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Reunion Show

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Different from the Class Reunion, the Reunion Show is an opportunity for the surviving cast of a defunct TV show — off the air for anywhere from 5 to 50 years — to get back together on screen. Usually this is an "in character" story showing how things are "now", but sometimes it can be an explicit reunion of the cast in tribute to the original show.

Unlike a Revival series (such as Still the Beaver and the at-one-time-endless progression of sequels to The Brady Bunch), the Reunion Show is a one-shot event. (Sometimes, though, reunions can spawn sequels.) Oddly, "in-character" comedy reunions tend to turn serious, if not outright dramatic, while most other shows are not altered.

Reunion shows are usually made to cash in on the nostalgia modern audiences can hold for an older program.

Typically done as a Made-for-TV Movie. Not to be confused with The Film of the Series. Often accompanied by a Documentary with the actors out-of-character.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Doctor Who Magazine occasionally marks notable anniversaries with a story in its comic strip reuniting various characters:
    • Issue 250's strip, "A Life of Matter and Death", brought back many of the comic's characters in a battle inside the TARDIS's mind.
    • Issue 282's strip, "Happy Deathday", commemorating the 35th anniversary of Doctor Who, pitted the then-Eight Doctors against a Legion of Doom of their greatest villains.
    • Issue 500's strip, "The Stockbridge Showdown", had the Twelfth Doctor team up with most of the living DWM comic companions to fight one of the strip's big villains.
  • IDW's Doctor Who: The Forgotten was a Tenth Doctor miniseries commemorating the 45th anniversary of Doctor Who, climaxing with all the Doctors facing off against the villain.
  • Titan's Doctor Who comics have sometimes had their big yearly event be a Doctor teamup:
    • Their first, Four Doctors, had the revival series Doctors (War to Twelve) all make an appearance in some form.
    • Their third, The Lost Dimension, had all the Doctors make an appearance in some capacity, plus a few former guest stars.
  • The Harley Quinn Road Trip Special featured Harley with Poison Ivy and Catwoman, reuniting the main cast of the 2009-11 Gotham City Sirens series.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The cast of Matilda reenacted the film's chocolate cake and pigtail scenes at a 2013 reunion party, which can be seen on the film's Blu-ray release that same year.
  • The 1937 Our Gang short "Reunion in Rhythm", which takes place at a school reunion, features cameos from four original cast members from the silent era alongside their successors.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One of the earlier examples of this would be Father Knows Best, which had a pair of reunion movies in 1977.
  • Robert Young's other series, Marcus Welby, M.D., also had two reunion movies, in 1984 and 1988.
  • Gilligan's Island had three of these in the late '70s and early '80s (Rescue from Gilligan's Island, The Castaways on Gilligan's Island and The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island, respectively). The ratings success of the first one led to talk of a revival series, but Sherwood Schwartz (concerned with the aging cast doing weekly comedic stunts) preferred two additional movies instead.
    • To a lesser extent, the short-lived cartoon series The New Adventures of Gilligan and Gilligan's Planet also reunited all but one of the original cast as their characters.
    • Another case was an episode of the forgotten 90's show Meegonote , where many of the surviving Gilligan cast appeared in character. It never aired in the US, but on Sky 1 in the UK.
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show have both had reunion TV movies since 2000. The former was a two-hour TV-Movie titled Mary & Rhoda and only featuring those characters. The latter was instead a single half-hour episode, but it reunited the surviving cast and featured clips of those that had passed on.
  • The Bob Newhart Show 19th Anniversary Special (1991) had Bob discussing his crazy dream about being a Vermont innkeeper with his friends and patients. To which Howard responds about dreaming of being an astronaut down in Florida.
  • Happy Days has had two so far, one in 1992 and one in 2005. Both were clip/interview specials.
    • Spin-Off Laverne & Shirley has also had two, in 1995 and 2002. Again, both were clip/interview specials, although the latter also featured an in-character skit.
  • A Reunion Show for Dallas reached the airwaves in October of 2004.
    • Prior to that, it had two in-universe reunion TV movies: J.R. Returns in 1996 and War of the Ewings in 1998.
  • February 2005 saw a Reunion Show for One Day at a Time.
  • Get Smart did a reunion movie, Get Smart Again, that was seemingly unconnected to the short-lived sequel series or the theatrical sequel movie The Nude Bomb.
  • The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis did a reunion show with the exceedingly strange title, "Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis".
  • The Monkees had Hey, Hey, It’s the Monkees in 1997, which featured all four members in their wacky, not-yet-famous TV personas 30 years later, and was written and directed by Michael Nesmith. It was humorous in that their TV show which they “knew” they were on, had continued running, though not been aired, after all these years. The “plot” centered around finding a decent… well, “plot” to finish off the rest of the production money for the show (whilst preparing for a gig at “The Most Prestigious Country Club In the World”).
  • The Dukes of Hazzard reunion movie revolved around the wedding of Enos and Daisy Duke. A second reunion movie, Hazzard in Hollywood, came in 2000.
  • Power Rangers:
  • Super Sentai:
  • Kamen Rider did teamups between the present and past seasons for a good 11 years in the Showa era shows, each one having a progressively larger cast. Kamen Rider Ryuki had a Direct to Video team-up between its heroes and predecessor Kamen Rider Agito, even if Agito was a Fake Shemp (the thing turned out to be All Just a Dream anyways). Kamen Rider Den-O & Kiva: Climax Deka is probably the most in the spirit of the trope, featuring the full casts of both shows. The Kamen Rider ZX TV special brought together all of the previous Rider characters, and the first Kamen Rider Decade movie does the same. In Decade, the original cast of a Rider show is replaced (handwaved by Decade being an Alternate Universe traveler), but most of Den-O and Kamen Rider Hibiki's casts as well as key characters from Kiva, plus those summoned by Narutaki and Kivara (the Hoppers, Kaixa, and Ohja) are reprisals.
    • The eighth movie in the Den-O series is the movie of the franchise's 40th year and thus brings all main Riders up to Kamen Rider OOO, with particular focus on OOO, Den-O, and the Double Riders.
    • Like Super Sentai's "Vs." series, Kamen Rider recently started a series of movies of this nature, collectively known as Movie Wars.
    • Kamen Rider OOO is notably the first Kamen Rider series getting the "Ten Years Later" treatment in 2022.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O, the twentieth and final Heisei series, follows a format closer to Gokaiger above where the main character can gain the power of his predecessors by earning their approval (or that of their trusted allies). Toei was able to bring back actors from all the past Heisei series except Kuuga, including about half of the protagonists, to reprise their roles.
  • Cheers had its reunion show in the form of one episode of its spin-off Frasier.
  • The Return of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair
  • Green Acres had a reunion show in 1990 called "Return to Green Acres", which showed Oliver and Lisa still living on the farm. Most of the original cast was in it, but it was way too sappy and serious, especially when contrasted with the absurdist humor of the original series.
  • The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage came several years after the show's end.
  • Return to Mayberry (1986) successfully reunited almost the entire cast and crew of The Andy Griffith Show.
  • Happens at the end of pretty much all reality shows, especially those airing on VH1.
  • Christmas Episodes of Blue Peter, in which the presenters do a Panto or Musical of some sort, often rope in previous presenters to round out the cast.
  • The Wild Wild West did two: The Wild Wild West Revisited and More Wild Wild West.
  • Ultraman Mebius and its tie-in movie Ultraman Mebius & the Ultra Brothers is this for the Ultra Series. And an example within an example which involves the class from Ultraman 80 getting back together before their old school is closed down.
  • Seinfeld didn't have a real reunion show; however, in the series Curb Your Enthusiasm, where co-creator Larry David plays a fictionalized version of himself, there was a storyline in which he reunited the cast (who played themselves, and themselves playing the Seinfeld characters) for a reunion show.
  • Growing Pains had two (that don't quite match up).
  • Eight is Enough had two reunion movies in 1987 and 1989.
  • Return of The Mod Squad (1979)
  • Back to The Streets of San Francisco (1992)
  • The Jim Henson Hour had a special reunion episode with the cast of Sesame Street as they celebrate the show's 20th anniversary. The episode is titled Sesame Street: 20 Years, And Still Counting.
  • The Rockford Files had several reunion movies in the '90s.
  • I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later (1985) had all the original cast save Larry Hagman, who couldn't participate due to his role on Dallas; instead, Wayne Rogers served as The Other Tony. A second reunion movie, I Still Dream of Jeannie (1991), kept Tony offscreen.
  • Friends has had numerous campaigns for a reunion Where Are They Now episode for the characters. The writers have had to put down several rumours and it's the number one question the actors face. Matthew Perry for his part refuses to take part a reunion as it is a personal nightmare of his.
    • Friends ended up having a cast reunion in 2021 (when the show moved from Netflix to HBO Max) in which the original cast revisited the set, had a joint interview with James Corden, and reminisced about the show. The reunion also featured interviews with co-creators Marta Kaufmann and David Crane, and executive producer Kevin Bright.
  • The Facts of Life
  • Drake & Josh's Christmas Special was made 18 months after the show ended. It may not seem like a long time, but because the show dealt with teenagers, it was obvious that they were too old for the show, and Josh's actor is Formerly Fat. Making it worse was that the movie was only supposed to take place a few weeks after the Grand Finale.
  • M*A*S*H had a 20th anniversary special in which the show's producers and surviving cast members gathered to reminisce.
  • 'Allo 'Allo! did a reunion show in 2007 called The Return of 'Allo 'Allo!.
  • The 1957-66 Perry Mason television series had one, in the form of Perry Mason Returns (1985), featuring returning leads Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale. And another, in the form of Perry Mason: The Case of the Notorious Nun (1986). And another, in the form of Perry Mason: The Case of the Shooting Star (1986)... and a staggering 27 more Made For TV Movies made afterwards until 1995 (with Burr dying in 1993 and paving the way for several Suspiciously Similar Substitutes for the last four, with the umbrella title rechristened A Perry Mason Mystery).
  • Raymond Burr's other well-known series, Ironside (1967), had one shortly before Burr's death in 1993.
  • The Daily Show had a reunion show in 2002...reflecting on the first 10 minutes of the episode.
  • Endurance: A reunion special was held following the first endurance where the 7 teams from that season got to discuss their time on the show as well as present some clips that weren't shown during the season. They also got to vote for a guy and girl to come back as a team on endurance 2.
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture for the cast of the original Trek and arguably a re-re-union for the next five Trek movies.
  • The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman had three reunion movies in the late '80s and early '90s; Return of the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, Bionic Showdown (which included some "Next Generation" bionic operatives) and Bionic Ever After, (in which Steve Austin and Jamie Sommers finally got married).
  • The XYZ Affair's video for the song "All My Friends" is an odd example, as it serves as a reunion more of a channel's era than of a single show. Mike Maronna (Big Pete), Jason Zimbler (Ferguson) and Danny Cooksey (Budnick) team up with the XYZ Affair against Marc Summers, who here plays the band's irritated neighbor. Zimbler hits it off with a girl wearing a shirt reading "Ferguson is my Darling" and Summers ends the video by throwing green slime at everyone.
  • In another Nickelodeon example, Marc Summers and John Harvey reunited on an episode of NBC Philadelphia's The 10! Show in late 2010, and the two participated in a Double Dare-esque challenge. The interview portion is here, the challenge portion is here.
  • The Oprah Winfrey Show had a few of these in its final season, including one with Oprah's former competitors, Ricki Lake, Donahue, and Sally Jessy Raphael. She also reunited with Iyanla Vanzant, who she had a falling out with after she refused to do a Spin-Off show with Oprah and went to another network.
  • "A Reunion ...", the second-season premiere of Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, deconstructed this trope. James van der Beek, who plays himself as a regular, regularly turns down his Dawson's Creek castmates' letters requesting a reunion. June, a fan when she was a teen, tries to suggest that he do it, and succeeds ... only for Chloe to let her know that she writes the letters, so James will feel powerful by rejecting them and thus she can get him to grant any wish of hers. June is undeterred, so Chloe drugs her and then spends six hours showing him DVDs of bad reunion shows from other shows (like The Facts of Life Goes to Paris) and reveals she's been the one writing the letters. James later reconsiders, but finds out from Busy Phillips that his former castmates all still hate him for not paying his share for a final gift to the crew, and won't say no outright but won't do it, either. Undeterred, he corners Frankie Muniz in the supermarket to pitch an idea for a combined reunion show, but Chloe again foils that. At the end, Mark-Paul Gosselaar appears to persuade James to live in the present, and they have a Viking Funeral for Dawson's Creek in the Central Park lake.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place had The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex in 2013. A magic spell goes awry, splitting Alex into a good and bad Alex and leading the family to try and stop the bad clone from taking over the world.
  • Simon & Simon: They reunited in the 1995's TV movie Simon & Simon: In Trouble Again.
  • The Return of Frank Cannon (1980) was a reunion movie in the loosest sense of the word, as the only member of the show's cast was William Conrad (Cannon). Insert fat joke here.
  • Norman Stanley Fletcher: Life Beyond the Box brought back most of the cast of Porridge and Going Straight, in a retrospective of Fletch's life before and after the series.
  • I Spy got two. One was a standard made-for-TV movie titled I Spy Returns that featured Robert Culp and Bill Cosby reprising their TV roles in a backdoor pilot for a "next generation" spin-off that never sold. And in 1999, Culp and Cosby reunited on Cosby's sitcom - conveniently titled Cosby - for an All Just a Dream episode in which Cosby's sitcom character, after watching an episode of I Spy on TV, dreams that he is Alexander Scott, sharing an adventure with Kelly Robinson (Culp).
  • Doctor Who is unique among all TV series as its reunion episodes feature the different actors who have played the same character. To date there have been:
    • "The Three Doctors" (1972-73; featuring the First, Second and Third Doctors, done to celebrate the show's 10th anniversary)
    • "The Five Doctors" (1983; featuring the first five Doctors, plus a number of former co-stars, done to celebrate the show's 20th anniversary)
    • "The Two Doctors" (1985, featuring the Second Doctor and popular 1960s companion character Jamie McCrimmon joining the incumbent Sixth Doctor and Peri; not done with any specific celebration in mind, the production team just wanted the chance to work with Patrick Troughton again.)
    • "Dimensions in Time" (1993, a mini-special shown as an item during Children in Need that featured the Third to Seventh Doctors and various former companions)
    • "Time Crash" (2007 comedy minisode featuring the Fifth and Tenth Doctors)
    • "The Day of the Doctor" (2013, featuring the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, plus the recently introduced War Doctor, for the 50th anniversary)
    • This list does not count additional episodes such as "Mawdryn Undead" (1983) and "School Reunion" (2006) which featured the return of individual cast members from the show's past.
    • "Twice Upon a Time" (2017) is an odd case. While it does feature the First Doctor, his original actor William Hartnell had long since passed away. However, his replacement David Bradley had previously played Hartnell himself in An Adventure in Space and Time, a docudrama about the earliest days of the series.
    • Doctor Who: Lockdown! was a series of web video one-off minisodes made during the COVID-19 Pandemic in early 2020, some of which featured former series actors returning via Console Cameo to reprise their roles:
      • Most notable of these was "Farewell, Sarah Jane", which served as a reunion special for the spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures after star Elisabeth Sladen's passing cancelled it prematurely back in 2012. Main characters Luke, Clyde, and Rani returned all grown up, along with Jo Grant, Ace, and Rani's mother Gita.
      • "The Best of Days" reunited companions Bill Potts and Nardole from Series 10, three years after their character last appeared.
      • "The Descendants of Pompeii" is an odd case, as it reunited guest cast members from a single episode — "The Fires of Pompeii" — as the modern descendants/reincarnations of their Ancient Roman characters from that episode.
  • Cracker had the 2006 special A New Terror, though only a few members of the original cast returned.
  • The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon has had fun with getting actors from specific shows to reprise their characters in an obviously non-canon skit. One of his first was getting Danny Tanner, Jesse Katsopolis and Joey Gladstone (Bob Saget, John Stamos, & Dave Coulier respectively) from Full House to comfort him about the opportunity to host the Tonight Show, complete with Full House's trademark Sentimental Music Cue. Another involved getting most of the cast of Saved by the Bell to lampoon all the memorable bits from that show.
  • John Wesley Shipp, Vito D'Ambrosio and Mark Hamill, all alumni from The Flash (1990), reunite for the "Tricksters" episode of The Flash (2014). While Shipp is already a semi-regular in the latter show (he plays Barry's father) this episode is a bit of A Day in the Limelight for him.
    • Although this is a zig-zag since the actors were not playing the characters from the 1990 series but alternate universe doppelgangers. The 1990 series was integrated into Arrowverse continuity via imagery appearing in a trans-dimensional episode. During the Elseworlds crossover the events of the 1990 series were canonically established to have taken place on Earth-90.
  • The Golden Girls: Their Greatest Moments aired on Lifetime in 2003 and featured three of the four main cast (Bea Arthur, Betty White and Rue McClanahan; Estelle Getty was too ill to participate).
  • The Odd Couple: Together Again (1993) reunited Jack Klugman (Oscar) and Tony Randall (Felix) from the 1970-75 series. The movie incorporated the throat surgery that caused Klugman to lose much of his voice as a plot point for Oscar. Apart from the two leads, Penny Marshall (Myrna) and Garry Walberg ("Speed") were the only other actors from the series to appear.
  • Mama's Family has had two reunions: one in the early 90's on Vicki Lawrence's talk show (in which Lawrence appeared both as herself and in-character as Mama) and another made for the DVD release of the series in 2014.
  • Knots Landing had the reunion miniseries Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac in 1997.
  • Parks and Recreation had a reunion special in 2020 as a charity event for the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Red Dwarf got a three-part one titled Back to Earth that revolved around the crew hallucinating that they had arrived on earth to find out that they're fictional characters on a television show entitled Red Dwarf. Notable in that it apparently takes place after a fictional Series IX and Series X, which is used as an excuse to perform a Snap Back and wipe away various unpopular status quo changes and Series VIII's Cliffhanger ending without an actual explanation. Proved to be enough of a ratings success to warrant the series getting Uncancelled.
    • Back to Earth was originally planned to be paired with another reunion special titled Red Dwarf Unplugged that would have had the actors performing various classic scenes in front of a studio audience. It was eventually decided that it just wasn't working, resulting in Back to Earth being stretched into a three-parter.

  • The Goon Show ended in 1960. The Last Goon Show of All was broadcast in 1972. The Goons got together one last time to record two comic songs in 1978.
  • I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again ran sporadically from 1964 to 1973. A 25th Anniversary reunion special was broadcast in 1989.
  • Radio Active has had two since ending in 1987. The first, in 2002, was an "in character" reunion looking at what had happened to the eponymous station in the 25 years since the last series. The second, in 2016, was essentially a new recording of one of the old episodes, slightly rewritten to work around the absence of Geoffrey Perkins, who died in 2008.

  • The 1981 musical Bring Back Birdie brought back the characters of Bye Bye Birdie two decades later. Chita Rivera was the only original cast member to reprise her role, though the original librettist and songwriters signed on.
  • The 1949 musical version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was brought back 25 years later as Lorelei: Gentlemen Still Prefer Blondes, with original star Carol Channing playing an older, widowed Lorelei Lee.
  • When Long Runner musicals celebrate a milestone, you can expect at least one of these. The most notable one in recent memory would be the Les Misérables 10th and 25th anniversary concerts. The former brought back performers from the London, Broadway and Australia productions as well as an encore featuring seventeen actors who played Valjean in international productions, and the latter reuniting the entire 1985 cast (save for David Burt) for the finale.
  • The final show of RENT's original run featured the then-current cast performing "Seasons of Love" with the original cast as the encore.

    Video Games 
  • Kingdom Hearts was a Reunion Game for the voice casts of several Disney classics through the last century; most of the original cast returned (including people such as James Woods as Hades, and BRIAN BLESSED as Clayton as well as the original voice of Alice and Wendy a good 50 years after the initial films came out). Some of the cast of The Nightmare Before Christmas returned, as did most of Aladdin (save Robin Williams, who was already recast since the TV series in the 90's), Hercules, The Little Mermaid (save Samuel E. Wright), Tarzan, and Beauty and the Beast (save Jerry Orbach who had since passed away). The most no-shows were The Lion King with only Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa and Cheech Marin as Banzai, and Pirates of the Caribbean where the entire cast was shooting the sequels and couldn't make it (although Johnny Depp supposedly really wanted to do it). Geoffrey Rush did come back to voice Barbossa, but only in Australian copies.
  • Mass Effect 3, depending on game choices made, can have this feel as familiar faces from the first two games are encountered, especially in the light-hearted "Citadel" DLC.

    Web Videos 
  • This genre has started to crop up online, particularly ones that feature "classic" (1950-89) era actors who are either unwilling or unable or who are too elderly and frail to travel to a studio but can contribute as their old tv/film characters through the In-Universe conceit of a online video meeting with the other characters.
  • Critical Role: While the core cast is generally the same, each campaign has different characters, so any one-off reunion specials post-campaign ending are treated as such by the characters, if not by the actors:
    • "The Search for Grog", "The Search for Bob", and "Dalen's Closet" were all one-shots that served as reunion specials for Vox Machina ( sans the deceased Vax in all but one case).
    • "Exandria Unlimited: Kymal" reunited four of the six members of the Crowns Keepers from the first iteration of "Exandria Unlimited" (since Orym and Fearne were busy being characters in the main Bells Hell campaign).
    • In Critical Role: Campaign Three, older versions of Keyleth, Percy, Vex, Pike, and Trinket from Vox Machina all play key roles in "A Desperate Call" and "A Dark Balance", only now portrayed as NPCs by Matthew Mercer. Still, the cast views it as a reunion of sorts, even while playing entirely different characters.
    • "The Mighty Nein Reunited" was a two-parter set six months after the end of Campaign 2 (but really taking place over two years later) that saw most of the Mighty Nein come back together to tie up the dangling plot thread of U'katoa.

    Western Animation 
  • Tiny Toon Adventures' Spring Break Special, and later, Night Ghoulery.
  • One could say The Powerpuff Girls' 2009 special, Powerpuff Girls Rule, is a reunion of sorts as it includes virtually every main villain within the show and as well as brings back all the VAs who worked on the series.
    • This was also the case with the 2014 special Dance Pantsed.
  • Recess has the crossover special with Lilo & Stitch: The Series in 2005. By then, the show was over, and the cast was back to reprise their roles (except T.J., who had to be done by the same kid who did him in the DTV movies).
  • Parodied on Pinky and the Brain when Brain tries to stage a fake one in an attempt to Take Over the World.
  • Similar to Kingdom Hearts above, House of Mouse brought back many voice actors from Disney's animated features (save for those who were dead or couldn't make it).