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The Best Canceled Shows That Deserve a ‘Deadwood’-Style Movie Wrap-Up – IndieWire Critics Survey

From "Hannibal" to "Freaks and Geeks," these TV series would benefit from one last visit to tie up the loose ends.

Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, "Hannibal"

Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, “Hannibal”


Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Tuesday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best show currently on TV?” can be found at the end of this post.)

This week’s question: Inspired by the return of “Deadwood,” what’s another show that deserves a movie follow-up /wrap-up?

Joyce Eng (@joyceeng61), GoldDerby

I’m going to be that person and say nothing deserves a follow-up. Sure, some shows “deserve” one, like “Deadwood,” but nothing really does. Things end and that’s OK! Even if it’s a frustrating non-ending or cliffhanger because you got canceled. There are too many things continuing and being rebooted and revived that don’t need to be. And yes, I know there’s a huge difference between ending on your own terms and getting abruptly axed with no closure, but I’d rather just be content with what I already got than hope a two-hour movie 10 years later lives up to my expectations. Because let’s be real, most of the time they don’t. That being said, would I like more “Hannibal”? Sure. Do I need to see what happened on Lindsay and Kim’s summer with the Grateful Dead on “Freaks and Geeks”? Definitely. Could I watch “Happy Endings” for another five years? Easily. Do I want any of this to happen? Nope.

Daniel Fienberg (@TheFienPrint), The Hollywood Reporter

This is a trend that generally doesn’t interest me because it tends to be more driven by fan service, selling out the overall tone and arc of the series rather than narrative necessity. Like as both cinema and storytelling, the “Veronica Mars” movie was a bloody embarrassment and I really, really, really hope the Hulu series is a correction of that, rather than a continuation. And I pray that “Deadwood” doesn’t go in that direction. Ditto with whatever “Breaking Bad” thing Vince Gilligan is working on. I trust Gilligan and Milch, but it’s not like the “Veronica Mars” movie wasn’t made by Rob Thomas, so merely sticking with the creators is not a recipe for guaranteed success. With that in mind, I’m gonna keep this answer simple: At some point, I saw somebody who wasn’t me — or at least I don’t think it was me? — suggest a “Freaks and Geeks” follow-up movie set 15 years after the events of the show, so in the mid-‘90s, that’s basically “The Big Chill,” with the characters coming together for Daniel Desario’s (James Franco) funeral. This is a thing that I would watch.

"Freaks and Geeks"

“Freaks and Geeks”

Apatow Prod/REX/Shutterstock

Damian Holbrook (@damianholbrook), TV Guide Magazine

So, my therapist says that I still haven’t dealt with my anger from The CW’s cancellation of “The Tomorrow People,” but since that was already a reboot, I would guess a follow-up movie would be asking way too much. So I will go a little further back into my TV-induced trauma and say “The Nine Lives of Chloe King.” Yes, two years after the ABC Family drama’s 10-episode run ran out, Alloy Entertainment mercifully released the unfilmed follow-up movie script online, but that was just a PDF. I want to see Skyler Samuels kicking cat-people ass. I want to see the always underrated Alicia Coppola (as the leader of Chloe’s tribe, the Mai) being fabulous and nefarious. And most of all, I want to see how Dan Fienberg from The Hollywood Reporter would handle his ‘shipping campaign for #Chlamy (Grave Phipps really was delightful as Chloe’s bestie, Amy). Sadly, there is no more ABC Family, so this is a pipe dream, too. Maybe if I light enough candles and say enough prayers, someone will realize that we desperately also need a wrap-up flick for Fox’s “Pitch” because it was fucking great.

Clint Worthington (@clintworthing), Consequence of Sound, The Spool

While shows like “Star Trek Discovery”, “The Orville”, and “The Expanse” are keeping the long-lost art of the space opera alive, it felt like the death of the “Stargate” franchise in 2011 with the cancellation of “Stargate Universe” was the death knell for high-quality pew-pew action on the small screen. To be fair, “Universe” made the decision to end it pretty easy; a grim and gritty spinoff of the normally light-hearted action-adventure series, “Stargate Universe” was the product of Sci-Fi Channel execs hoping to launch their hip “Syfy” rebranding with a show closer in tone to the recently ended “Battlestar Galactica.” The tale of an embattled Earth expedition lost in space aboard a broken-down ancient spaceship on the other side of the universe, “Universe” was way too much of a moody bummer in its first season, driving away enough dedicated “Stargate” viewers that its more assured second season was ignored in favor of a quick cancellation.

Another unfortunate casualty of Syfy’s misguided rebranding was the untimely cancellation of the extremely-charming “Stargate Atlantis” (co-starring, ironically, a pre-“Aquaman” Jason Momoa, making that the second time he’s been tasked with defending the lost underwater city) to make room for “Universe,” a show fans came around to only too late. An abortive attempt to do a last-ditch TV movie closing up the stories of all three Stargate shows (including inaugural show “Stargate SG-1”) was stymied by the end of the DVD era and MGM closing down, but it would have been nice to get some closure for both spinoffs that died on the vine. The show’s producers have long detailed their potential plans for what the big event movie would look like; just hinge the whole thing around Momoa now that he’s a megastar, and let the rest fall into place.



Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall), Rolling Stone

Am I just allowed to say “none”?

Okay, if not, let me say that at this stage of the Undead TV era, the only shows that I really care about seeing revived are ones whose original endings were abrupt and/or beyond the control of the creative team. “Deadwood” absolutely qualifies. (And is also such an order of magnitude better than every other show — excluding maybe “Twin Peaks” — to be revived in the last few years that it has more leeway to be lesser version of itself than, say, “Murphy Brown” did.) So if John Landgraf is feeling charitable one day and decides that a new season of “Terriers” would be an ideal addition to his larger portfolio at Disney/Fox, great. If Apatow and Feig can somehow wrangle together the “Freaks and Geeks” cast for a sequel where Lindsay Weir is a middle-aged mom with her own kids (and/or Winnie Holzman doing the same with Angela Chase from ”My So-Called Life”), by all means. And even “Freaks and Geeks” got to make an ending, with Lindsay getting on the bus to follow the Grateful Dead, so it doesn’t feel all that essential (on top of being wildly impractical to make). But beyond those kinds of very special cases, I’d much rather see new things rather than sequels to shows that were of their time and are better off staying there.

James “Hercules” Strong (@hercAICN), Ain’t It Cool News

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” I see enormous potential in what Xander, Willow, Cordelia, Spike, Oz and Buffy might be up to in their 40s. I fear I’d only be keen, though, if Joss Whedon pens the script. Nicholas Brendon is 48 and Anthony Stewart Head is 65. So tick tock.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

20th Television

April Neale (@aprilmac), Monsters & Critics

Going in the way-back machine, I really love Bruno Heller’s storytelling sensibilities and felt shortchanged with the ending of his HBO series “Rome,” which wrapped after two years in 2007 because of production costs in Italy. It had an incredible cast and the meaty story of Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson) and even Atia of the Julii were taken away far too soon, in my opinion. The good news is we will get Polly Walker back as Bet Sikes’ (Paloma Faith) sister in Heller and Danny Cannon’s “Pennyworth” for EPIX this summer. She’s a scene stealer, watch for her.

Ben Travers (@BenTTravers), IndieWire

Is it too soon to say “The First”? I think the “correct” answer would be “Enlightened” or “John From Cincinnati” (gotta stick with the theme), but I’m still hankering for a little finality with Beau Willimon’s criminally undervalued Hulu series. While it certainly worked best in a serialized format, the mission to Mars drama was on the brink of becoming a true space story, meaning its already outstanding visuals and technical details would be elevated to new creative highs as Sean Penn’s commander made the journey to the Red Planet. There are plenty of questions to be answered — primarily, how Denise (Anna Jacoby-Heron) deals with her father’s multi-year absence — but, at the very least, a cinematic sequel could tell us who kept playing around with those quarters. It’s a question for the ages, and someone’s gotta answer it, gosh darn it.

The First -- "Two Portraits" - Episode 105 - Denise confronts her turbulent upbringing as she paints a portrait of her late mother, revisiting a lifetime of joy and trauma. Diane Hagerty (Melissa George) and Denise Hagerty (Anna Jacoby-Heron), shown. (Photo by: Paul Schiraldi/Hulu)

Melissa George and Anna Jacoby-Heron in “The First”

Paul Schiraldi/Hulu

Todd VanDerWerff (@tvoti), Vox

I would love to see a wrap-up movie for “Freaks and Geeks” with the following caveat: Time has continued to pass for the characters at the same rate it has in our world. This means if the movie aired this fall (20 years after the series debuted), it would take place in the early 2000s. Do I NEED to know what happened to these characters? Nah. But as with “Deadwood,” seeing the passage of time through their eyes could prove fruitful and moving.

Jacob Oller (@JacobOller), Paste Magazine

My answer is an old standby: “Clone High.” The animated show – focused on the high school antics of historical figures’ teen clones – gave Phil Lord and Chris Miller a TV comedy cult back when the pair were in their 20s. Now that the creative duo behind “The Lego Movie” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” has much more (and much more high-profile) experience making TV, film, and animation, a straight-to-VOD film that makes up for the show’s untimely demise has the potential for greatness. Not only would it tell fans what happened after a surreal cliffhanger where John Stamos, Abe Lincoln, JFK, Joan of Arc, Gandhi, Cleopatra, and the Secret Board of Shadowy Figures were all frozen in a meat locker (at prom, no less!), it would give Lord and Miller the chance to revisit the creation that kicked off their career. Clone High was a one-season wonder with the exciting, weirdo energy of two friends let loose; its wrap-up movie could imbue that same hilarity with depth, closure, and jokes that have been brewing in Lord and Miller’s minds since the early 2000s. The “to be continued…” hurts upon every rewatch, but Will Forte’s whispered “Jcl” (a combination of his two love interests, Joan and Cleopatra) stings even more.

Clone High

“Clone High”


Diane Gordon (@thesurfreport), Freelance

“Mad Men” is the show that immediately comes to mind because when the show ended, Don Draper was chanting at an EST-like retreat and had an epiphany that (probably?) led to him to create the famous “I’d Like To Teach The World to Sing” Coca-Cola campaign. I want to know if he ever returned to New York or if more likely, he settled in Los Angeles and became Jay Chiat, opening his own agency and embracing New Age-y thinking and practices. I’d also love to see a montage of the ways Don has reinvented himself in the years since we last saw him.

I’d love to see a TV movie and/or limited series that checks in on characters we grew to love: are Peggy Olsen and Stan still together? Did Roger Sterling get married again? What’s Sally Draper doing now and does she ever talk to her father? Is Joan Holloway’s production company successful and how are she and her son (fathered by Roger) Kevin doing? Are Pete and Trudy Campbell and their daughter still living in the midwest?

The “Mad Men” stories were often sad and had characters yearning for different circumstances. As the series ended, Matthew Weiner balanced both sad and happy moments as Betty Francis was sick with cancer and faced her final days, while Stan finally confessed to Peggy that he was in love with her and she realized she loved him too. But all roads lead back to Don Draper and so too should any project revisiting the show. While my hunch is that Jon Hamm is probably loath to revisit the character that made him a star, I’d love to see what he would bring to it now that he’s got some perspective and distance from the series. It’s been wonderful watching Hamm in a variety of comedies and dramas, ranging from “30 Rock” to a “Black Mirror” Christmas episode and the gritty film “Baby Driver”; Kiernan Shipka is the perfect Sabrina in “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”; Alison Brie was charming and funny on “Community” and Elisabeth Moss’s performance in “The Handmaid’s Tale” continues to impress viewers. It’s not that I want anyone’s career to move backward, I’m just curious to revisit these beautifully drawn characters and find out what they’ve been up to since we last saw them.

Jon Hamm as Don Draper - Mad Men _ Season 7, Episode 14 - Photo Credit: Justina Mintz/AMC

“Mad Men”

Justina Mintz/AMC

Daniel D’Addario (@DPD_), Variety

I tend to think the potential downside for any series getting a movie wrap-up is far too high to make it a worthwhile endeavor – consider “Sex and the City,” whose finale left some fans cold but whose big-screen returns put a dent in the show’s legacy. And it’s hard to think of a serialized drama series that would benefit from such a follow-up — shows with long-running plotlines over seasons would seem to adapt poorly to the vastly shorter runtime of a feature film. Rather than condensing a season’s worth of plot action into a movie, why not do the opposite, and expand a departed hourlong procedural? Much in the way CBS used to bring back Jessica Fletcher for films after “Murder, She Wrote” ended, I think NBC could get great goodwill, and give Sam Waterston and Jesse L. Martin a bit of work, by bringing back “Law & Order” for a movie — less a wrap-up than a chance for viewers to enjoy the show’s characters and format, stretched a bit to make room for an extra twist or two. This show, an elastic one ended entirely due to market realities and not for creative reasons, is a world it seems hazard-free to revisit.

Liz Shannon Miller (@lizlet), IndieWire

I wonder how many “Firefly” joke answers you’re going to get in answer to this question — honestly, in looking into it I was surprised by how many examples we now have of beloved franchises getting a second chance to wrap things up.

However, I’m still pretty bummed about two things: One, that the Marvel Netflix series were summarily canceled over the course of the last six months (including some pretty significant cliffhangers for a few of the characters) and two, that “The Defenders,” Marvel’s attempt to unite all four of the Netflix series for one massive adventure, wasn’t that great. Since I doubt that the third and last season of “Jessica Jones” will bring in any of the other series for some closure, call it a two-for-one deal: Wrap up the stories of Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Punisher, and yes, even Iron Fist (as well as their friends) with one big final adventure, and pay original “Daredevil” showrunner Drew Goddard whatever amount of money he wants to make sure that it’s good.

(This will never ever happen, but let a girl dream.)

"Agent Carter"

“Agent Carter”

Michael Desmond/ABC/Marvel TV/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers from “Avengers: Endgame.”]

Kaitlin Thomas (@thekaitling), TVGuide.com

A long time ago I would have said the show most deserving of a follow-up film was “Veronica Mars.” But then we actually got a “Veronica Mars” follow-up film, and we’re also getting eight more episodes of the show this summer, so I can’t say “Veronica Mars” anymore. There might have also been a time I’d have said “Hannibal,” but I’d rather have another season instead. And I’ve accepted that “Terriers” is simply a perfect one-season show. So, after thinking about it, here’s my answer: “Marvel’s Agent Carter.”

I know it’s kind of weird to want a follow-up film for a TV show that was spun off from a major Marvel film, but – here is your spoiler warning, I guess – after the events of Avengers: Endgame, I realized just how much I miss seeing Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter (and James D’Arcy’s Jarvis too!) Just briefly seeing her in those scenes in 1970, and again at the end of the movie, reminded me that her individual story always felt far too short. Peggy is a true and honest delight. Part of that is because Hayley is a delight and that shines through in her performance, but part of that is also because Peggy is everything I’ve ever wanted from a heroine. I could watch her brilliantly show up everyone in the world every day for the rest of my life and truly never get bored by it. She knows her value, and that is simply something that cannot be overstated in 2019.

Of course, a follow-up “Agent Carter” film is kind of tricky now since Cap reunited with Peggy in the past, causing a new timeline to branch off, in “Endgame.” I don’t know how Marvel would handle a follow-up film because of this, but I would honestly take more Peggy Carter any way I could get her (the new animated Disney+ series What If…? can’t come soon enough, is what I am saying). And if, in this hypothetical situation, that meant a follow-up movie that featured Cap and Peggy together (yes, I know Chris Evans is done playing Cap; let me live in this fantasy world for a minute), I’d happily fork over all my money to make it happen. But I’d also be just as happy if we got a follow-up film in the show’s original timeline too. Basically, just give me more Peggy Carter.

Q: What is the best show currently on TV?*

A: “Barry” (three votes)

Other contenders: “Game of Thrones,” “Killing Eve,” “Ramy” and “Veep” (two votes each), “Doom Patrol,” “The Good Fight,” and “I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson” (one vote each)

*In the case of streaming services that release full seasons at once, only include shows that have premiered in the last month.

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