Thanksgiving is a time for appreciating everything you have in your life — and everything you don’t have to deal with. And you know what? Sometimes the omission of the bad things from your life can be even more wonderful than the inclusion of the good. If you ask us, that’s definitely the case when it comes to most TV reboots. This isn’t to say there aren’t some good ones that have come out of the current reboot craze infecting Hollywood, but we still aren’t sure if the few reboot gems make up for all great shows that are being dragged out of the grave, dusted off and repurposed for garish cash grabs.
So this holiday season, let’s be thankful for these 14 shows that haven’t been rebooted… yet.
On paper, Cheers is the perfect candidate for a reboot. It has a simple premise — people hang out in a bar, and two of them have a will they/won’t they relationship — that could be easily transposed onto different settings or casts. (In fact, the premise of the upcoming NBC sitcom Abby’s is basically “Cheers but outside.”) And the reason why it’s a risky reboot is equally simple: It wouldn’t have Ted Danson. The reason Cheers ran for 11 seasons is because alchemy happened when that cast assembled around the character of Sam Malone. Name a 35-ish actor who you think could carry a sitcom for 11 years. Then ask yourself if he or she is as good as Ted Danson. There’s only one greatest TV actor. And that’s not even accounting for Shelley Long and Kelsey Grammer and Woody Harrelson and George Wendt and… — Liam Mathews
2. Friday Night Lights
With the exception of Season 2, Friday Night Lights is a perfect television show, and there’s simply no need to reboot perfection, you know? In all seriousness, there was so much about Friday Night Lights that worked because of the talented cast at its center. Just try and imagine someone other than Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton stepping into the roles of Coach Taylor and Tami, respectively. You can’t. Put anyone other than Taylor Kitsch in the cleats of Tim Riggins, a character who became the heart and soul of FNL by the end of its run, and you’re likely to get a totally different Riggins. Friday Night Lights was special. It was lightning in a bottle. It touched so many lives through its honest, heartfelt storytelling, and there’s simply no way to replicate the show or the way it made people feel. We should honestly just be happy that we got to experience it at all. Texas Forever. — Kaitlin Thomas
3. The Golden Girls
There’s a reason The Golden Girls hasn’t been rebooted in the 26 years that it’s been off the air: It’s an impossible feat. There’s no replacing Bea Arthur as the sharp-tongued Dorothy Zbornak, Betty White as the sweetly naive Rose Nylund, Rue McClanahan as the promiscuous southern belle Blanche Devereaux or Estelle Getty as the sassy geriatric Sophia Petrillo. And thanks to constant syndication, it feels like this show never went away. Perhaps more popular than ever now, the series has etched a permanent place in history as one of the most beloved shows of all time, so any attempts to replicate it would be met with serious contempt.
The Golden Girls was more than just a sitcom about four women growing older together. At a time when women it was rare to see any ensemble of women commanding a sitcom, this trailblazing series put four older women at the forefront, exploring every aspect of theirs lives, including — gasp — their sexuality, in a way that no other show ever has. Bold and unafraid to dive headfirst into social landmines, this groundbreaking series tackled everything from racism and sexual harassment to homosexuality, homelessness and even the AIDS crisis. It was a show for everyone and it still holds up today. Some gems are best left in the past and this is one of them. — Keisha Hatchett
4. Flavor of Love
In just three seasons, Flavor of Love gave us so much: an unforgettable spit-take, a reason to wear clocks around our necks again, and — most importantly — the legendary Tiffany “New York” Pollard. Technically, the premise of the show was for Public Enemy rapper Flavor Flav to find love with one of the 20 women Vh1 brought together in a mansion, but the ridiculous interactions among the female contestants ended up being the most memorable takeaway. (Never forget when “Hottie” said she looked like Beyonce.)
While it’s fun to lose yourself in a YouTube black hole to reminisce about your girl Hoopz or Punkin, bringing back Flavor of Love in this day and age would be absolute disaster. Its blatantly sexist nicknaming process (poor “Thing 1” and “Thing 2”) paired its obvious exploitation of black women are so problematic, there’s no way a network could go unscathed if they chose to reboot this while maintaining any semblance to the original. Which is a good thing. — Lauren Zupkus
5. Dawson’s Creek
Dawson’s Creek is my favorite teen soap that has ever been on television. I know that many shows have tried to copy it in spirit, but we’ve never had a true reboot and that’s for the absolute best. First of all, the series ended with an eight-year time jump that gave each character their happy ending (except for Jen, who deserved better). The finale gave us closure with these characters that didn’t leave us begging for more time with them, either in their high school pasts or their future adult lives. We don’t need to check back in to see how Joey (Katie Holmes) and Pacey (Joshua Jackson) disagree about raising kids or how Dawson (James Van der Beek) has managed to turn his life into cinema yet again. We’re good with the way we left them.
And if a new cast were to attempt to step into their shoes, they’d never come close to the original ensemble, which was a lightning in a bottle cast put together in a lightning in a bottle time. Plus, the characters’ SAT ready vocabulary would never fly in 2018, and neither would half the storylines that were a true relic of the ’90s culture. Most importantly, Jackson portrayed the most perfect TV boyfriend of all time and I don’t want to see any shaggy haired Gen-Z pretty boy muddy Pacey’s perfect image. — Megan Vick
6. Sex and the City
First of all, no. Just don’t. On a cosmic, spiritual level, Sex and the Citywas such an important, transformative piece of television because it thrust conversations between women about their lives — including about their bodies, desires, sexual needs and views on love and motherhood — into the forefront in a way that had never been done, forever changing the game. In the same way you can no longer watch an ’80s rom-com and not notice all the stalking and blatant sexual harassment, we just couldn’t watch a SATC reboot without noticing how its characters were treading already established, well-worn ground.
Then there’s the small-but-gigantic matter of what do about the clothes: nobody could ever hop-strut in a Manolo like Sarah Jessica Parker, and asking someone else to walk in those shoes would set that poor actress up to fail big time. By the time the series had ended, even seeing a real quad of gals out on the town whooping it up with cosmos was worthy of a severe eye roll. SATC is fine for lazy Saturday afternoon binges and maybe even an ironic sleepover with friends, but Sex and the City wasn’t just a show, it was an era. It was lightning in a bottle and it’s best to let it go. And if you miss it so much, there’s always The Carrie Diaries, the underappreciated CW prequel series. — Malcolm Venable
7. Lizzie McGuire
Lizzie McGuire premiered during that nebulous time in the early aughts when teen girl fashion was eccentric and hair was inexplicable; that’s part of what made the show so iconic. But the other reason the show struck such a chord was that Lizzie (Hilary Duff) and her friends didn’t need a gimmick to stand out. None of the characters were pop singers in disguise or wizards with magical powers, they were just regular kids who wore terrible sweaters on picture day and accidentally spilled paint all over jeans they were planning to return after wearing once. Their lives were truly, utterly normal and so neatly contained to their little social circle — when they weren’t starring in an Aaron Carter music video, obviously.
We’d hate to see a Lizzie McGuire reboot today since modern middle schoolers would have to deal with iPhones and social media, which automatically shift the way the characters would interact and the scope of the show’s entire universe. Plus, anyone besides Hilary Duff trying to step into Lizzie’s shoes would just feel wrong and she’s a little too busy now to headline her own Fuller House-style reboot of the beloved Disney series. — Lindsay MacDonald
Everyone has been trying to recreate the success of Friends since before the NBC sensation even went off the air. A close-knit group of twentysomethings hanging out and dating in a big city is now as much of a television genre as medical drama or family sitcom. And this is precisely why we never, not in a million years, need a Friends reboot. There are also the obvious issues with how the original cast’s chemistry is not something you can easily replicate (if at all), the fact that the runaway success of the 10-season comedy would be hard to recreate now that people have far more networks to choose from and also how incredibly dated the humor –particularly the show’s approach toward sex and dating — feels now.
But the undeniable reason that we don’t need a Friends reboot is because we get at least half a dozen unofficial Friends reboots every year, as writers and producers strive to recreate the magic formula from the must-see TV show to varying effect. If you want more Friends, just watch it on Netflix or wait until the next copycat hits the air. No need to tarnish the show’s legacy with a reboot. — Sadie Gennis
9. 30 Rock
Since 30 Rock went off the air five years ago, we’ve seen versions of its particular brand of humor on other shows (looking at you, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt). But when Tina Fey‘s comedy first arrived on the scene in 2006, it was completely fresh. And with its daffy cast — including the unparalleled Tracy Morgan, the underrated Jane Krakowski and Alec Baldwin in his comeback role — and lightning-fast jokes, it was side-splittingly funny. It still is, though it’s true that some jokes have aged better than others. Even so, we still have MILF Island, Dr. Spaceman, “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah”, a foolproof way to dodge jury duty, “I want to go to there,” and seven seasons’ worth of running gags and hilarious cameos to be thankful for. To a potential 30 Rock reboot we can only say: “Blerg.” — Noelene Clark
3% is one of the most daring and compelling sci-fi series of the streaming boom. The foreign-language Netflix original has it all: part action-thriller, part mystery, part revolutionary manifesto for the overpopulated, under-resourced favelas of a dystopian Brazil revolting against the three percent who live in extravagant luxury with all the benefits of technology. Two seasons in and the show has given weekend bingers one of the most hopeful messages in a genre that tends to revel in people getting beaten down, so while it might seem prime reboot material, Hollywood should absolutely not touch 3%.
A Hollywood reboot would strip 3% of its crucial latinx roots and turn it into a sanitized version of a dystopia that we’ve seen time and time again. Why would I watch a TV show that’s essentially The Hunger Games but even longer? We’d end up sacrificing the cultural specifics that enrich its characters’ struggles all because so many English speakers are too lazy to read subtitles. Frankly, that seems like a fate worse than any of our revolutionaries have been subjected to on the show. — Krutika Mallikarjuna
There’s a new Buffy the Vampire Slayer series in development that is said to be more of a sequel rather than a reboot, and if that’s the case, it’s hard to take issue with the project. The Slayer mythology is built to be an ongoing story that doesn’t begin or end with Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar). But that’s not the case with Angel, the Buffy spin-off starring David Boreanaz as a vampire cursed with a soul who is on a path of redemption. His story is specific. You can try and reboot it, but it’ll never reach the same depths if the main character doesn’t have a Buffy; a simple series about a vampire detective isn’t going to fly.
But there are a few other reasons against rebooting Angel. First, why would you reboot a spin-off? Second, the world is over vampires. And third, Angel already had the perfect ending; no matter how entertaining or well done a potential reboot might be, you’ll never be able to improve upon that final shot of Angel, Spike (James Marsters), Gunn (J. August Richards) and Illyria (Amy Acker) standing in the rain as armies of hell descend upon L.A. Angel’s “Let’s get to work” before the screen cuts to black is one of the best moments in TV history. Case closed. — Kaitlin Thomas
12. Married… with Children
It’s pretty shocking that no network has tried to reanimate Fox’s put-down comedy yet, since it has all the qualities of a show ready for a revival. It’s a family sitcom, it was ahead of its time when it aired in the late-’80s and ’90s, it was our introduction to some major talent (Ed O’Neill, Katey Sagal, Christina Applegate) and it had an edge that made it distinct — all exploitable characteristics for a desperate and money-hungry network (and what network is more desperate than Fox right now?).
And while I’m of the opinion that nothing should ever be rebooted, ever, I’m particularly thankful that Married… with Children (which is finally streaming on Hulu) hasn’t, because — aside from some All in the Family influences — it and its characters were wholly their own. Could you imaging a new version of Peggy? Only Sagal could do her walk. If some imposter “new Al” put his hand down his pants, it wouldn’t be an homage, it would be criminal. And the humor, which raised eyes in the ’80s, would blend into the background if it came out today. There was a place and time for Married… with Children, and it certainly isn’t here and now. — Tim Surette
Despite the fact that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is his calling card, many sci-fi fans would say Joss Whedon‘s best work is definitively Firefly. A space western about a crew of small-time criminals and their passengers who are no friends of the law either, the single 13-episode season packs a punch unlike any other. The combination of genres, social themes, and emotional narratives performed by one of the most outstanding casts in the history of TV means that calls for Firefly‘s return are frequent and cacophonous.
But one only needs to turn to Joss Whedon’s long-running works to see why the magic of Firefly would be lost with reboot — particularly if the reboot ran longer than the original. The alchemy of the original Firefly cast is so indelible that it’d be impossible to recreate. But even if that massive hurdle could be cleared, the painfully outdated feminism and problematic issues of representation baked into the show would turn into the achilles heel of any revamp. Beyond that is the tendency for later seasons of Whedon shows to descend into what feels like unending darkness. While a reboot could potentially course correct this issue, when you add this to all the other probable pitfalls, it just seems like a better move to revel in the sanctity of the original than reboot the show. — Krutika Mallikarjuna
14. The West Wing
If there was a rift between liberals and conservatives when The West Wing premiered nearly 20 years ago, now it’s become a gaping chasm. But as much as today’s divisive politics make us yearn for a Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen) presidency, we’re casting our ballots for a West Wing rewatch, not a reboot (sorry, Bradley Whitford). Aaron Sorkin filled his fictional White House with optimistic and intelligent characters who had a lot to say about democratic ideals and serving the American people, and they said it movingly and eloquently (albeit at 300 words per minute walking down hallways). We don’t need a reboot of The West Wing. But we wouldn’t mind if its current residents took some pointers from the likes of Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff), Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) and C.J. Cregg (Allison Janney). — Noelene Clark