There is a saying that goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” This seems to be the case with several shows that are streaming today and are binge-watching favorites among millions of viewers.
Not everyone knows the Netflix hit Stranger Things had been passed on by big networks 15 to 20 times before the streaming giant took it on. Network executives might kick themselves for letting good things go while streaming companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are reaping the benefits of what they discarded.
These streaming platforms are also banking on the readymade fan bases of canceled shows. Thanks to effective campaigns by these devoted fans, many shows that networks had axed could be resurrected.
Just two months after NBC canceled Manifest this past June, Netflix ordered a fourth and final season of the show and it became the most-watched piece of content on the platform for 27 days straight.
Nielson confirmed in August that Manifest broke its streaming-ratings records with more than a billion views a week for six straight weeks. Last month, the show even achieved a milestone by becoming the third show in Netflix history to be in its Top 10 for one hundred days.
At the time of the cancellation, Rake had tweeted: “My dear Manifesters, I’m devastated by NBC’s decision to cancel us. That we’ve been shut down in the middle is a gut punch, to say the least. Hoping to find a new home. You the fans deserve an ending to your story. Thanks for the love shown to me, cast, and crew. #savemanifest”.
Netflix obviously saw an opportunity with Manifest and jumped on it. We could say the same for the Lucifer series, which had been canceled by Fox and saved by the streaming company in 2018. The biblical supernatural drama is still one of Netflix’s most watched shows.
One of the biggest shows on Fox was Arrested Development, which ran from 2003 to 2006. The cult comedy starring Jason Bateman and Jeffrey Tambor had millions of viewers before its surprise cancellation. Netflix came in and rescued the series in 2013, licensing the show and creating a new series that ran until 2019.
Fans of the show had been so vigilant with campaigning to get the series back that an article on The Onion stated, “While we are glad that viewers are excited for Arrested Development—and we are excited as well—I would like to quickly remind people we are talking about a TV show here, and not, say, a cure for cancer, or a technology that would reverse the ruinous effects of climate change.”
This is not the first show that Netflix has given a brand-new lease on life to. While the 90s sitcom Full House was cancelled back in 1995 by ABC, it was Netflix that decided to spin off the series into a new show called Fuller House. Fuller House ran for five seasons with the last season ending in 2020.
And while The Vampire Diaries was not a show that Netflix produced themselves, the company saw an opportunity to continue airing the supernatural teen drama. The Vampire Diaries ran on CW from 2009 to 2017 and Netflix has been streaming it since 2013.
Amazon Prime is also no stranger to re-surging shows that networks moved on from. It was in 2018 that the SYFY channel pulled the plug on The Expanse. Fans had a hard time accepting the cancellation and flew a banner over Amazon’s headquarters asking them to bring it back.
Amazon listened to the requests because in July 2019, the company renewed The Expanse for a fifth season, which was released in December 2020. A sixth and final season began filming in January of this year.
It was in 2016 that streaming platform Hulu swooped in and saved The Mindy Project, starring Mindy Kaling. After five seasons on Fox the show had been axed, but Hulu brought it back for a sixth and final season.
Hulu is additionally the platform that gave MTV’s Teen Wolf a resurgence when the network canceled the show after six seasons. The show is now being revived with a new sequel movie coming to Paramount+ after creator Jeff Davis struck a new multiyear overall deal with the streamer. The deal even includes a movie following up on the 2011 show’s six seasons.
All this proves that if one’s favorite television show is cancelled, it may not really be the end.
Thanks to the action of devoted fans and streaming giants with deep pockets and huge subscriber bases, many cancelled shows have successfully been given a new chance at life to keep entertaining viewers.