question of the day: Is it a good idea for Netflix and other digital providers to revive cancelled TV shows?


We’ve been hearing a lot lately about rumors that Netflix might pick up this cancelled television series, and Hulu might pick up that dead show. It wasn’t an idea that set off alarms for me, but Cory Barker at TV.com gets the claws out for it:

When reports surfaced recently that both Netflix and DirecTV were “in early talks” with Fox Television to possibly resurrect the recently axed AMC drama The Killing, all I could do was laugh. No offense to fans of The Killing—there’s a time and a place to rail against the quality of that show, and that time is “the last calendar year” and the place is “the internet”—because my laughter did not have much to do with the show itself.

No, the laughter was reserved for the misguided—and, frankly, ridiculous—game the various forces in the television industry like to play now. Every single time a show with a moderate profile gets canceled, the rumors and reports start flying. This show is going to Netflix. That show is going to Hulu. And DirecTV might be interested in both. This year alone, we’ve had to go through this silly dance with Terra Nova (because any of those outlets can support that stupid-high budget), The River, and The Secret Circle, among others that I probably lost due to rage blackouts. The Killing is the latest in a long line of shows to get buzz about a possible second life despite not really deserving it.

To Netflix, DirecTV, Hulu and anyone else who might be compelled by the idea of resurrecting a barely cold television body like they’re Pushing Daisies‘ Ned: Knock it off. I’m pleading with you. Not only is reheating nasty leftovers a bad idea for creative reasons, but it also doesn’t make a whole lot of business sense, either.

Barker’s reasons for why this concept doesn’t make business sense pretty much come to down to: It rubs me the wrong way and it’s stupid because I say so. Which becomes evident the moment he starts talking about the beloved Arrested Development, which Netflix is reviving. This idea he likes, because the show was more popular… which suggests that it isn’t the notion of digital providers picking up dead TV shows he doesn’t like, just the choice of shows.

What do you think? Is it a good idea for Netflix and other digital providers to revive cancelled TV shows? Does it really make any difference how a show gets before viewers, as long as the viewers are there to support it?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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