In recent years, as TV fans have taken to the internet, there has been massive outcry about the cancellation of some great shows. One of the earliest such examples that comes to mind is Firefly, the beloved Joss Whedon space adventure. The show's most loyal fans - the Browncoats - took to the message boards, and thanks to the ease of the internet, proved that there was a demand for more. A voice that in years prior would've remained unheard, was now delivered right to the screens of the creators. After a few years said fans were given Serenity - a feature film followup to help with some closure. The movie, while providing some of the intended closure, unfortunately flopped at the box office. This meant that the hopes of other shows in similar situations would now have to look at the Firefly / Serenity example as a hurdle to overcome, not an example of success.
Recently however, some other shows have explored different avenues as means for resurrection. The canceled Family Guy and Futurama were brought back after strong DVD sales and syndication deals. Now though, with the secondary DVD market drying up, that option appears to already be a thing of the past. In comes NetFlix. The very same company that is killing the aforementioned DVD market has resurrected one of the internet’s most beloved properties – Arrested Development. Following years of rumor fueled pre-production Hell, the Bluths are coming back with 10 straight to NetFlix episodes, that are to be succeeded by a movie.
This deal has given hope to other such loved, but discarded shows. Rumors have been swirling around a Party Down movie since the day Starz canceled the service industry comedy in 2010. The cast has consistently vowed their availability should it ever happen – from Lizzy Caplan to Megan Mullally to creator Rob Thomas – we keep hearing how they all want to do it. There is a chance that 2013 might be the year it happens, but nothing is set yet. Their biggest issue appears to be funding, but the rumors don’t seem to be going away.
Another excellent, yet short-lived show might have just found a way around that funding issue. Shawn Ryan recently made comments expressing his desire to bring back Terriers (the lowest rated show in FX history) in the form of a TV Movie, funded by the fans via Kickstarter. It amazes me it’s taken so long for something like this to pop up. Indie fims, albums, statues, and all manner of other causes have found Kickstarter to be a successful tool for fund-raising. Though small, I think the group of Terriers fans floating around out there would be willing to kick in if it meant more Hank and Britt.
Now, while Terriers and Party Down are still in the rumor stage, the deal that Arrested Development got, and the possibility of Kickstarter funding, hope is renewed again for the die-hard fans who were emotionally invested and then heart-broken. Something that TV offers which you don’t seem to find in film as often is a prolonged attachment to characters which can only be built over time. The industry is taking a slight turn in a new direction. The digital age could soon mean saying goodbye to the Neilson ratings and force shows to survive on their own merit, be less cookie-cutter and produce some originality – Oh what are network shows to do…