first_img Everything old is new again, and next week the CW will debut the premiere of Roswell, New Mexico, a sci-fi drama about teens in the notorious desert town where an alien spacecraft is rumored to have landed in the 1950s. Sounds familiar? That’s because back in 1999, the WB (the network that would eventually digivolve into the CW) debuted Roswell, a sci-fi drama about teens in the notorious desert town where an alien spacecraft is rumored to have landed in the 1950s. There are differences between the two projects, because a lot has changed on TV in the last few decades, but it got us to thinking: what other late ’90s shows are ready for a comeback?Let’s dust off the old TV Guides and pick a few winners.Harsh RealmIf you want to talk shows ahead of their time, Fox’s Harsh Realm is your poster child. The sci-fi series about a group of people trapped inside a virtual reality simulation hit the airwaves just a few months after The Matrix debuted in theaters, and it didn’t really hold up in comparison. That’s no insult — the Wachowskis basically redefined modern sci-fi with their take on the same concept. Harsh Realm stood out for the explicitly military setting — instead of the boring real world, the online space was an America ravaged by nuclear bombs and controlled by warlords. Two decades later, we’re more in thrall to the digital world than ever before and the time could be right to revisit the idea in a form longer than a Black Mirror episode.Get the DVDMission HillThe late 90s were a flabbergastingly good time for adult animation — both South Park and Futurama debuted in 1999. One other grown-up cartoon that hit the airwaves the same year didn’t manage to find its niche, but devoted fans have been lobbying for a return for decades. Mission Hill was wildly ahead of its time, a slacker slice-of-life comedy created by a pair of Simpsons alumni. With a unique visual style and some great voice actors, the show had everything it needed for success except the support of its network, the WB, which canned it before the first season was through.Get the DVDPreyNow here’s one that only the diehards will have heard of. Prey only lasted a single season, but it’s got such a bizarre premise that we want to see somebody else take a crack at it. Debra Messing plays an anthropologist who discovers a trove of research by her murdered mentor demonstrating that a new offshoot of humanity is evolving – one without mercy or compassion, willing to dominate normal humans by any means necessary. Also gifted with low-level psychic abilities, these “dominants” are serial killers looking to demonstrate status by racking up body counts. It was a cool idea that didn’t get executed too well, but we could see it finding a home in today’s grislier media landscape.Buffy The Vampire SlayerNo show encapsulated the geek culture of the late 1990s quite like Joss Whedon’s teen vampire-killing epic. Not only did Buffy brilliantly tweak horror tropes on a bologna sandwich budget, it also built a cast of distinctive, complex characters unlike just about any other ensemble of the era. The show’s peak seasons still stand up to the competition, and while the original cast has aged out of high school the universe continues in comic books to this day. There’s been talk of a reboot of the series circulating for some time, with Lost‘s Monica Owusu-Breen attached as showrunner.Watch it on AmazonBatman BeyondOne of the defining characteristics of the DC universe is their embrace of “legacy heroes,” where the man (or woman) behind the mask changes with the times. 1999’s animated offering Batman Beyond was a bold take on that concept, pushing us forward into a Dark Knight Returns-inspired future where Bruce Wayne has hung up the cowl and retired from his lonely crusade, only to be brought back into the game by meeting Terry McGinnis, a high school student who faces his own tragedies before becoming the Batman of 2039. Significantly darker than most cartoons of the era, the show was supposed to go to four seasons but only got three. We can rectify that mistake right now.Get the DVDTenacious DSure, Jack Black is a big-time movie (and YouTube) star now, but the time is right for him to return to the property that made him famous. Along with Kyle Gass, Tenacious D made their series debut on HBO in 1997, releasing two episodes that year, two in 1999 and two in 2000. That’s the kind of release schedule we can get behind, and coming back around to see how the boys are doing in the era of Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber could be a worthwhile use of a little of that Game of Thrones money. The duo have reunited for sporadic appearances, but we want the pure stuff straight into our veins. Make it happen, HBO.Watch it on AmazonMillenniumThe success of The X-Files in the mid-90s opened the door for a flood of conspiracy and supernatural shows. Some of them sucked, some of them were good, and then there was Millennium. Created by Chris Carter, the show starred craggy-faced Lance Henriksen as former FBI forensic profiler Frank Black, a man with an uncanny ability to put himself in the shoes of killers and criminals, for better or for worse. The show got more intense and fantastical as it went, and after it was cancelled an X-Files episode showed Frank in a mental hospital. Henriksen’s 78 and still working, so why not give the guy another shot at the show in a post-millennial world?Get the DVDThe Chimp ChannelThe late ’90s were a wild time for cable television – as HBO was finding success with The Sopranos, other networks tried to find their own angles on original programming, with varied levels of success. We’re not going to try to convince you that TBS’s The Chimp Channel was a landmark in terms of quality, but it was so ridiculous that it had to land on the list. Consisting of dubbed footage of chimps in ridiculous costumes acting out a variety of parodies and spoofs, it’s the kind of thing that would thrive in a post-YouTube world. I’m sure the rights are cheap.Strange WorldBefore Tim Kring burned out all of his goodwill with the last few seasons of Heroes, he was responsible for this oddball ABC show that only saw three episodes air in 1999 (SyFy showed the rest of the season a few years later, for some reason). Protagonist Paul Turner has a rare form of aplastic anemia that leaves him bedridden, but he’s motivated to investigate victims of scientific and medical experimentation when a mysterious woman gives him an experimental medicine that alleviates his symptoms. Complex, dark and grounded in the reality of current-day science, this was a challenging show that didn’t get its due.ProfitOne of the most under-the-radar cult classics of the decade, Fox’s short-lived Profit was just too weird for the gung-ho capitalism of the 90s, but seems remarkably prescient in our world of Elon Musks. Adrian Pasdar starred as Jim Profit, an executive at a multinational corporation obsessed with success to the cost of everything else. A deeply damaged protagonist, Profit was raised by an abusive father in rural Oklahoma who forced him to sleep in a cardboard box. After murdering his family, he reinvents himself as an Ivy League business prodigy, but still carries the scars of his past with him. Fox cancelled the show after just three episodes were aired, but we’d love to see somebody take another crack at it.Get the DVDCleopatra 2525Straight up we’re not saying this was a good show, but Cleopatra 2525, which premiered in syndication in January of 2000 so we’ll bend the rules for it, was so totally bizarre and goofy that it deserves a new audience. When exotic dancer Cleo’s breast implant surgery goes awry, she’s put into a cryogenic freezer and thawed out in the futuristic year 2525, where humanity has moved into underground colonies to escape the attacks of the “Baileys,” mysterious flying machines. It’s absolutely ridiculous low-rent science fiction cheese, and you know what? The world could use a little more of that these days.Get the DVDMore on’s Axed Netflix Shows Could Be Revived By Disney‘Nightflyers’ and the History of Sci-Fi HorrorHulu and George R.R. Martin Are Developing New ‘Wild Cards’ Shows Amazon’s ‘Marvelous’ Gas Station Discount Causes Chaos in California‘Cannon Busters’ Is The Black Anime We’ve Been Waiting… Stay on targetlast_img read more