As much as we love to root for Netflix, the platform has broken our hearts by cancelling niche, but well-loved shows way too often. So our faith sometimes dwindles in the streamer that has, without doubts, given us bonafide gems over the years.
From botching up stories with existing fanbases (Cowboy Bebop, Fate: The Winx Saga) to axing shows that had tremendous promise and growing fan followings (Altered Carbon, The OA, I Am Not Okay With This, Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj just to name a few), Netflix has let us down several times. Lockwood & Co. is the most recent one to meet the chopping block.
This pattern instils fear in the hearts of avid lovers of Netflix shows and also prevents their organic growth. Before the days of streaming, people discovered new shows by word of mouth, often after they had aired for multiple seasons. Of course, good shows still got dropped by channels all the time but perhaps not with this frequency.
We live in times of burgeoning content, constantly being lured by well-written and crafted shows and films by various streamers and studios alike. When potential fans find out that a show was cancelled before its time, they hesitate to invest their time and energy into it. They can better utilise their energies elsewhere.
However, even among all this chaos, five Netflix cancellations still sting in particular.
Five shows Netflix cancelled too soon:
Jessica Jones (2015-2019)
The second Marvel Netflix series, after Daredevil, starring Krysten Ritter as the titular Jessica Jones, followed the life of the eponymous superhero turned private investigator with superhuman strength. From delving into heavy topics like sexual assault and notions of consent to good ol’ crime solving—the first season, featuring David Tennant as archnemesis Kilgrave, was definitely the best of the series. Carrie-Anne Moss’s Jeri Hogarth also left an impression. The story managed to strike a balance when dealing with feminine strength in terms of the physical as well as the emotional.
Possibly because the standards were set so high, it was met with a tepid response when the show returned with a second season three years after its debut. A meandering storyline and lack of a convincing antagonist (Tennant had obviously raised the bar) left fans wanting better. But before things could get back on track, the Melissa Rosenberg creation was cancelled along with The Punisher.
Santa Clarita Diet (2017-2019)
Victor Fresco’s morbidly humourous Santa Clarita Diet isn’t a show that is easy to digest, pun intended. But it was hilarious, too. Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant played husband and wife real estate duo Joel and Sheila Hammond, whose seemingly mundane life turned topsy-turvy when Sheila became a zombie. Together they find a solution to Sheila’s cravings for human flesh by going the Dexter way—only kill the scumbags.
The single-camera series explored the horrors and comedies of Hammond’s supernatural predicament with a kind of breeziness most comedies fail to capture nowadays. The most infuriating thing about the cancellation after three seasons was that the series ended on a massive cliffhanger right before a possibly mythical explanation.
Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch’s (with Orange is the new black’s Jenji Kohan serving as an EP) period dramedy about a motley crew of professional women wrestlers, aka Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (or GLOW), is exactly the kind of show OG Netflix subscribers signed up for. The series bagged Betty Gilpin three Emmy nominations; the show earned one ‘Outstanding Comedy Series’ nom and won two technical awards in the ‘Outstanding Production Design’ and ‘Outstanding Stunt Coordination’ categories.
Set in Los Angeles in 1985, the series followed struggling actor Ruth Wilder’s (Alison Brie) journey to finding a modicum of fame and purpose as a GLOW performer. The show also featured a diverse group of women of different ethnicities, body types, and personalities. Covid-related production halts were blamed for the show’s cancellation that could’ve easily wrapped up all its primary loose ends with one more season.
The year 2019 saw the end of multiple fan-favourite shows. Created by Joe Penhall and directed mainly by David Fincher, Mindhunter streamed its second season in 2019 but kept our hopes up till recently, when Fincher announced that Netflix is abandoning the show due to budget concerns.
Based on the true-crime book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit written by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Mindhunter follows two FBI agents, Holden Ford (played by Jonathan Groff), Bill Tench (played by Holt McCallany) and psychology professor Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), as they set out to expand the field of criminal psychology and behavioural profiling. Set in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the series explores the agents’ interviews and interactions with incarcerated serial killers to understand their motives and methods, ultimately aiding in developing modern investigative techniques. Cameron Britton as Ed Kemper was a standout performance, and viewers of the show thirsted for more, but alas, that seems unlikely to be quenched.
Despite being chalked up as a series with a three-season arc by the creators Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar, 1899 was cancelled this January only after one season. The multilingual German period mystery was released to favourable reviews in November 2022 and cancelled by Netflix within two months. The team behind the successful Netflix show Dark set the story of 1899 on a steamship named Kerberos.
The series follows a group of European migrants from Southampton, UK, who journey towards America, to start new lives in New York City. But of course, not all is as it seems on this strange ship. But unlike Dark, which got its three-season arc, fans of 1899 would never find out what was really up. Netflix and the showrunners did not give any legit reason for the show’s untimely cancellation, but fans suspect the lack of adequate numbers was the culprit.