Old TV Shows That Should Never Be Rebooted

From The X-Files to Twin Peaks, relaunches, reboots, and retreads are the television fad of the day. Sometimes they work out, like Battlestar Galactica, which finally delivered on the squandered promise of the original. But many shows were either too good to be improved upon or too specific to their era for a reboot to make any sense. Of course, that probably won't stop Hollywood from trying, because if there's one thing studios love, it's strip-mining pop culture for easy nostalgia-fueled bucks. But seriously, Hollywood: there are some old TV shows that should simply never be rebooted. Here's proof.


Do you really need to have it explained to you why Lost should never be rebooted? Okay, there's at least one good reason to reboot it: because it didn't make a lick of sense. But Lost was so idiosyncratic, so unique and specific to itself that any attempt to recapture the magic, or even understand it, is pretty much doomed from the get go. Just look at the dozens of shows that have tried to copy Lost's formula in the last decade and failed. No, just leave Lost on the island and let it be what it is: one of the great cult enigmas in TV history.

All in the Family

You could make an argument that All in the Family is the most important and influential sitcom of all time. In fact, several of the most influential and important sitcoms of all time were themselves just spin-offs from All in the Family, including The Jeffersons and Maude. So it would be understandable if the powers that be wanted to tap into All in the Family's zeitgeist. One problem, though: that zeitgeist was inextricably tied to the 1970s. The show's no-holds-barred satirical look at race and gender politics would be fascinating to see today, but also would be completely out of context. There's just no way to do All in the Family right these days, so let's not do it at all.

The Sopranos

It's true: the ending stunk and everyone wants to know what really happened. But wonky ending or not, The Sopranos is still one of the great achievements in television history. Messing with that is like putting your head in a bear trap: it might seem like a good idea for a couple of seconds, but cold hard reality is going to settle in real quick. Plus, without the late James Gandolfini, there's really no point in even trying a Sopranos reboot. So just fuggedaboutit.

Golden Girls

The premise, like star Betty White, is timeless: put four older ladies in a house together and watch the hilarious hijinks ensue. But Golden Girls isn't about the concept, it's about the chemistry between White and her legendary co-stars, Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur, and Estelle Getty. The show is so closely identified with those four specific actors that rebooting it with anyone else would be an empty exercise in futility. When they made those ladies, they broke the mold.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

This is an interesting one, considering that the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series was itself a reboot of the film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And that obviously worked out really well. Plus, it could be argued that a butt-kicking, self-possessed heroine would resonate even more today than it did when Buffy was on the air. All good points. But lightning doesn't strike twice, and even when it does, whoever is standing there is likely to get electrocuted. The last reboot got it right. And since it's no longer broke, it no longer needs fixing.


Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, M*A*S*H was a television adaptation of a feature film. It was also about something very specific (Vietnam, despite the fact that she show was supposedly set during the Korean War). Without that cultural resonance, frankly there's no reason to do the show—which is exactly why the spin-offs that followed M*A*S*H, such as AfterMASH, failed so badly. Removing the meaning from M*A*S*H just turns it into another workplace comedy, and if you want to do that with doctors? Just reboot Scrubs or something and leave M*A*S*H alone.

The Wire

Whether or not The Wire should be rebooted depends a lot on your definition of "reboot." Here's what they should definitely not do: bring back any of the characters or plotlines from the show. What does that leave? Well, the main character in The Wire was really the city of Baltimore. Could creator David Simon potentially do a new series that similarly focuses on a different city, like Pittsburgh, San Diego, or Boston? Sure. Would that actually be a reboot, though? Probably not. A new setting would make it something totally new. And that's for the best.


There's only one person who could reboot Seinfeld, and that's Jerry Seinfeld himself. And he's got some good reasons to do it, too: hundreds of millions of them in fact. So far, though, he's resisted that temptation, despite the fact that every network in existence and just about every fan on Earth would jump at the chance to get more episodes. But Jerry knows the truth: Seinfeld was great, but its time is past. Here's hoping he remembers that, no matter how much money they throw at him.

The West Wing

Finally, there's The West Wing. The first two seasons, which came out during the Clinton administration, were good. Not great, mind you, but fun. However, it was during the Bush administration and particularly after 9/11 that The West Wing really found its voice. Just as M*A*S*H was about Vietnam and All in the Family was about the effects of the Civil Rights and Equal Rights movements on average Americans, The West Wing was about facing the personal and political fears that gripped our nation following the terrorist attacks. The West Wing still means something to fans now because it meant something very specific and necessary to fans then. But it's something absolutely nobody is nostalgic for. This is one favorite show that's better left in the past.