5 Cult TV Shows Returning In 2017
Of course Twin Peaks is here.
Ahead of us lies a fresh year, like a new layer of crisp snow. From here, at its beginning, 2017 looks flawless, unblemished by all that messy humanity which fill the years behind us. It won’t last long though. As humans we’re conditioned to stamp in the snow. Show it who’s boss. Remind it of our greatest achievements.
In the world of television, reminders of former greatness aren’t always a good idea. For every Battlestar Galactica there is a Bionic Woman or a Knight Rider. Perhaps it’s because bringing a TV show back from the dead can so often be an act of cowardice, desperation or cynicism rather than love.
As 2017 stretches in front of us, a new set of once great TV shows wait to compete for our attention. Will they capture the magic again? Or will they leave us with a sour taste in our mouths, unable to look at classic episodes the same way again?
1. Star Trek: Discovery
Of all the shows trading on nostalgia this year, Star Trek: Discovery is at the most risk of criticism from its fan base. Trekkers have been burnt too many times of late, seeing their beloved sci-fi show become a series of uneven blockbusters in a failing effort to give Paramount a summer tentpole. Discovery, then, is a chance at redemption; a dip back into the classic world of exploration and, well, discovery.
Mixing the classic social commentary and voyages into the unknown with modern serialised storytelling, Discovery has been given all the tools it needs to succeed in 2017. The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin-Green is protagonist Lieutenant Commander Rainsford. In a departure from old Star Treks, Rainsford is not a captain, but we are promised the same classic approach of tackling contemporary themes.
2. Prison Break
By the end of its original run, Prison Break had nearly collapsed in on itself from the weight of its own mythology. For three seasons we’d been told there was some sinister government conspiracy behind all the bad crap happening to brothers Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows. When light was finally cast upon this conspiracy it was a massive let down. It lacked menace, felt overblown and occasionally boarded on the ridiculous.
With its impending return, Prison Break season five looks to have smartly jettisoned the cliched conspiracy. The first trailer released last year is lazer focused on the slick tension of a prison escape and the found family dynamic of the original escapees. If this holds up throughout the new series it might just be a return to the best parts of the original show. Plus, the writers have decided to make ISIS part of the new storyline, which, y’know, might not be wise but is at least ballsy.
3. 24: Legacy
I can’t say I’m a 24 guy. Which is not to say I don’t see the appeal of Jack Bauer for all the people who wish Clint Eastwood could still star in action movies. As someone who never made it to season two I can’t tell you who anyone in 24: Legacy is or if they’re important to the show’s internal history for any reason. What I can say is that Jack Bauer has been replaced as the 24 guy by ex-army ranger Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins). Presumably Bauer has finally retired from yanking out people’s stomach linings in the name of homeland security.
24: Legacy’s trailer feels strongly like its motto is ‘what worked before will work again’. It’s like a greatest hits. There’s a bunch of foreign terrorists, a spoonful of political intrigue, a masculine American hero, lots of raw action and the same real time narration gimmick which has become 24’s signature. We won’t know for certain until it airs, but if you were a fan of 24 before you’ll likely fit back into a comfortable grove with Legacy.
Remember Ducktales? Think very carefully about your answer because it will strongly affect our chances of friendship. If you’re of a certain age, Scrooge McDuck is part of your childhood. His adventures with his grandnephews Huey, Dewey and Louie were coal to the furnace of the childhood imagination. But that’s not all! As an adult Ducktales still holds up. Its twists on classic movies, mythology and adventure stories are legitimately watchable grown up viewing.
Shut up. It is.
The reboot will (hopefully) give the kids of 2017 the same awesome stories and characters. But who cares about the kids? We want Ducktales for ourselves. The voice cast, though not the same as the original, has us salivating. Danny Pudi (Abed from Community), Kate Micucci, Ben Schwartz and Bobby Moynihan all star. And who’s voicing Scrooge McDuck, you ask? Oh, nobody. Just David Tennant. The tenth Doctor from Doctor Who. You have my permission to squee.
What actually happened to Laura Palmer? If your answer won’t fit on a postcard please don’t bother sending it. It’s been 25 years since we last heard from Special Agent Dale Cooper (or something that looked like him, anyway), and it’s a testament to Twin Peaks’ short run that people are still debating it in 2017. It all started out not far from normal too: seemingly straight laced small town high schooler Laura Palmer had been murdered. It happens in detective dramas. But Twin Peaks was no ordinary town.
Twin Peaks is no ordinary show, either. Returning for the revival are original lead Kyle MacLachlan, its original creator David Lynch and a sizable chunk of the original cast. The biggest question, though, is whether there’s any mystery left to explore or if this is just another opportunity for Lynch to play around with his weird, idiosyncratic universe. At this point, I’m not sure which fans want more.