10 Most Unfair TV Show Cancellations by Netflix: Netflix canceling popular tv shows is an infamous modern love story. The streaming giants have become notorious for calling off renewal for many viewer-loved TV shows, sometimes without plausible reasons. While viewer reception is a significant factor, there are several other reasons why Netflix may cancel a show. High production costs, scheduling conflicts, and creative differences are some behind-the-scenes nightmares Netflix and every other production company potentially faces now and then. There can be different reasons as well for the cancellation.
This happenstance has also lined up with external issues that are out of Netflix’s control, like the WGA strike and filming shutdowns due to socio-political issues. Many networks and OTT platforms struggle to get regular content financing. This has resulted in many show cancellations and even strategic collaborations for platform share nosediving. The industry also has a creative crunch, which has reached a stagnant phase. It is challenging to come up with new and original stories.
Most distinct artistic voices are being drained out in the noise of generic stereotypical storytelling. But there is a highly controversial and repulsive exception for viewers that makes them hate Netflix: canceling a show because we liked it. This might sound odd, but below is a list of popular TV shows canceled by Netflix for no apparent reason.
This move was expected after Disney picked up a stake in Hotstar and firmly established its digital presence across the globe. Daredevil was an explosive hit for Netflix in the live-action comic-book adaptation catalog. In fact, Daredevil was one of the best-received offerings when one considers the universe of comic-book-inspired television shows. Netflix has not explicitly stated the reasons for canceling the series. However, it is widely believed that business factors and the complex licensing arrangement between Netflix and Marvel Television primarily drove the decision.
All was going well between Netflix and Marvel in the early 2010s when they announced a multi-series deal that included Daredevil and other shows like Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Punisher. These shows were set in a shared universe, the Marvel Netflix Universe. Over time, Netflix gradually canceled each of these Marvel shows, leading to speculation that the decision was influenced by Disney’s plans to launch its own streaming service, Disney+. Both parties suddenly ceded the evolving partnership, and the future of these shows was left uncertain.
Another factor may have been the viewership numbers and production costs. While “Daredevil” was critically acclaimed, it is possible that the show did not generate the desired level of viewership to justify its production expenses. The cancellation decision might have been driven by a combination of declining viewership and the high cost associated with producing a show of its scale and quality.
It’s worth noting that the rights to the character of Daredevil have since reverted to Marvel Studios, which Disney owns, and plans have been announced to alleviate the fans’ concerns. However, given their dire financial condition, we will unlikely see Daredevil return for another season any time soon.
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1899 had all the makings to become the next “Dark.” Not only did it come from the same creators, but the show also had a similarly complex storytelling format with nuanced, humane sensibilities. 1899’s cancellation brought forth a lot of public attention and scrutiny to Netflix’s decision-making process to renew or cancel shows. 1899 had a firm grip over its committed viewer base and would have done great numbers for the streaming platform. However, the numbers that Netflix offered us were quite shocking.
1899 had a surprisingly low “completion rate”—a percentage of how many viewers finish watching a show. It was reportedly below 50 percent, which confounded many viewers who claimed the show’s complexities made it tough to binge-watch. Not every show has to be completed in a day’s or week’s time. At times, it can take some of us months to get through a show, and yet like it and expect more seasons to come. Hope remains for 1899 as there was news that Showtime was interested in buying the rights for it and making a season 2. All of that remains conjecture until the final decision is announced in public.
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Mindhunter’s saga continues to live in our minds years after its second season aired in 2019. The show was officially canceled by Netflix this year, and David Fincher, its mercurial creator, delivered the news, which was a telling blow for its fans. However, it’s worth noting that the show’s future was uncertain throughout the course of this dilly-dallying. After its second season, the series was put on indefinite hold, and the cast was released from their contracts to pursue other projects. Netflix did not provide any specific reasons for the hiatus or announce whether the show would continue in the future. The rumor mill was rife with the chatter of a schism between Fincher and Netflix.
Fincher had previously indicated that he wouldn’t be interested in working on another season if he didn’t have complete creative control and the budget to make it in his style. Eventually, the budgeting became the reason why Netflix canceled the show. It is bizarre that a show like Mindhunter was deemed as not being financially viable since it is one of the most-watched series of all time in the true-crime drama category.
4. The OA
The creators of The OA had planned the story to stretch across five seasons. Netflix seemed willing to honor their plans, but the show was abruptly canceled before the pandemic hit. COVID had nothing to do with the cancellation, although Netflix insiders maintained that it was canceled due to low viewership and high production costs. The show was also known for being a complex and ambitious narrative, which may have made it difficult to retain a broad audience. This was the same reason that Netflix gave for canceling 1899, which is also on this list.
The move was a massive blow to the fans who had invested themselves in the universe of The OA and could never get closure. Its cliffhanger ending was even more torturous than Netflix’s attempts to rationalize its decision. The OA resonated with viewers for several reasons. As opposed to reports citing the show’s complex and thought-provoking narrative as one of the reasons to cancel the show, The OA was unlike anything else on television because of such complexities. This creative choice ensured that the narrative kept viewers engaged and guessing throughout its run. The show also featured a diverse cast of talented actors, including the show’s creator and star, Brit Marling, who brought a unique perspective to the story.
Additionally, the show explored themes of trauma, identity, and the nature of reality, which resonated with many viewers on a personal level. One cannot deny that The OA’s bold and ambitious storytelling, which included moments of beauty and terror, left a lasting impression on viewers and made it a cult favorite among fans.
5. Santa Clarita Diet
Few shows could have combined dark humor with satire and gore, as well as Santa Clarita Diet. The hilarious television show epitomized modern viewers’ lust for offbeat drama with traditional roots. Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore made for an eye-catching couple in the show who had to navigate their new undead lifestyle while trying to maintain a sense of normalcy in the community of Santa Clarita, California. This was one of those unresolved cliffhanger endings fans hadn’t forgiven Netflix for.
Three seasons seemed like a very short time when you go back and watch the show. At one point, a Kickstarter campaign was proposed by the show’s strong fanbase, but the move eventually fell through as randomly as it had started. Santa Clarita Diet had its fair share of controversies, especially the marketing blunder with currywurst. It was uncompromisingly stout in its depiction of gore, perhaps making it offputting for Netflix.
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Lilyhammer was doing so well with ratings and viewership numbers. Its successful run over three seasons was marked by intelligent writing and passionate acting. The series explored the stark contrast between Frank’s mafia background and the idyllic, laid-back Norwegian town he finds himself in due to a witness protection programme. This clash of cultures generated much of the show’s humor and provided a unique premise for storytelling. Frank’s attempts to adapt to Norwegian customs and integrate into the community often led to comical and sometimes absurd situations. Its effective blend of crime, comedy, and drama creates a distinctive tone that differentiates it from traditional crime dramas.
Netflix did not have clear reasons, but several underlying ones could exist. The production costs were high since most of the show was shot on location. Steven van Zandt and other cast members made honest attempts to cut back costs, with the former even creating the show’s music for free. The tricky licensing agreements that Netflix had in place with German and Norwegian productions might have also made the deal quite costly. Lilyhammer is still available to watch on Netflix, and that is the only positive to come out of this write-up.
Messiah captures the imagination with its creative premise of a Jesuit-like figure returning to earth out of nowhere. Only when he performs miracles beyond human comprehension, do our guarded sensibilities about “foreign threats” kick in, and the CIA follow up. The intelligence agency is always at the center of things in shows that profess to run along the lines of intrigue and mystery. That is an unavoidable American doozy, which is, in all probability, led to the show’s downfall. Messiah aired for a season before being canceled. But looking at how season 1 devolved into cliches and bland storytelling, Netflix can be sympathized with.
For some reason, Messiah did not convert its potential to be a heartfelt, feel-good show about flawed human beings finding hope and redeeming themselves. The tone became too convoluted and religiously provocative to be sustainable, even as Mehdi Dhebi’s mystical energy grew on us. Messiah could have survived the axe with some creative tweaks, but the pandemic was the final nail in the coffin for the show.
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8. Marco Polo
Marco Polo is indeed a tough one to make an argument for. Netflix reportedly lost over $200 million on the show, and perhaps that made it justifiable from a business perspective. It surely did, but the fans were left ruing the cancellation. Marco Polo was an adventurous period drama focused on glorifying its central protagonist rather than creating a followable story. The massive setpieces and large-scale production added grandeur to our screens but depleted the budgets with disappointing outcomes. Marco Polo was anything but modern in how its story unfolded.
Its old-fashioned charms divided the viewers and critics right in the middle. Although it is easy to see why the latter community disliked the show, the fans relished a new experience from Netflix that did not have to rely on changing notions of filmmaking. Marco Polo was pure entertainment and a larger-than-life retelling of Polo’s adventures.
9. I am Not Okay with This
It is a difficult time to navigate new life perspectives as an adolescent. The unique challenges compel us to discover who we are and embrace the reality of the outcomes. Disney+ recently tried its hand with Ms. Marvel, starring Kamala Khan as the central superhero. But the experiment had mixed results. Netflix’s I Am Not Okay with This was an insightful teen show into the life of Sydney, which is disrupted and uprooted when she discovers superpowers. Her already complex life becomes even more so as she tries to juggle the different curveballs life throws at her.
Even though VFX and special effects weren’t the pivotal part of the setup, the raw and authentic portrayal of adolescence in the show caught the eye. Sydney’s confusion, frustration, and emotional turmoil were deftly manifested. Sydney’s character goes through personal growth and self-discovery as she grapples with her emerging superpowers and the complexities of her relationships with her friends and family.
The show could not survive for more than one season and got the axe soon after it concluded. This officially became a victim of the pandemic as the shooting for season 2 was set to begin in the summer of 2020. Will it make a comeback now? We will have to wait and see.
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10. Julie & the Phantoms
It is quite hard to give musicals a mass appeal today if you aren’t Lin-Manuel Miranda. Tick..Tick…Boom! (2021) was quite sensational and arguably the best effort overall in the genre in recent times. The more complex and darker Annette (2021) was lesser so, but made a decent bid to keep the genre alive. Netflix had a gem in their hands in “Julie and the Phantoms.” The series was canceled after a solitary season and was a fan favorite until then. It was based on the Brazilian television series Julie e os Fantasmas with a feel-good plot about an aspirational singer, Julie, who inadvertently resurrects the ghost of dead musicians to put her dreams in motion.
The catchy and well-performed original songs mashed together different kinds of music together. Madison Reyes had a tremendously charming introduction to the world of film and media. Her next-door-girl energy made us root for her. Julie & The Phantoms is perhaps one of those rare occasions when even the critics did not appreciate the cancellation by Netflix. Three Emmys and an MTV award are apparently not enough to show for Netflix.