — the sci-fi lasted nine seasons, ending its run in 2002. This timespan included a feature film in 1998, set between the fifth and sixth seasons, that took in nearly $200 million worldwide. With that kind of success and following to its name, it’s no mystery why a second film, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, followed in 2008, to a decidedly less positive reception. With priorities set on steering the series back towards its original mythology, with cognizance of the series finale’s now-lapsed predicted date of Earth’s alien invasion, December 22, 2012, a possible third film has been spoken of since the second one’s release. However, the cult fave will soon be revisiting its old home instead – Fox has confirmed a reboot of the show for a six-episode limited series. On working with creator Chris Carter once more, the show’s stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson said, “We had the privilege of working with Chris on all nine seasons of ‘The X-Files’ — one of the most rewarding creative experiences of our careers — and we couldn’t be more excited to explore that incredible world with him again.”
This barely scratches the surface of the lively fandom communities that abound on- and off-line for concluded and canceled shows, but hopefully this lengthy write-up brings back to the surface some old favorites, giving recognition to dedicated fan bases still showing loving affection to their extinct series, and maybe bringing eager viewers seeking stories that may be old news to the rest of the world, but new adventures to them.