How The Internet Can Save Cult TV Shows

doctor who

Cult TV shows have extremely dedicated followings.  These are the types of shows that the average person will say “Oh, I’ve never heard of it”, but that a fan of the show can talk for hours about.  These are the types of shows that if you can find another fan, you will automatically become their best friend, specifically bonding over your love of that show.

These are also the TVs that get canceled.

These are the shows that go for one to three seasons, and fans try everything they can to save.  Jericho fans sent peanuts to CBS studios in an attempt to save that show.  Chuck urged fans to buy Subway sandwiches in order to help save it.  And Community fans started an internet campaign, Six Seasons and A Movie, in order to encourage NBC executives to keep it on the air.

And with the internet, two cult television shows are getting a second life, years after they were originally canceled.

The first one is Arrested Development.  Running on Fox from 2003 to 2006, for years fans have been attempting to get a movie made, based upon a joke in the series finale.  Fan campaigns, questions to the stars, these fans have done everything.  And in a surprise twist, Netflix saved the show, by announcing that it was creating a 15 Episode 4th Season that would air exclusively on Netflix, premiering May 28.  This opened the door for other shows to be saved by Netflix or Hulu, or even for new series to be created on the internet, like Yahoo’s Burning Love, a spoof of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, or Netlix’s House of Cards.

arrested development 2

The second show to be saved by the internet is Veronica Mars.  Running on the UPN and The CW from 2004 to 2007, Veronica Mars fans became enraged over the cancellation, so much so that Rob Thomas, the creator and head writer, announced he was writing a film script.  Fans of this show waited for years, but a movie never materialized.  Until March 13 of this year, when Kristen Bell and Rob Thomas begged fans of the show to attempt to help them raise $2 million dollars for the movie, by donating through the website Kickstarter (, which would give them prizes and help them to finance the film.  Their goal was to get the money within a month.  Within 10 hours of their plea, Kickstarter helped the movie to raise $2.7 Million dollars.  This success is now predicted to be potentially revolutionary for future cult television movie adaptations, or independent films looking for financing.

veronica mars

The internet is a powerful place, and put into the hands of eager fans, the internet can help to save shows.  The way we watch TV, or get our movies financed, may forever be changed by these two examples.


10 thoughts on “How The Internet Can Save Cult TV Shows

  1. After reading this article, All I can think of is…. FIREFLY. Come on fans, If Veronica Mars can be saved, there is no reason why Firefly can’t. Kickstarter seems to change how movies or tv shows are being financed. It is extremely frustrating to the consumer that shows will be canceled because it does not gain a certain amount of viewers in order for the network to believe it is profitable. This way of financing seems to be more geared towards what the audience wants. With technology ever expanding, maybe one day there will be a company that gathers all the TV shows that are given a second life and put them in something like what Netflix is doing! Amazing!

  2. I really enjoyed the conversational tone of this post that is complimented by an intriguing topic. It’s pretty amazing how many things the internet can save and preserve. It makes history a constant documentation that can be accessed by the click of a button. I think the internet can save much more than just a few TV shows and will continue to do so even more so in the future. From video games to basketball games in the 70s, to an old recipe in the family, the internet makes history, stories, and information accessible to anyone anywhere. I think you did a great job with the presentation of this blog. I would recommend a little more text, though, maybe describing what you think this means for the future in other walks of life.

  3. Arrested Development is one of my favorite shows, so I was naturally excited when I heard that Netflix was releasing a new season. I can’t wait, but this isn’t the first time that a show has been resurrected by the fan base. I will agree that it is getting easier with modern technology.
    What really intrigued me about this post was the use of Kick Start to finance a movie adaptation. What better way to prove that a movie will have a following then getting the fans to partially finance it? The story is an incredible demonstration of market forces becoming more efficient using modern technology. The demand for a movie financing it in ten hours is certainly revolutionary. Cool post, and now I’m going to watch some episodes of Arrested Development.

  4. I think this is a very interesting and relevant post to what we have learned this past week about Netflix. What struck me from class was that there is basically a market for any type of film or genre that exists. I think kick start is really interesting because it shows that there is an interest in a particular genre and that there is a niche for everything. The internet is accessible to everyone and people can find whatever they want using the internet. Having people fund it shows the demand is there which is really interesting. I really like this post and it was a new concept that I have never heard of. Great job!

  5. I agree with you that the internet can save these cult tv shows. For example, I had a teacher who talked constantly about how funny Arrested Development was so naturally I went online and watched every single episode in less than a month. I did not realize that fans had raised the money for the Veronica Mars movie. I think the internet can do some pretty powerful things in the way of raising money and connecting fans. Like Professor Kane said in class, Netflix tries to cater to individuals not just the masses. Although I do not have a Netflix account, I might have to reconsider with the Arrested Development season appearing! Great post.

  6. I really enjoyed reading this post and think you did a great job blogging about an interesting, relevant topic. The idea of cult tv shows is new to me; however, I do have some friends who LOVE arrested development (so I understand the cult tv concept). What impressed me the most about this post was Kick Start. I had no idea that the Veronica Mars movie was financed by Kick Start. Great example of how the internet can be used to satisfy tv fans and keep tv shows alive.

  7. I think your example of cult tv shows presents a new sense of empowerment that the internet provides individuals with. The internet provides tv viewers the ability to mass petition for the resurrection of the shows they love; a win-win for both sides. It’s astonishing that people care so much about television and movies, that a company like Kickstarter has been born. The idea of Kickstarter seems very interesting, as well as innovative. Great post on a different aspect of the internet!

  8. When I saw the first saw the title of this blog post, the first show that came to mind was Arrested Development. I was a huge fan and was ecstatic to hear that Netflix was releasing a new season. I think one of the greatest advantages of the internet is that it give people a voice that is more likely to be heard. Before the internet became as hugely popular as it is today, getting shows like Arrested Development back on the air would be an impossibility. So many television shows develop a “cult” following, with hugely dedicated fans, and get cancelled because they don’t have the ratings to satisfy the network. This was a great post on a different of the internet.

  9. The Internet is great in that it lets the fans’ join together and have their voices be heard by the makers of those cult TV shows, whereas in the past their only option would have been to write letters to the studios which may or may not have even been read. And it’s not just limited to cult TV shows either; for example, Taco Bell will soon be bringing back the Beefy Crunch Burrito, a former limited-time offering that developed a cult following once Taco Bell stopped selling it. This never would have happened without members of the Beefy Crunch Burrito cult making a Facebook page with thousands of angry fans demanding its return.

  10. Crowdfunding has certainly been influential in enabling innovative products and services to reach the market. I question though whether this funding model could sustain “has been” tv shows in the long-term given the costly investment in producing such shows (talent, production and editing).

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