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‘Save Our Show!’: Inside the Campaigns to Revive Recently Cancelled Shows Like ‘Lucifer,’ ‘Shadowhunters,’ and More

From swapping networks to returning for special finales, here's a reminder that in TV, as in "Game of Thrones," "what is dead may never die."

Fox/NBC Universal/Freeform

The only thing as dramatic as watching television is tracking the insanity behind-the-scenes, when networks and studios try to figure out which shows to save and which to cut. The decision-making process can lead to a lot of heartbreaking moments, not only for the people whose jobs depend on continuing these stories, but the fans who are rabid to see more. And in the age of social media, those fans have become far more sophisticated in how they campaign to save their favorites — shouting “save our show!” in dozens of different ways on dozens of different platforms.

2018 is only half over, but there have already been a number of shows that took their creators and fans on roller coaster rides, across broadcast TV, cable, and streaming services alike. There are still more to come, so below IndieWire has updated the statuses of six recent series that have had everyone asking “Will they or won’t they?” Some have happy endings, while others face a sadder conclusion, but the most important thing to remember these days is that literally anything can happen in television — on screen or off.

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

BROOKLYN NINE-NINE: Clockwise from top row: Andrew Braugher, Dirk Blocker, Terry Crews, Joel McKinnon Miller, Andy Samberg, Joe Lo Truglio, Melissa Fumero and Stephanie Beatriz in the “99” episode of BROOKLYN NINE-NINE airing Tuesday, Nov. 28 (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Jordin Althaus / FOX

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

Fox

Current Status: The long-running sitcom was initially canceled by Fox, but picked up by NBC in a whirlwind 48 hours last month.

Key Hashtags: #SaveB99

How Would It Have Ended? If the show had ended with the Season 5 finale, it wouldn’t have been the worst thing, if only because it’s hard to hate anything that ends with a sequence as sweet as the wedding between Jake and Amy. However, there was one major cliffhanger left unresolved at the end of the episode, and how it might affect the future should be interesting.

Arguments for Saving: What else can be said but this: Mark Hamill and Lin-Manuel Miranda demanded it.

Odds of Returning: It’s coming this fall to NBC! The Peacock knew better than to piss off Luke Skywalker and Alexander Hamilton.

The Expanse

THE EXPANSE -- "Triple Point" Episode 305 -- Pictured: Frankie Adams as Bobbie Draper -- (Photo by: Rafy/Syfy)

Current Status: The sci-fi drama was initially canceled by Syfy, but picked up by Amazon for a fourth season.

Key Hashtags: #TheExpanseLives

How Would It Have Ended? Season 3 is still airing on Syfy, so there’s no telling what fans might have been left with had the show not continued (especially given the way that the showrunners have played with the plot of the original books). But given that the show is still dealing with events from the second of eight currently published novels, odds are low the finale would’ve worked as a series ender.

Arguments for Saving: IndieWire contributor Jay Bushman presented five of them following the Syfy cancellation, and it’s nice to know that Amazon was on the same page.

Lucifer

LUCIFER: L-R: Lauren German and Tom Ellis in the ÒBoo Normal/Once Upon a TimeÓ two-hour bonus episode of LUCIFER airing Monday, May 28 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: FOX

Current Status: Fox canceled it in May, but Netflix announced plans to continue the series for a fourth season.

Key Hashtags: #SaveLucifer, #LuciferSaved

How Would It Have Ended? The Season 3 finale ended with Lucifer (Tom Ellis) exposing his true demonic face to lady detective/love interest Chloe (Lauren German), which sounds like a plotline definitely worth continuing in future episodes.

Arguments for Saving: According to this data from Insider, provided by Parrot Analytics, the Netflix pickup shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise, given that “Lucifer” has been tracking as the 13th most popular show on television right now across “social media, blogging, pirating, and other factors.” While the exact numbers they’re using aren’t available, it’s still notable, especially given its competition. (It’s ranked higher than “Supernatural”!)

“Sense8”

Sense8

Current Status: The Wachowskis’ sci-fi drama was canceled by Netflix in May 2017, but an official series finale in June 2017 is already out.

Key Hashtags: #Season3forSense8, #IAmAlsoAWe, #SaveSense8Again

Did It Get An Ending? Yes, it did! A two-and-a-half hour special reuniting the entire cast, the Netflix entry wrapped up the dangling plot threads of Season 2 and brought us the wedding fans had been hoping to see.

Arguments for Saving: Groundbreaking for its commitment to diversity and bold storytelling, the beautifully produced series delivered no shortage of powerful moments over the course of its run. It was also an expensive and complicated series to deliver.

Odds of Returning: It’s very sad to say it’s unlikely anyone will see any more of the show, as the cast moves onto new projects. But Lana Wachowski was able to deliver an ending that provided some truly beautiful closure. It’s not a third season, but it’s still a bit miraculous.

“Shadowhunters”

SHADOWHUNTERS_GROUPr6FINAL

Current Status: The cult sensation was canceled by Freeform. The first half of the third and final season finished airing in May 2018, with the second half planned for early 2019.

Key Hashtags: #SaveShadowhunters

Did It Get An Ending? Not yet, but part of the cancellation news was the announcement that two additional episodes would be produced to conclude the series.

Arguments for Saving: IndieWire is probably not the only website to get multiple emails from “Shadowhunters” fans proclaiming, in a week’s time, over six million tweets were sent with the #SaveShadowhunters hashtag, as well as a Trevor Project fundraising campaign that has so far earned more $11,000. In other words, there’s a fanbase, and it’s passionate.

Odds of Returning: Apparently the reason for “Shadowhunters'” cancellation was financial, as it was reported that production company Constantin Film lost a co-financing deal with Netflix that was supporting the series. If “Shadowhunters” was to be saved, it’d need a new financial partner (one that’s not Netflix). But fan passion has achieved crazier things than this.

Timeless

TIMELESS -- "Public Enemy No. 1" Episode 114 -- Pictured: (l-r) Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston, Matt Lanter as Wyatt Logan, Malcolm Barrett as Rufus Carlin -- (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC)

Current Status: To be determined. While most cancellation and renewal decisions for broadcast television have been made already, “Timeless” remains in flux (which is appropriate for a time travel show, but frustrating for fans).

Key Hashtags: #RenewTimeless

How Would It End? No spoilers, but a massive cliffhanger collided timelines and left a major character’s fate in jeopardy.

Arguments for Saving: Well, for one thing, “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones has some thoughts about the show not returning:

And it’s not only a fan favorite, but a potential Emmy contender, at least for its hair and wardrobe departments.

Odds of Returning: This one’s tough to predict. IndieWire asked Sony Pictures Television and NBC for comment on the show’s current status and will update this section if news becomes available, but right now we know that the show’s reversed cancellation after Season 1 was a jaw-dropping surprise. However, the ratings for Season 2 haven’t been great. However, once again, literally anything can happen these days, so perhaps no news is good news for fans — at least, for now.

UPDATE [6/22/2018]: “Timeless” has been officially canceled. However, NBC and Sony are discussing the potential for a movie-length finale to wrap up the story.

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