It is a question we must all ask ourselves. In an era in which a growing number of cancelled and ended television programs are making a comeback, will the inevitable series finale in which we bid farewell to our favourite characters transform from being a permanent goodbye to a mere see you in ten years time?
This is a question show-runners must begin to ask themselves as their shows gradually come to an end. Should they send their characters away on a final note or should they leave the door open for the possibility of a Netflix reboot in years to come. Luckily, for some TV shows such as Arrested Development which have been rebooted, the door was never truly shut. Arrested Development was cancelled before its time which allowed the cast and crew to reunite and tell the stories that never had a chance to be told. On the other hand, a show like Will & Grace which did receive a proper send off will now have to figure out a way to adhere to or ignore the flash-forwards featured in their now vetoed series finale which aired in 2006. What will happen to series finales like Glee which flash-forward into the future to show us the fates of the characters?
Why is Hollywood so intent on rebooting and reviving shows the public have already said goodbye too? One reason is obviously money, the growth of streaming as well as the impact of nostalgia and using intellectual property (characters and media titles the public are already familiar with) as a way to keep the Hollywood machine churning. There are an ever growing number of television programs being developed and launched, the majority of which fail and are ultimately cancelled. Reviving older TV shows which already have a fanbase saves the network and production company money on promotion and marketing because the show is already logged into the minds of the general public. For instance, The X-Files, 24, Prison Break, Gilmore Girls, Charmed, Twin Peaks, Dynasty, and That's So Raven have not only had successful initial runs but have proven to be popular in syndication and online streaming. Another explanation as to why Hollywood is so intent on reviving your favourite television shows is due to falling ratings on linear broadcast television. Breakout hits are very rare in today's television landscape (unless you're Empire or This Is Us) and developing, producing and promoting a dozen new pilots and series only for them to be cancelled is an expensive procedure. Reviving old shows who have already survived the procedure is now appearing to be a much more attractive option.
It seems as though the trend to kill off a show's main characters in the series finale will become a thing of the past as show runners may want as many big names to return for the inevitable reboot.