If you’re a fan of British comedy you doubtless know all about Absolutely Fabulous, the Jennifer Saunders penned fashion comedy that’s been a huge part of the UK TV landscape for years now.

Originally the show ran for three seasons from 1992 – 1995, followed by a 2 hour finale in 1996. But then Saunders decided to revive the show in 2001 for a further two seasons and an additional 3 specials. Now Ab Fab, as it’s known to its fans, is coming back for three more specials to celebrate its 20 year anniversary, including one this Christmas. But is that really such a good idea? When should great series bow out gracefully?

Here’s the deal. I was a huge fan of the original 3 season run of Ab Fab back in the 90′s, when it truly was groundbreaking and funny and very fresh. At the time the show was a real shot in the arm for the British comedy scene, a bridge between the ‘alternative comedy’ movement but also mainstream enough for my parents to watch. But even back then Ab Fab had some writing issues – often scenes would drag on for far too long or stretch a good idea to breaking point. Jennifer Saunders is a real talent but she needs strong editing and producing to bring out her best – and unfortunately that was in short supply after Ab Fab became a breakout smash.

Still Absolutely Fabulous ended on a strong note back in the 90′s and remained a national treasure. But when the show was revived a decade later it was definitely not a smart move. The writing was lumpy, the jokes painful and the tone of the show had shifted from mischievous to just plain nasty. I gave up after a few episodes – as did many others.

So I’m greeting the thought of even more Ab Fab with tepid enthusiasm – especially after Saunders revealed a preview clip for the show on this week’s Graham Norton. Jokes about blogs and Twitter – hmm, how 2000 and late!

So I wonder – when should a comedy or series be left well enough alone? Is it ever a good idea to resurrect an old series? As we’ve seen over the last few years here in the States, revivals of old series rarely seem to work – as proven by the recent failure of Charlie’s Angels and Prime Suspect this season. But what if the show retains its original cast and creative team? Would we really want to see a Friends movie or a return of Frasier? How about a one off ER or a Roseanne reunion?

Personally I think show revivals (and remakes) are almost always doomed to failure. Most series are a product of their time and successful series in particular come to represent that era. Friends epitomized late 90′s coffee bar culture – but would we really want to see ‘The Rachel’ back in fashion? Let the show’s stay the way they were and leave well enough alone…

But what do you think? Is more Ab Fab a good idea? And what about show revivals in general? A good or bad idea? Comment away…