I’m The Reason Netflix Cancels Their Original Shows

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.

13 Reasons Why will end after 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.

Animated comedy Tuca & Bertie only survived a single season

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.

The Marvel shows were cancelled from late 2018

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.

There are around 1,500 Netflix Originals available (See all the Originals on Netflix UK and USA) on the service and, guess what? You don’t have to watch them all!

However, if I really am the reason Netflix cancels their Original shows, should you be listening to my advice anyway?!

About MaFt

Film and TV fan, creator of New On Netflix (UK, USA, Australia and Canada), dad of two amazing children, code geek and passionate about autism.

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15 thoughts on “I’m The Reason Netflix Cancels Their Original Shows

  1. You make a very good point about how originals aren’t going away, so they get lower priority. I was mid-way through watching s2 of Castle on Netflix when it was removed. Like … thanks! I was watching that! There’s no rush to watch Dark, s2+ of Stranger Things and Dirk Gently and things like that because they’re not at risk of going away. Ditto some shows I’d like to see on Prime (Carnival Row, Man in the High Castle), but because you never know when third party shows will go away, so I’m currently prioritising getting through Chuck. (I mean, having to buy the DVD box set to see the rest of s5 would be SUCH a chore! Or not …) And then there are some originals which get gobbled up regardless – The Good Place, The Witcher, Virgin River, Good Omens, Marvellous Mrs Maisel …

  2. There’s just too much stuff. And the release date for these things are too close together. I’m looking forward to Season 2 of Sex Education and Part 3 of Sabrina, but they’re being released a week apart. I feel stressed if I don’t watch them on release too, as I worry that they will get cancelled if not enough people watch them right away. My favourite Netflix show is The Dragon Prince but I have only just been able to start Season 3, despite it being released in November, but as they haven’t announced S4 I wonder if I’m too late! I honestly wish they would go to a weekly episode format for all shows, as it’s easier for people with busy lives and also keeps public interest for longer

  3. “There are around 1,500 Netflix Originals available (See all the Originals on Netflix UK and USA) on the service and, guess what? You don’t have to watch them all!” (And even if you wanted to it’s physically impossible – lol).

  4. If Netflix commited to providing some form of closure on cancelled series, i would be more willing to try some of their series.
    However, like network tv, netflix doesnt seem adverse to simply dumping a series mid story… making the previous seasons into an annoying waste of time.

    I avoid any series with a complex plot and watch the series after it’s done as a mini seties if it has closure per reviews

  5. Dark has one more season anyway. They planned it for 3. They need to either write self contained series or commit to a 2nd before its done filming so youre not stuck with a dumb cliffhanger. Santa clarita was amazing and got axed.

  6. I’m totally the same! I hate watching a show that is still going, because I get too invested, then have to wait 8 months between seasons. Blame my short attention span, but I’m more likely to lose interest. There are a few exceptions, of course.
    I too, watch third-party movies and TV first before they are removed, so it’ll be a while before I get round to some Netflix Originals.

  7. Yep same with me, I see an Original and think okay that can wait… also sometimes I save up a series I really want to see so I can binge it when I have proper time (Lost in Space S2 is just such a case). Some I deliberately consume slowly , eeking out episodes as I know I love this series and only have 8 episodes in total…

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