Vintage Renewals: Full House, X-Files, and More
By: Connor Lenahan
Seriously, this might actually be happening. According to Deadline Hollywood apparently Netflix is close to bringing back Full House, the show that everyone between the ages of 18-25 grew up with, for a thirteen episode season through the streaming platform. Look at the date, it’s April 2nd. I swear this is actually a thing, here’s proof.
What immediately strikes me as interesting about this announcement is the show that’s being revived. The past few years have allowed for more than a few iconic television shows to be renewed for extra seasons – 24 and Arrested Development come to mind immediately. Just recently there have been announcements that The X-Files will return for six more episodes while Twin Peaks might not be back next year after all. Take a second to catch your breath and review all of that again.
That is a lot of old television coming back to the air for more. It’s not like shows hadn’t been revived in the past, but that was normally only seen in an extra season being given during a show’s original run. My brain is struggling to find examples that don’t come from the recent past of shows being outright resurrected for viewers. It’s one thing for Community to somehow continue to live into its 6th season despite almost being canceled every season after its first. It’s an entire other to see Full House regroup despite the fact that the last time they were on television was a year before my brother Chase was born, and he’s a freshman at Syracuse. That’s a really, really long time difference. Hell, the time in-between seasons will be close to how long I’ve been alive (1995-2015/2016).
I heistate on forecasting the merits of the series revival yet as it isn’t official, and frankly, beside the point. In a cynical sense Netflix is throwing a reunion for a key series for my generation because it knows through our collective reactions to the addition of Friends and Gilmore Girls to the site that we will watch it all immediately. Inevitably I will do just this should Fuller House, which is actually the title, come to fruition. The elementary and middle school student in my soul is emotionally invested in how Michelle grew up, and the television student in me is mesmerized about the questions that will now surround which Olsen twin will play the adult Michelle. They’re no longer strictly identical, and now my interest in the series has quadrupled.
After watching the entirety of 30 Rock in the past few months I stumbled upon one of the finest jokes of the series. Jack Donaghy shows Liz Lemon the priorities for NBC as a network. Coming in behind “The Biggest Loser” is “Make it 1997 Again Through Science of Magic.” For those that don’t know television schedules by heart, 1997 NBC had Friends, Frasier, and ER on the same night. This meant that three of the top five rated programs on television were on the same channel within hours of each other. The line is funnier because I can promise you that NBC would most likely collectively sell its soul to the devil to actually have this come true.
This joke is also fascinating to me all over again given these consistent revivals. It’s less that I think channels are out of new ideas – much the opposite. If you want to build a audience for a new show you base it around your heaviest draws. The lead in audience for Empire is roughly the most valuable commodity that any network has at the moment. That’s fairly basic in television. These revivals are done to get awareness of the network and make strategic plays for the betterment of the network. It’s not a bad move from a business aspect, and fans get to benefit. Frankly, it’s a win-win.
What’s fascinating now is that there are avenues that have never existed for shows. Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and now Yahoo all are throwing weight around with networks and HBO to find an ever evolving audience that will flock to their laptops as fast as they go to their flatscreen. What this means is that no television commodity is truly dead until we get confirmation. And even then, never say die.
For fans like me, this is officially the most interesting time to be a TV viewer. The rules have been largely thrown out. Anything is possible. Enjoy the ride, it’s going to be delightfully unpredictable.