The WB, Netflix, Fox
The WB, Netflix, Fox
Nostalgia is all the rage in Hollywood, especially when it comes to TV. The X-Files, Gilmore Girls, Fuller House, the not-really-a-reunion "Friends reunion"...the list goes on. But there is a problem with this revival madness: There's too much love for these shows, which is why the series is being revived in the first place. It's a blessing and a curse. When there are disappointing developments, they become news. When the revival fails to live up to the previous run—for whatever reason—the fans feel jilted. Perhaps the biggest example of this: What happens when the whole cast can't get back together again?
We're witnessing that now with Gilmore Girls and the upcoming Full House sequel series Fuller House. It's not a new problem; see Arrested Development's inability to get everybody together for more than one scene and the Brady Bunch's many TV movies and specials, including the 1990 revival series The Bradys for previous examples. But it is a problem nonetheless.
Bigger casts make things more difficult. People go off onto various projects and degrees of fame. Some quit acting, some have feuds with others and some, well, really can't be bothered for whatever reason. Lack of empathy for fans and others involved? Scheduling conflicts? Should it be all or nothing? Everybody signs on or nobody signs on?
Patrick Ecclesine/Warner Bros./Getty Images
The latest large cast/revival kerfuffle: Melissa McCarthy said she wasn't invited back to Gilmore Girls. The show's creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino previously said they told McCarthy's team they would write a scene for her should she be available. So…which is it? Was McCarthy not directly asked? Did her team receive the ask and know she wasn't available for the dates required and that was that? Sherman-Palladino's comments to TVLine could've come and gone had McCarthy not chimed in on Twitter. "Thanks for the invite, but sadly no one asked me or Sookie to come back to Stars Hollow," she tweeted. "Wish them all the best!!"
You can argue Melissa McCarthy isn't an essential part to Gilmore Girls' success (her character isn't a Gilmore after all), but there are still purists out there that are upset by this. And the exchange shows just how easily situations can quickly take a turn when social media is involved.
We're now in the age of SnapChat clapbacks, Twitter shade, Facebook rants and emotional Tumblr notes, everybody—fans and talent—has a chance to chime in on social media. Parties who feel they're wronged can make their voices heard instantly. Everybody has opinions and now they are sharing them left and right. Gone are the days of a message board thread and print review. Things spread like wildfire—like McCarthy's tweet—and can easily be misinterpreted. How many times have you been called out for sarcasm not coming through via text?
Just imagine what Maureen McCormick would've said about A Very Brady Christmas and The Bradys? Or what fans would've said on Twitter when they found out Nancy McKeon wasn't going to be in The Facts of Life reunion movie of 2001?
A similar situation to the Gilmore Girls drama happened with Fuller House.
Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen were told about Fuller House via a reporter and claimed they hadn't heard of the revival, the message apparently didn't make it past their team. It wasn't cleared up until there were several public comments from John Stamos and riled up fans everywhere. Things are apparently all good now and the Olsens are welcome to stop by Fuller House whenever they can, but the first episode features quite the gag acknowledging—and in a way belittling—the Olsen's absence and their reasoning behind it. Despite fan and cast outcry, the Olsens don't need Fuller House anymore. As Lori Loughlin pointed out to Stamos, they won a CFDA award, the equivalent of an Oscar in the fashion world. Still, viewers expect and want a Michelle Tanner appearance. That's fair. But it's also fair for the Olsens to not want to return to acting—something they haven't done in years, Mary-Kate since Beastly in 2011 and Ashley since 2009's The Jerk Theory.
There is so much fan-love for these revivals—hence the shows getting revived—so there will be opinions all around. Nobody will ever be happy. The X-Files got David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson together as Mulder and Scully once again (can you imagine if they hadn't?), but there are still people picking apart the new batch for other reasons, be it because they're being shown out of the original planned order, have too much fan-service, clunky writing, etc. Why? Because they can…and they care.
Fans (and critics) everywhere followed every twist and turn of the Arrested Development revival news. When the show finally premiered, it was a disappointment to many. The cast had become too in demand to truly do a whole series together. To accommodate schedules, storylines were split up. It was awkward. The best part of Arrested Development were the interactions the characters had with one another. Sending Michael Bluth off on his own just didn't work. This is why viewers should be happy Marta Kauffman and the cast of Friends have remained steadfast in a no reunion/revival policy.
First of all, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry haven't even been able to assemble for a private reunion in years. Perry missed the James Burrows special coming up on NBC because of a play. The memory of Friends is such a fond one for many, so despite their best efforts, these actors will never shake the show. They're incredibly famous (yes, yes, cry us a river), but imagine if despite your best effort of escaping the childhood nickname, millions of people still yelled it at you on the street?
John P Johnson/HBO
Has there ever been a truly successful TV revival (aside from The Comeback, of course. Kudrow was transcendent as Valerie Cherish 10 years after the first season) that wasn't met with some kind of curmudgeonly response? Be it viewers displeased with a missing cast member or a storyline, or critics calling out the fan-service nature of the project—somebody almost always has a problem with something. Do we love TV too hard to ever truly accept a revival?
Gilmore Girls will premiere at a later date on Netflix. Fuller House premieres Friday, Feb. 26 on Netflix and The X-Files airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Fox.