Netflix is making itself more than just a gateway to your couch-based entertainment.
It's quickly becoming a content creator in its own right, conjuring up shows like the US remake of House of Cards and – to our excitement, a fourth series of Arrested Development. So, with Netflix planning at least five new shows a year, we've rounded up some cancelled classics that deserve a second chance.
Twin Peaks (1990-1991)
Reports that David Lynch was bringing back his off-kilter supernatural melodrama Twin Peaks created a flurry of interest earlier this year – and even though it turned out to be a false alarm, US network NBC was sufficiently interested to put out feelers about reviving the show. But how much better would it be on Netflix, with Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost unfettered by interfering studio suits and given a US$100m budget to play with?
A fanatical fanbase of Browncoats brought Joss Whedon's space Western back from the dead once before, in the form of 2005 film Serenity. Netflix has already revived Firefly's Fox stablemate Arrested Development, so it surely has to be eyeing the potential of resurrecting a show with such a vocal fanbase. But there's one teensy problem: Whedon is a bit busy directing The Avengers 2, shepherding the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the big screen, and overseeing the Marvel TV show SHIELD. Has the spaceship sailed? We hope not.
Veronica Mars (2004-2007)
Rob Thomas' show about a teenage private investigator brought a touch of noir to sunny California – but it was axed after three seasons. Thomas later pitched a feature film follow-up in which the titular Veronica would become an FBI agent, but the networks didn't bite. Now, Thomas is bringing Veronica to the big screen with the help of Kickstarter – but who wouldn't want to see a full series?
Deadwood brought the Old West to life in all its gritty, grotty splendour, with NYPD Blue writer David Milch depicting the gold-rush town going from squalid tent city to burgeoning civilisation over the course of three seasons. But the show was expensive to produce, and cable network HBO opted to ditch Deadwood and focus on its epic series Rome. In the incredibly unlikely event that HBO could be persuaded to let its direct competitor pinch one of its shows, Netflix's US$100m show budgets would be perfect for reviving Deadwood.
As stories for a TV series go, Wonderfalls has to be in the running for the strangest. Jane Tyler, a bit of an outcast from Niagara Falls, discovers that the souvenirs she sells in the Wonderfalls shop and any objects with a face can speak to her and frequently do. In what becomes a battle for her sanity and an increasingly long list of socially awkward moments, Wonderfalls delivers hilarious drama – even if Fox played the first four episodes out of order before canning it.
The Doctor Who spin-off for grown-ups is currently "in limbo" following its fourth series, Miracle Day – which suffered somewhat from the need to relaunch the show for American audiences. Give Torchwood creator Russell T Davies a House of Cards-sized budget to play with, and let him write a series as dark and affecting as 2009's Torchwood: Children of Earth, and we'll be dancing in the streets.
Coming home to a nuclear explosion in your hometown is pretty unlikely, but that very thing happened to unlikely hero Jake Green in the CBS show Jericho. Although the post-apocalyptic show was canned because of low ratings, a campaign to revive Jericho saw fans bombarding the offices of CBS with nuts, in a reference to a line from the show. Some 8 million nuts weighing more than 40,000lbs were sent, leading to seven more episodes. Netflix would be nuts not to tap into a fanbase that dedicated.
The X-Files (1993-2002)
For those of us born in the 80s, The X-Files was downright horrifying. Tales of alien attacks, inbreeding, randomly bursting into flames, ghosts – the show was a recipe for downright frightening yet utterly compulsive viewing, especially when FBI Special Agents Mulder, Scully, Reyes and Doggett often came across mysteries that overlapped with real life. Although the show provided nearly a decade of entertainment, we'd welcome it back with open arms.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009)
Following on from the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day – and wisely ignoring the subsequent films in the franchise – The Sarah Connor Chronicles was a more cerebral take on the time-travelling cyborg series, following the Connors' attempt to prevent the Skynet AI from being created. And so the scene was set for plenty of sci-fi thrills over two seasons – but the pricey show fell foul of the penny-pinchers at Fox. Netflix is flinging money at its shows – could Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles be saying "I'll be back"?
Global Frequency (2005)
Netflix is doing away with TV pilots altogether, offering a full-series commitment upfront. That would've been good news for Global Frequency, one of the many promising shows that didn't make it past the pilot stage. Based on the comic book by Warren Ellis, it follows an International Rescue-style outfit that uses a "smart mob" of local field agents to deal with secret threats, co-ordinated by the icy Miranda Zero and punky hacker Aleph.
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