Sense8 and The Get-Down have both been given the ax over at Netflix. The shows were critically well-received and had their fans, but it looks like the cost outweighed whatever other metrics Netflix judges their shows by. If you are a fan of some Netflix shows, you might want to start looking out for some more cancellations. Because according to CEO Reed Hastings, they are definitely coming.
Different is Scary
Let me first say that this isn’t a statement on the quality of Sense8 or The Get-Down or even any other show that gets canceled. Good shows get canceled all the time. But, they are often stories that have a particular niche. They often find their audiences later down the road and can even find wider viewership, but many shows just can’t tap into that X-factor that makes a hit.
And when it comes to being successful on a grand scale, you have to entice as many people as possible. Sense8, The Get-Down, and other shows were never going to be all-reaching successes. The stories they were telling just weren’t made for that. Again, this doesn’t mean they weren’t interesting or well-executed, but rather that they were intrinsically unique stories and/or used unconventional storytelling methods.
People like what’s familiar. It’s a sad truth when it comes to creativity. Stranger Things is a great show but it’s also mashing together so many recognizable tropes and concepts. And that’s one of the reasons it’s so beloved: it feels like something we know but with a new presentation.
And So Begins the Netflix Cancelocalypse
Netflix has only canceled six of their original shows. They’ve been very friendly to their content creators but their business model is evolving. They’ve thrown a lot of money at attracting talent and now they see that some big investments don’t pay off. You can bet that other such shows will probably be on the chopping block once Netflix realizes that they are better off concentrating their big dollars at three or four major releases instead of spreading everything around.
Budgets factor into television much more than people care to admit, and both of these shows were expensive to produce. Since Netflix is a subscription-based service, it’s likely that these shows weren’t driving people to subscribe in the same way House of Cards, Stranger Things, or even the Marvel series are doing. So much of that is built around conversation. If people aren’t actively talking about a show today, it’s probably doomed to die.
You can still expect lower budget shows like Master of None or Mystery Science Theater 3000 to stick around for a while, but only if they can create the kind of conversation that makes people need to check them out. More than ever, the power of a show’s longevity is in the hands of the fans. So, if you aren’t seeing a whole bunch of chatter online about good shows like Girlboss or Crazyhead, chances are they aren’t going to be around for long. And if you love those shows, you have a duty as a consumer to support them and get them out there as much as you can.
So What’s Good About This?
In the end, it’s important to remember that when shows get canceled we get new shows. New creators step in and get to try new things. And the people behind those canceled shows go on to do other projects. If Firefly hadn’t been canceled, it’s possible we wouldn’t have gotten Joss Whedon’s version of The Avengers. The Wachowskis and Baz Luhrmann are incredibly talented artists and whatever they do next will be worth checking out.
This also means that the big budgets for those shows will get redirected. Maybe they’ll go to smaller shows that can support such niche ideas. Or it could go towards a huge production like a Game of Thrones or Westworld. No matter what, something good will come out of this. In the meantime, if you liked these shows, enjoy the time you had with them. Let you friends and the creators know about your passion. A revival isn’t impossible. You have more power than you know. Use it.
On that note: Please, please, please watch Black Mirror.