Showtime just announced that it’s bringing beloved 1990s cult show Twin Peaks back in 2016. But how will it rate in the canon of other ‘90s TV show revivals?
In 2008, the teen-centric CW network launched 90210, a revival of Fox’s 1990-2000 teen soap Beverly Hills, 90210. It focused on new characters, but stars from the original show made frequent cameos early in the new show’s run, including Shannen Doherty, Tori Spelling, and Jennie Garth. The connections to the old show were phased out, and 90210 ultimately ran for five years. Unlike the original series, the new 90210 couldn’t launch a spinoff. Melrose Place (1992-99) was a soap about bed-hopping adults in a Hollywood apartment complex, and was a spinoff of Beverly Hills, 90210. The new 90210 in turn launched a revival of Melrose Place in 2009 starring pop star Ashlee Simpson. The revival lasted 18 barely watched episodes.
When Family Guy debuted on Fox in 1999 (after the Super Bowl), it was dismissed my critics as a knockoff of The Simpsons, but cruder. Audiences agreed, and the show’s low ratings continued to sink and it was cancelled in 2002. Shortly thereafter, Cartoon Network bought the rights to air the show in its late night “Adult Swim” programming block. Reruns began to regularly beat The Tonight Show in the ratings, and Family Guy became one of the bestselling shows on DVD ever. In 2005, Fox gave Family Guy another chance, and it’s still running as the lynchpin of the network’s Sunday night lineup.
This was an anthology show in which each episode followed a different couple in Miami Beach from start to finish, a modern-day, more salacious Love, American Style. The show was critically acclaimed, but CBS aired the show’s six episodes with little fanfare over the summer of 1992 before canceling it. However, the show might have been ahead of its time. The format of young people looking for love (or something less noble) in a glamorous locale influenced HBO’s smash hit Sex and the City. By 2000, the other networks were looking for their own take on that show, and CBS inexplicably revived Grapevine. Unfortunately, producers didn’t bother to update show too much, and the dated feel caused the new Grapevine to be canceled after five episodes.