In this article:
- While shows get canceled all the time, Netflix canceled shows that genuinely deserved another season (at least to give us closure on the story.
- To add insult to injury, the streaming service seems to keep renewing some series that are, with all due respect, absolute trash.
- From Sense8 to Glow, some of the best shows Netflix ever aired have been cruelly taken from us while we’re still forced to endure shows like Too Hot to Handle and Sexy Beasts.
Gone too soon. You’ll always be in our hearts. RIP.
No, this is not a eulogy or an epitaph. It’s a tribute to the dozens of Netflix canceled shows that had the potential to tell great stories and continue growing but were ultimately cut down in their prime.
Somewhere out there is a hall of Netflix canceled shows that didn’t deserve to be axed. The streaming platform is notorious for having a high turnover rate for TV shows. Many never get past the one- or two-season mark and for Netflix, it’s all about the numbers.
Unsurprisingly, the streamer decides to cancel a show based on the viewership it receives versus the cost of producing it.
Analyst Tom Harrington reveals that Netflix favors shows that get audiences from different groups of subscribers instead of a single dedicated fan base. If the traction a series gets is limited to a niche, it’s not likely to grow outside of it, so it gets the axe.
A good example of an excellent performer based on that criteria is Squid Game. Not only did the Korean dystopian drama receive over 111 million views during its launch — a critical phase in deciding whether a show gets renewed — the series’ audience demographics are also more varied than other titles.
Age, gender, race, location, and fan base-wise, Squid Game became a clear winner in Netflix’s book.
Aside from viewership, there are other factors Netflix considers when renewing or canceling a title. A show gets progressively more expensive to produce with every season, because the premium producers charge on top of the cost to make the show increases with renewal.
Plus, the platform is reportedly generous with bonuses and pay raises for producers. These costs are part of the reason so many titles are released as limited series. Sometimes, they just end up getting dumped with the rest of the Netflix canceled shows if they don’t improve viewership enough to balance out the increasing production costs.
And because we’re in a binge-watching era, Netflix doesn’t film a pilot episode to see if it takes off. The streamer has to order an entire season’s worth of episodes and hope they get their money’s worth.
For the streaming service, it doesn’t matter if a show is objectively good or not, so long as it meets these viewership requirements, it’s probably going to get the green light. Unfortunately for subscribers, that means some of the obscure shows we’ve invested six or so hours binge-watching could become the latest casualty in the company’s next round of cancelations.
Did that glorious first season end on a cliffhanger? Well, you better hope there are enough of you out there watching to convince the company to renew it.
To add insult to injury while you wait for news, Netflix might have just renewed that terrible, mind-numbing show you loathe. And it’s just because it received better viewership than the hidden gem you discovered.
5 Netflix Canceled Shows (Gone but Not Forgotten)
These victims of the viewership formula are some of the most tragic losses you’ll find in the ever-expanding graveyard of Netflix canceled shows.
Science fiction is a tough genre to promote outside of its fanbase. Though the themes are very much human, some people find it difficult to grapple with alien concepts or worlds. So it’s not surprising that only a few series of the genre survive.
Sense8 almost made it but ultimately wen’t the way of most sci-fi.
The show explored what would happen if eight strangers scattered across the globe are psychically connected, or sensates. It was original and intriguing, perhaps a little reminiscent of Orphan Black, but still held its own in the sci-fi genre.
It had much more to explore but was canceled after just two seasons. But then fans flooded social media with tweets to #RenewSense8 — and it worked.
Netflix released a two-hour special. Though fans took that as a good sign for a revival, the streamer decided that the fanbase had no potential to expand to other audiences and axed it.
The Baby-Sitters Club
As it turns out, critical acclaim and TV awards won’t stop Netflix from pulling the plug on a great show. This is what The Baby-Sitters Club experienced, which got cut short after two short but incredibly sweet seasons.
Based on the bestselling 80s Scholastic novels, it tells the story of a group of preteen to teenage girls who formed a babysitting club. The show modernized the setting and the experiences the girls face — like learning one of the kids they babysit is transgender — but the spirit of the novels remains.
They were still the group of girls you read about and related to as a kid, who were going through boy/girl problems, learning to fit in a new environment, or finding out who they are at a young age.
The Baby-Sitters Club did very well in North America, according to creator Rachel Shukert, but Netflix wanted it to click outside the region too as other shows were.
“I think we had the bad luck to come out at about the same time as Squid Game,” Shukert adds, “which showed them how crazy the numbers could get.”
I Am Not Okay with This
Of all the Netflix canceled shows, I am least okay with I Am Not Okay with This bidding adieu on a cliffhanger. Fine — it’s a pretty obscure dark comedy that you stumble upon late at night when you’ve got nothing else to watch. But once you find it, you’re so glad you did.
It features Sophia Lillis and Wyatt Oleff, who co-starred in the It movies. Funnily enough, the coming-of-age tale is reminiscent of Stephen King’s Carrie, as Lillis’ character Syd also grapples with her newly-unlocked telekinesis.
As if being a teenage outcast with rage and trauma wasn’t already enough! It balances the dark themes very well with humor and relatability that even a fully-functioning adult like myself found the show irresistible.
The final episode sets up something darker and bigger looming for Syd. Co-creator Jonathan Entwistle said that a second season with a finale in mind was already greenlit. Unfortunately, a writers’ strike put things on hold.
It was followed by the pandemic and the writing was on the wall. Sadly, it was soon added to the growing list of Netflix canceled shows.
If Lord of the Flies and Dawson’s Creek (or Riverdale) had a baby, it would be The Society. The show is fraught with mystery as much as drama the average teenager faces.
Adding to the body image, dating, and rivalry issues the characters have — really a more mature version of The Baby-Sitters Club — is learning how to build their own society.
Here, they have been mysteriously cut off from what they know, with no parents or rules in sight. While that may sound like freedom to enjoy than a burden to carry, the teens quickly learn that they need to establish order to survive.
The teen drama had the makings of gripping television, kind of like Lost before its disastrous finale, but it had the same misfortune of coming out before the pandemic.
Shooting a second season would have happened during the height of it, and so it became another Netflix canceled show we’ll never get a satisfying ending to. So, really, like Lost.
Female wrestling, 80s big hair and fashion, complex storylines and friendships, and Alison Brie — what’s not to like about GLOW? The first season of the Netflix original gave us something fresh, exciting, and funny.
The show delved into the lives of misfits trying to make it in the world of women’s professional wrestling.
The second season even boosted the ratings of the first, much to the excitement of fans who wanted to keep seeing the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (fake) battle it out on screen.
And though its third season was met with acclaim, GLOW was canceled before production of what was to be its fourth and final season. It wasn’t low viewership that did the show in.
Instead, it was the pandemic preventing the actors from shooting scenes requiring physical contact that led to Netflix’s decision to cancel GLOW.
As for the fans’ cries for a movie to give us a proper exit, Alison Brie says, “Don’t hold your breath.” Fans of the sitcom Community, in which the actress played Annie, know all too well that rallying for a movie never leads anywhere.
5 Shows That Have Definitely Overstayed Our Welcome
Making it even harder to recover from the loss of so many great Netflix canceled shows, audiences continue to be handed new seasons of these five shows that have definitely passed their expiration date.
Too Hot to Handle
If you had the chance to win $100,000 but you can’t be physically intimate with another person for four weeks, would you take the challenge? For most, the obvious answer is, yes. That’s a cakewalk.
That’s the premise of the Love Island-inspired reality show Too Hot to Handle. But it wouldn’t make for good TV if the contestants were actually able to keep it in their pants. Spoiler: many of them can’t.
The show’s been described as the horniest reality show ever and we have no choice but to agree. Every time someone violates the no-touching rule, the cash prize gets smaller and smaller. In season 2, the pot shrinks to about $55,000.
While many would consider this a fun guilty pleasure, one season is really all you need to get the gist of it. We don’t really need multiple seasons of attractive people struggling to not have sex.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That should have been the first piece of advice given to the creators of Netflix’s Snowpiercer. It’s a reboot of Bong Joon-ho’s masterful adaptation of the graphic novel Le Transperceneige.
Similar to the source materials, the series is set years after the world freezes over and the only remaining people live in a train that doesn’t stop moving. The closer you are to the tail of the train, the lower your status in society.
Though star-studded, with names like Jennifer Connelly and Sean Bean, critics described it as a far cry from the gripping version Bong Joon-Ho gifted us.
It quickly devolved into a detective show — not really the point the original wanted to make, which was more of a social commentary on social classes and elitism. It’s not bad bad, but it’s also not good and didn’t deserve to be renewed when there are better stories to tell.
Fate: The Winx Saga
Next up on the list of shows that should find themselves among Netflix canceled shows is tween favorite Fate: The Winx Saga. Give us back The Baby-Sitters Club and take this one, please.
The series gave Nickelodeon’s Winx Club the Riverdale treatment by turning it into a soapy and dark live-action remake. Even worse, the teen drama whitewashed its characters. Part of the appeal of the original cartoon is its diversity.
Not only were the characters literal fairies with unique powers, but they also represented girls of color. Much to the disappointment of nostalgic fans, those characters were not played by POC, but by white actresses.
Unlike Riverdale, which many consider to be so bad it’s good, Fate is just bad. The plotlines are predictable, with themes more mature than the original. Clearly, the show’s creators misunderstood what made the cartoon beloved by its viewers.
Netflix is home to some of the most quirky and interesting shows and the premise of Sexy Beast painted it as one. It’s not your average reality dating game show that features an eligible bachelor or bachelorette. Instead, they all wear beast-like prosthetics or masks.
The message it’s trying to portray is glaringly obvious: real love is blind. Or personality is more important than looks.
While the goal is admirable — albeit wrapped in furry layers — it’s ultimately undermined by each reveal. Each contestant is incredibly attractive underneath the mask, with some of the participants even being professional models.
The only takeaway viewers really get from this show is your looks don’t matter so long as your looks fit the standard ideal. Much like money is not important when you’re rich, looks don’t matter in dating if you’re actually conventionally attractive.
Plus we already have Love Is Blind. And they execute the premise of “love is blind” better.
The Goop Lab
The fact that Gwyneth Paltrow’s health and wellness company, Goop, is the center of this docuseries is all you need to know to say, “No, thank you” to this next item on our list of should-be Netflix canceled shows.
Who could forget the ridiculous products Paltrow peddles through her company: the candle that smells like her vagina, the jade egg you’re meant to put up yours, or that ouija board for the low price of $1,995.
All of Goop’s pseudoscientific claims are given a platform in The Goop Lab and unfortunately, the docuseries is coming back for a second season.
As if we weren’t already dealing with too much disinformation, Gwyneth Paltrow gets to continue promoting health and wellness products based on false or unfounded science.
That’s the way the cookie crumbles in the era of streaming. We might never see another season of great shows regardless of our tweets and petitions. And the injustice of seeing bad shows get recommissioned will prevail.
The list of Netflix canceled shows will only continue to grow and the power we hold as fans (and subscribers) is surprisingly small. Unless we can rally the troops from other camps to reorder another season of your new favorite show, our favorite niche or high-production-value shows are going to suffer the same fate.
The only silver lining, really, is that at the pace Netflix produces new shows, we’ll never run out of content to consume, and some of it will be great. Just be sure not to invest your time and energy into any particular one, because it could end before its time.