10 Best TV Reboots and Revivals That Made It Work

by Susan Ryant

Whether starting from scratch with a new cast or picking up where they left off, bringing back an old TV property is always dangerous territory. And with people complaining how Hollywood is creatively dehydrated, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that no new content has been hatched lately. Every new show on TV is either an adaptation, a sequel, a spinoff, or the most mocked of them all: reboots and revivals.

As many would point out, these reboots and revivals are a clever way of using nostalgia and attachment to the originals to bring money into pockets, and quality compromise isn't even frowned upon. But despite their colleagues, some fish in this sea have made drastic progress on reboots and revivals. Some of these are veritable masterpieces that bring fresh perspectives to old memories, serving a perfect blend.

‘Veronica Mars’ (2004-2007) and ‘Veronica Mars’ (2019)

Veronica Mars from Veronica Mars sitting alone

A high school student in a small town, Veronica Mars' (Kristen Bell) biggest problem is being dumped by her boyfriend. But that is until her best friend is murdered and her father, well-respected County Sheriff Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni), is ousted as Sheriff. So when her father enlists her help, together, they investigate the mystery that haunts the fictional seaside town of Neptune.

The entire run was a smoke show, but a disaster finale undermined its heroine's trauma and turned off many longtime fans. While the ending of Veronica Mars leaves much to be desired, the rest was a welcome return that built a wholesome plot on nostalgia while also extraordinarily evolving the overarching narrative of the city of Neptune.

‘Doctor Who’ (1963-1989) and ‘Doctor Who’ (2005-)

‘Doctor Who’ (1963-1989) and ‘Doctor Who’ (2005-)

Perhaps the only show with a built-in ability to reboot itself, Doctor Who is the longest-running sci-fi series in TV history. After 26 glorious seasons, the show finally ran its course in 1989. A rather vague attempt to revive it in the 90s failed terribly, but in 2005, Russell T Davies successfully relaunched the show with Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper as the main leads.

The sensational tale of an immortal traveler through time and space, the new Who honors mythology as much as it challenges it. With a new female doctor discovering transformative mysteries of Time Lord lore, Doctor Who has become one of the most beloved reboots.

‘DuckTales’ (1987-1990) and ‘DuckTales’ (2017-2021)

‘DuckTales’ (1987-1990) and ‘DuckTales’ (2017-2021)

If there was an 80s version of modern-day SpongeBob Squarepants , DuckTales would be the correct answer. The show ran for over three seasons and broadcasted over 100 episodes. The show is about the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his grandnephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

When Disney XD rebooted Ducktales in 2017, no one expected it to become a compelling serialized saga, but the note-worthy performances of David Tennant, Danny Pudi, Ben Schwartz, and Lin Manuel-Miranda brought the show to a broader spotlight.

‘The Flash’ (1990-1991) and ‘The Flash’ (2014-)

Iris and Barry from The Flash standing together

The Flash was way ahead of its time when it was first launched in 1990. Then, it was a simpler time for comic book adaptations without much scope for improvement or for crossovers and multiverses. But thanks to the development - Arrowverse, to be more specific - The Flash came back with a bang in 2014. Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) first appeared on The CW show Arrow in 2013, which was later used as a medium to reintroduce the world to Flash.

Running strong for eight seasons, the reboot is loved by fans worldwide. But despite its success, the show never forgot its roots. John Wesley Shipp, who played Allen in the original CBS series, plays Allen's dad in the reboot.

‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ (2003-2007) and ‘Queer Eye’ (2018-)

‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ (2003-2007) and ‘Queer Eye’ (2018-)

When Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was first released in 2003, not even a single state had legalized gay marriage, and its impact was unprecedented. Five gay men, tearing down cultural boundaries, giving a complete makeover - from food to wardrobe to decor to hair - to straight men who require it, on primetime television. After two seasons, the show widened its scope to those of all genders and sexual orientations and named it Queer Eye .

Over a decade after the original ended, Netflix rebooted Queer Eye, and the response was earth-shattering. Tear-jerking tales of hardship and emotion wrapped in episodes of 45 minutes, Queer Eye was one of the best and most popular reboots ever.

‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ (1990-2000) and ‘90210’ (2008-2013)

‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ (1990-2000) and ‘90210’ (2008-2013)

After years of hiding in the darkness of nostalgia, America's favorite zip code, 90210, resurfaced in to spotlight when CW decided to reboot Beverly Hills, 90210 in 2008. Following a similar storyline, the reboot featured a fresh yield of privileged high schoolers, including Erin Silver (Jessica Stroup), the half-sister of Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), and David Silver (Brian Austin Green) from the original series.

While the show did not surpass or even reach the popularity of the original, the show was creative in its stride and engaged an entirely new generation craving a drama that mixed teenage life with the rich, glamorous lifestyle.

‘Boy Meets World’ (1993-2000) and ‘Girl Meets World’ (2014-2017)

‘Boy Meets World’ (1993-2000) and ‘Girl Meets World’ (2014-2017)

While theirs wasn't the greatest love story of all time, Boy Meets World 's Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel) are almost at the same level as Friends' Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Schitt's Creek 's David (Dan Levy) And Patrick (Noah Reid). So fans were over the moon when the Disney Channel announced the reboot of Boy Meets World with Cory and Topanga's daughter, Riley (Rowan Blanchard).

The show, Girl Meets World , was released 14 years after its predecessor's run ended. While set in a new generation, the reboot had many similarities to the original and featured flashbacks and cameos from Boy Meets World.

‘One Day At A Time’ (1975-1984) and ‘One Day At A Time’ (2017-2020)

Syd, Alex and Elena from One Day At A Time Standing Together

It is an achievement to make a reboot as good as the original show, but it is a miracle to take a great show and make an even better version. And that is precisely what happened when Norman Lear rebooted his own long-running CBS sitcom, One Day At A Time , the story of a veteran single mother who lives with her Cuban mother and two children. But being a Latina mom to these children isn't as easy as one may think.

Rebooting shows might be reasonably easy, but rebooting a Norman Lear show takes a lot of nerve, which is part of why only Lear would dare do it. The show used some of the same themes but focused on modern topics of social interest and captured the hearts of millions worldwide.

‘iCarly’ (2007-2012) and ‘iCarly’ (2021-)

Freddie, Carly, and Spencer from iCarly standing together

When Nickelodeon's popular teen sitcom, iCarly , was rebooted in 2021, fans were over the moon. While all the same characters came back for the new iCarly, Sam (Jennette McCurdy) did not make it to the reboot. To adapt to modern timings, Carly (Miranda Cosgrove) is now a social media influencer, and the show involves her in modern media, including memes and ASMRs. Freddie (Nathan Kress) is still the show's technical producer and is now using just one handheld device instead of the numerous he tackled in the original.

With Sam out of the picture, Carly and Freddie's relationship takes a new turn as the now-single father realizes he never got over Carly. With new additions to the cast and modern equipment in tow, the new iCarly gained instant momentum and became one of the best reboots ever.

‘The Office’ (2001-2003) and ‘The Office’ (2005-2013)

Michael Scott from The Office talking on the phone

U.S. remakes of U.K. T.V. shows have a track record of being better than the original, and it all started with The Office . A quirky boss, his displeased employees, and hilarious 30-minute episodes of their shenanigans. Nothing could go wrong. But it did. While both versions of the show had an equal number of characters and the same starting plot, the U.S. version appreciated each character's individual contribution and gave them a chance to improve.

In both cases, these employees worked for large paper companies, but while the U.K. version focused on the dullness of life, the U.S. version was filmed at Scranton's "Electric City," a real-life U.S. office, made the first episode even better. The Office (U.S.) did drastically better than its counterpart and ran for over nine glorious seasons.

NEXT: Movie Remakes That Had No Business Being Made