For television shows, cancellation is a threat that hovers over a production, no matter how good the series may be. Global streaming service Netflix has its own interesting history with both saving and cancelling shows.
Part of Netflix’s rise to popularity was the platform’s practice of saving shows that were unsuccessful on traditional networks, such as the psychological thriller series You starring Penn Badgley which aired its first season on Lifetime. The American cable channel originally renewed You for a second season before pulling out due to low ratings. Cue Netflix swooping in and turning the show into an international success by offering the show in bingeable form on the service.
Since Netflixbegan creating original content in 2013, the streaming giant has produced over 1,500 original film and television titles. With all this new content, a number of cancellations have occurred over the years. A recent unexpected show cancellation is the Netflix original series The Society created by Christopher Keyser which premiered in March 2019 and was renewed for a second season shortly after. The show was scheduled to begin filming its second season in March 2020 but was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions and set to resume production in September 2020 instead. However, while the production was preparing to resume, Netflix retracted the renewal, receiving a shocked response from the cast, crew and fans for the unusual nature of the cancellation.
Netflix viewers who are saddened by the cancellation of their favourite shows may be able to look to exceptions to the rule like One Day at a Time for hope. One Day at a Time is a Latinx-led reboot of the popular sitcom of the same name that ran from 1975 to 1983. The news that Netflix had cancelled the show in March 2019 after three seasons was met with outcry from devoted fans. However, in June 2019 the series became the first Netflix show to be saved by a traditional network as a fourth season was picked up by ViacomCBS-owned channel Pop TV.
Series cancellations are an inevitable part of the television industry but hopefully there are more show resurrections ahead for the truly great ones.