We’re living in the age of TV reboots and spin-offs. Some are surprisingly great, and some are quite obviously terrible, but either way, it seems like recycling or building on great ideas is the way to make TV these days.
Creators and stars alike are excited about the possibility of a reboot — but what about the fans? We know that there are some shows that are just way too historically important to be touched. From ’90s sitcoms to ’00s dramas, these series helped to shape our lives, and shouldn’t be rebooted. We simply refuse to allow them retooled for a new audience.
There’s been talk of a Friends reunion for years. No surprise there — for 10 years, it was NBC’s gem, and as soon as our favorite Central Perk pals were gone, we wanted more (we don’t dare speak of Joey).
Conflicting rumors surrounding a reunion aside, rebooting this pop culture phenomenon when be a travesty. It would be impossible to recreate the chemistry of the original group, anyway. Better stick to similar 30-something groups of friends shows (see: How I Met Your Mother, Happy Endings, etc.) that aren’t trying to be exactly the same thing.
15. The Wire
HBO’s The Wire did something no show had ever done before — or has ever done since. It was a shockingly real portrayal of the inner workings of a city (Baltimore) from various perspectives: The cops, the drug dealers, the politicians, the media, and more. And the effects of this groundbreaking series have been felt for years after.
There’s simply no way anyone could do justice to the original, which was a snapshot of a time that has since passed (despite many of the same issues still ailing our cities). Besides, this is the show that first brought us Idris Elba and a young Michael B. Jordan — what are the chances that a reboot would bring the same level of talent?
14. Friday Night Lights
Though a spin-off of a film itself, the TV drama Friday Night Lights stands firmly on its own. Small town life in the south (“Texas forever!”) centered around a love of high school football is a concept that still rings true today, so a reboot could be considered.
But let’s be real: No one could ever match the perfect chemistry of Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler as the football coach and his educator wife. Interestingly, the concept is now headed back to the big screen, but it’s in the form of a “reimagining” of the book, so chances are it won’t step on the toes of the series.
13. The Office
Technically, The Office already had a reboot: The American version that we know and love famously came from the original British series of the name. But in one of the rare cases of an U.S. remake (arguably) outshining its foreign predecessor, this beloved sitcom introduced us to the mockumentary format and — more importantly — some of our favorite comedic actors.
All of this evidence leads one to believe that a reboot would be sacrilegious. There could never be another Jim and Pam, another Michael Scott, or another Kelly Kapoor. These characters are so important to audiences that attempting to recreate them would be an affront to their memory. There’s been talk of it being in the works, but since Steve Carell dipped out on the original series and likely wouldn’t return for this one, we’re going to give it a hard “no.”
It’s hard to imagine a time before the cry of “six seasons and a movie,” and before we met the Greendale gang, but that time was less than 10 years ago. Community experienced more ups and downs than most shows in its six-year run, though most would say there were more good times than bad.
Now, we await the final part of the as-yet-unfulfilled chant. It seems unlikely that anyone would dare reboot Community before fans get their movie, and though it’s still been years since the poorly reviewed final season, they’ll continue to hold out until Dan Harmon delivers on his promise.
11. Breaking Bad
If you slept on Breaking Bad, you missed out on what’s generally considered one of the best dramas of the last decade. Walter White’s conflicted life and the characters who he met along the way (namely Jesse) struck a major chord with audiences, even those who didn’t think they could love such an anti-hero.
Luckily, no one is trying to reboot this remarkable series. Better Call Saul, a prequel following the eponymous lawyer who aided White, has been the perfect antidote to those missing the original, telling a completely new story with a similar jarring edge.
10. The Sopranos
What can be said about The Sopranos that hasn’t been said? The HBO crime series is a work of art, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who had seen it who wasn’t ready to gush over their favorite moments. But it’s been off the air for more than 10 years now — doesn’t it seem like it would be prime for a reboot?
Thankfully, this doesn’t seem to be on any network’s radar. And after the passing of Tony Soprano himself (actor James Gandolfini), there is probably even less interest in trying to step into his shoes. Seriously, no one should even be thinking about touching this one.
There are plenty of medical dramas, and a few medical comedies, but none like Scrubs. The heartfelt series ran for eight perfect seasons (we don’t like to talk about the Med School years), and was a surprisingly accurate look at life in a hospital.
It seems very unlikely that any reboot could capture the chemistry of the actors and the excellent writing the show offered up. While creator Bill Lawrence has had some success since, Scrubs was truly his masterpiece, and we bet he’s happy to leave it untouched.
8. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
For awhile there in the ‘80s and ‘90s, fresh comedic talents were entrusted with leading an entire show in which they played a character somewhat similar to themselves (and usually bearing their own name). These series were met with varying degrees of success, but none can match the pop culture perfection that was The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Today, Will Smith is an action star, but he was once a young man from Philadelphia who, after exhibiting his musical and comedic talents, landed his own NBC show — about a young man named Will Smith who moves to L.A. The sitcom was, like Scrubs, surprisingly sweet, and could similarly never be replicated. Good thing no one seems up to the challenge.
7. Golden Girls
A sitcom about a group of senior citizen women likely wouldn’t be greenlit today, so it’s kind of unfathomable to imagine how it happened in an even less feminist time. However it occurred, Golden Girls is to this day one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time, more than 25 years after it went off the air.
The series launched a few spin-offs, but none truly hit the tone of the original. While this is one that seems prime to be rebooted, most would prefer that it wasn’t. There’s just no one like those original ladies that can warm our hearts.
6. 3rd Rock From the Sun
There actually is quite a bit of reboot potential here. A sci-fi sitcom about a group of aliens stuck on Earth and made to pretend they’re a family, the hijinks that ensued during 3rd Rock from the Sun’s six-season run are distinct to the show, and have yet to be truly emulated since.
The show that launched the career of Joseph Gordon-Levitt has faded away from memory for many, but it’s hard to imagine how a reboot would work in today’s world. Technology is a big part of the series, and much of the humor would no longer make a lot of sense.
5. I Love Lucy
There is no I Love Lucy without Lucille Ball — that’s just a fact. While she was the inspiration for many female comedians in the years that followed, no one can truly emulate her immaculate physical comedy, nor should they try to.
Though the premise would be simple enough to recreate, this is one show that is completely tethered to its star. Fortunately, considering how well-respected and honored the series is, it’s hard to believe that anyone would have the gall to try and reboot Lucy.
4. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
Children’s educational programming is still a thing, of course, but there’s nothing on TV like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. And there likely never will be again, just like there has never been a man quite like Fred Rogers since his passing.
The story of this remarkable man is finally making its way to the public in both documentary and biographical film form, but as for the show that made him famous, that’s staying safely locked away. Though there is still so much kids (and adults) could learn from a program like this today, it just wouldn’t be the same without Rogers himself at the helm.
3. Sex and the City
When it comes to iconic female-led series, Sex and the City is on almost every list, despite its many flaws. Yes, Carrie is a very flawed (and often infuriating) protagonist, and the show didn’t approach every issue in the way it might today. But it’s still undeniably an important part of TV history.
There’s never been an attempt at a reboot (despite what some may think of Girls), but there was a prequel of sorts that made it to series: The Carrie Diaries. The show was generally considered a flop and was canceled after two seasons. Still, it managed not to taint the original by keeping its distance, a lesson for anyone thinking of rebooting it.
This one’s different from all the others on the list because there actually is a reboot coming to The CW this fall with a whole new set of actors. The problem, however, is that most of the fans of the original show – including pretty much every actress associated with the OG Charmed Ones – are completely against seeing the story played out without Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, Shannen Doherty and/or Rose McGowan‘s involvement. Holly has been particularly outspoken about her disproval of the newly casted series, but it’s full-steam ahead at The CW.
While it’s cool to see more diversity in the cast this time around (non-White and LGBTQ+ characters leading the trio), maybe it would’ve been more successful if marketed as an entirely different show (which it seems to be), rather than a reboot.
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Fans of this supernatural series are as loyal as they come, and with good reason: The show was not only a well-written feast of metaphors and study of very human relationships, but it started a wave of fantasy TV that has continued to this day (Supernatural, for one).
A small attempt at continuing the magic was made in the form of a short-lived animated series, but ever since, there are simply rumors floating around at conventions and the like. Most agree that a reboot made without at least some involvement from OG creator Joss Whedon and some of the stars would be a travesty. So while he remains focused on other projects, this one seems unlikely. At least we still have the comics.