A number of Netflix Original shows have been cancelled over the years – “Hemlock Grove” was one of the early ones to come to an end back in 2015. But in recent years these cancellations have started making headline news about fans being “outraged” that their favourite show ended – sometimes even going as far as creating an online petition to try persuade Netflix to change their mind.
Shows such as sci-fi series “The OA” and “Sense8”, animated comedy “Tuca & Bertie”, thriller series “Chambers”, dark comedy “Santa Clarita Diet” and, of course, all the Marvel series: “Daredevil”, “Jessica Jones”, “Luke Cage”, “Iron Fist”, “The Punisher” and “The Defenders”. These cancellations left a sour taste in many people’s mouths as the series’ were cancelled before the stories were completed.
There are other shows too that have been ‘cancelled’ or, perhaps a better description, have been brought to an end. The family-friendly fantasy “A Series of Unfortunate Events” completed its story after 3 seasons; Germany’s “Dark” has been renewed for a third and final season; “Orange is The New Black” was brought to a conclusion after 7 seasons; “House of Cards” ended after 6 seasons; “Fuller House” will be ending later this year after its 5th season; and “13 Reasons Why” will be coming to an end with season 4.
This is just a small number of the Original Series that Netflix has cancelled so it could be easy to assume that Netflix cancel a lot – but they actually don’t, comparatively speaking. Last year Bloomberg reported some interesting figures showing that Netflix actually cancels less shows before season 4 than CBS but slightly more than HBO. So Netflix aren’t just cancelling your favourite show out of spite and they certainly aren’t much different from other major networks with regards to cancelling shows.
So why do shows get cancelled? Netflix has only recently been more open about their viewing figures but when shows get cancelled they have always shied away from going into too much detail. However they do use what they call “efficiency metric” – how efficient is a show at keeping people’s interest and persuading them to continue subscribing. The exact details of this metric is, obviously, a closely guarded secret at Netflix HQ but it is safe to assume that viewing figures will play a part in it as well as how many people complete a series and how fast. Last year Deadline wrote a great article that explains some of the behind-the-scenes ideas behind Netflix’s cancellations and, in a nutshell, it is driven by viewers and popularity as well as cost. If a show is successful then subsequent series will cost more to produce (with cast wanting higher pay etc) so as more seasons are released, the cost then becomes potentially prohibitive. So when “One Day at a Time” was cancelled shortly after season 3 was released, it is safe to assume that those early viewing figures didn’t justify continuing the show.
So where do I come in? Well, I’ve never watched “One Day at a Time”, “Santa Clarita Diet”, “The OA”, “House of Cards”, “The Punisher” “Dark” or “Chambers”. I’ve only just recently finished “Orange is The New Black” (watching seasons 6 and 7 through September and October) and I still have season 2 of “Jessica Jones”, “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist” to watch. There are plenty of other Originals that are on my list to watch but I simply haven’t got around to them. They’re Netflix Originals, they’ll never get removed – so, instead, I try to watch the 3rd party series and films before they get removed from the service. I also usually wait until the hype has died down before watching a show too so I can make my own mind up. I actually couldn’t finish the first episode of “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” and pretty much gave up on “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” after a handful of episodes. That being said, I watched all of “The Witcher” within a week of it being released.
I can’t help thinking that if I, and others like me (there must be others, surely?), had binged through all the shows that had been released then more would have survived based on the efficiency metric. I’m sure I will watch “The OA” and “Chambers” at some point too – but it may be months until I get around to it (especially with so much more Original content being released). But if I then find I love the series and binge it all within a week it will all be in vein – it has already been cancelled and there won’t be any more. My lack of bingeing shows as soon as they are released is to blame – but I won’t apologise for my viewing habits.
However, if I really am the reason Netflix cancels their Original shows, should you be listening to my advice anyway?!