Over the past few months Netflix has been getting somewhat of a bad reputation with its pattern of canceling it’s series after 3 seasons.
As of March 29th, as soon as the Drew Barrymore/Timothy Olyphant vampire comedy Santa Clarita Diet drooped ins 10-episode third season, it became the streamers latest casualty. But other Netflix series like Bloodline, Marvel’s Daredevil and The Punisher, Lilyhammer, Hemlock Grove, and by far Netflix’s biggest cancellation to date, One Day at a Time.
The main difference in the aforementioned cancels series above and other series like Stranger Things is ownership. Stranger Things is owned by Netflix, so there’s long term financial incentive for the streamer to order additional seasons. Netflix makes its money by gaining new subscribers. The company has admitted that she is lasting longer than 30 episodes become too expensive to produce and don’t bring in any new subscribers, making the decision to cancel the series very easy.
The two biggest exceptions to this rule is House of Cards and Orange is the New Black – the streamers original flagship series that gave Netflix the credibility and superstar status in creating its own content.
In Netflix’s defense, if they have to cancel shows based on a show not helping generate new subscribers, so be it. It’s no different than the broadcasters cancelling a show due to low ratings to please advertisers. The television industry is first and foremost a business, and the primary reason to be in business is to make money.
To avoid sending their subscribers into an emotional tailspin when a show gets canceled, especially unexpectedly when a show ends on cliffhanger like Santa Clarita Diet, is to start setting the expectations with viewers and showrunners alike. If writers know going in there’s a strong likelihood of cancellation at the start of production on season three, have them start formulating an ending to satisfy viewers who’ve invested their time in that series, even if there isn’t an announcement of that series ending until the season as concluded. That’s the absolute least Netflix can do.