In an alternate Netflix-less reality,
Penn Badgley’s Joe Goldberg almost didn’t get a murderous killing spree in , You would’ve ended mid-cliffhanger by Season 3, Lucifer may have never made its way to America, and the Schitt’s Creek #TeamJess, #TeamDean, #TeamLogan debate would’ve died with the old guard if Netflix hadn’t stepped in. No, really. Gilmore Girls
It’s a tale as old as streaming time. A show either gets canceled, does poorly on its original broadcast network, or simply flies under the radar even if it’s incredible (looking at you,
). Fortunately, Netflix is hailed as having a Midas touch. When it swoops in and streams a show, it can result in what’s now known as “ Breaking Bad The Netflix Bump,” a steep rise in a show’s ratings and prominence after it hits the streaming platform. Even older shows that previously did well in their original run find newer, often younger audiences through the platform, cementing a show’s cultural impact through the decades.
Success on Netflix has led to all sorts of wins — renewed seasons, award show nominations, international acclaim, movie sequels, spinoffs, and a show’s rightful place in the zeitgeist. Spanning different genres, countries of origin, and resuscitation stories, here’s a list of 16 shows that got a second life on Netflix.
When the family drama
Gilmore Girls first hit the WB in 2000, the witty, rapid-fire banter of the charismatic mother-and-daughter duo played by Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel captured loyal hearts for seven years. When it hit Netflix in 2014, a new slew of viewers buoyed the show’s ratings, so much so that in 2016, nine years after the show went off the air, it got a four-episode Netflix Original revival, , garnering Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life nearly 5 million viewers. As proof that Rory and Lorelai successfully entered the digital era, there’s even a dedicated where hosts Kevin Porter and Demi Adejuyigbe deep dive into each episode, sometimes even chatting with the cast members themselves. Gilmore Guys podcast
about the Kim family, the Korean-Canadian owners of a convenience store, received rave reviews when it was released in Canada in 2016. But it wasn’t until Netflix picked up the series in 2018 that it gained international acclaim. Unfortunately, despite being hailed as a thoughtful take on an Asian immigrant family, Kim’s Convenience the show was canceled by the fifth season, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, cast members Jean Yoon and Simu Liu, who played mother and son, pointed out a lack of diversity among the writing staff.
Another Canadian import,
aired on CBC in 2015. Created and starred in by father and son Schitt’s Creek Eugene and Dan Levy, the sitcom follows the Rose family, who moves to the small town of Schitt’s Creek after they lose their fortune. About the show’s premiere on Netflix in 2017, Eugene told Vulture, “It really seemed to explode in terms of awareness … and also in terms of how the show’s being written up by the press.” Thanks to its new buzz, the show garnered multiple awards season nominations. Finally, in 2020, for their sixth and final season, the show won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series while Dan, Catherine O’Hara, and Annie Murphy also won awards.
The Great British Baking Show
, aka The Great British Baking Show or GBBO in the U.K., was a local favorite when it aired on the BBC in 2010. But the wholesome baking competition, replete with contestants you want to hug and none of the high-intensity drama and yelling typical of American cooking shows, only became a hit with U.S. audiences thanks to its Netflix introduction. Now on its 11th season, viewers looking for comfort can watch amateur bakers plow through weekly themed tasks to ultimately be the Star Baker. The Great British Bake Off
What does a fallen angel and former master of hell do when bored? Move to Los Angeles to become a consultant for the LAPD, naturally. At least that’s what Lucifer Morningstar, played by the devilishly handsome
Tom Ellis, does in Lucifer , a 2016 fantasy crime show whose titular anti-hero is based on the character by Neil Gaiman from . When Fox canceled the show three seasons in, fans took to Twitter and The Sandman trended #SaveLucifer and #PickUpLucifer. Seizing the opportunity, Netflix swooped in and renewed the show for three more seasons. More seasons, more Ellis.
Another show that got the famed Netflix Bump is
, a 2018 NBC supernatural drama in which Melissa Roxburgh, Manifest Josh Dallas, Jack Messina, and Parveen Kaur get on a plane from Jamaica only to land in New York five years later, where they have to reintegrate back into society while hearing voices and seeing visions called Callings. Though the show tracked the highest Netflix viewership the week it was canceled by NBC in June 2021, the streaming platform passed on the fourth season. Much like Lucifer, fans took to social media with a #SaveManifest hashtag and even created a Change.org petition. Your move, Netflix.
Badgley’s stalker-murderer character Joe Goldberg in thriller You wouldn’t have been able to kill off more people if Netflix hadn’t scooped up the series from Lifetime. The flop instantly turned into a massive hit. The highly anticipated Season 3 of the show, based on the book by Caroline Kepnes, is coming later this year. In 2019, You creator Greg Berlanti said in a Jerusalem conference that he tried to convince Lifetime to make a second season even if the show “didn’t do very well,” Variety reported. He added that, on Netflix, “It was nice that it made the cut and survived long enough to get another chance at life.”
The Baker and the Beauty
The ABC adaptation of Israeli hit
Beauty and the Baker, , was released in 2020 but canceled after just one season. Still, when the love story between a Miami baker ( The Baker and the Beauty Victor Rasuk) and supermodel ( Nathalie Kelley) came to Netflix a year later, it topped the platform as the most-streamed show.
Are You The One?
This MTV reality dating competition might have stayed under the radar since its release in 2014 if Netflix hadn’t picked it up six years later. In
, couples are matched based on an algorithm ( Are You The One? and dating experts), and only by guessing the correct pairings will a contestant win up to a million dollars. Hosted by Ryan Devlin, the series’ eighth season has been lauded for its sexually fluid contestants.
Another Berlanti production, the
Daniel Ezra-starred football drama All America n also wouldn’t have been given a second season if it didn’t air on Netflix a year after its 2018 release on The CW. Producers Robbie Rogers and Nkechi Okoro told Deadline that Netflix gave the show “a second life,” adding, “A whole new audience has discovered us and has been reaching out to both of us and our actors.” The series, based on the life of football star Spencer Paysinger, is now on its fourth season.
The Vampire Diaries
In the supernatural teen drama
, two vampire brothers ( The Vampire Diaries Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley) pine for the same teenage human ( Nina Dobrev), who has a centuries-old vampire doppelgänger that they were both once in love with. Loyal fans watched the series on The CW from 2009 to 2017 and even watched their favorite blood-sucking characters return in spinoffs and The Originals . But thanks to its spot in the Netflix library, the original series found its way to new fans. Maybe they’ll even support Somerhalder and Wesley’s real-life brotherhood and recent business venture, Legacies Brother’s Bond bourbon.
While the show is no longer on Netflix thanks to its recent migration to HBO Max ahead of the
special, a Friends: The Reunion new generation of streamers was introduced to the funny antics, complicated love lives, and enviable friendships (and apartments) of Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross. Could viewers be any more grateful?