Netflix is known for having an incredibly successful lineup of original television series. Stranger Things, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, The Crown, Master of None, Narcos, 13 Reasons Why, and the Marvel Studios co-productions Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage have proven this streaming giant to also be a production juggernaut when it comes to TV content.
But Netflix can mess things up sometimes, either by renewing irrelevant shows for way too many seasons or by canceling promising projects a bit too early. As of late, it’s been a recurring theme for fans to criticize the decisions Netflix makes in regards to its original content, especially when the logic that applies to one show does not apply to another.
With the news that the streaming giant may hit 700 original movies and television shows in 2018, it is certainly hard to understand why ongoing projects that display a lot of promise have been canceled at all, for instance.
With $8 billion to spend on original content in 2018, Netflix should learn from its mistakes and understand when it is the time for a project to end – not too early and not too late.
These are the 8 Netflix Shows That Went On For Too Long (And 7 That Were Canceled Too Soon).
15 TOO LONG: BLOODLINE
The first season of Bloodline caught the attention of critics very quickly. The intention behind the series was to position Netflix as a major contender for television awards, which definitely happened during Bloodline’s first season as it was nominated for a few Primetime Emmy awards in acting categories.
However, despite the undeniably stellar performances from the Bloodline cast – particularly Ben Mendelsohn, who won an Emmy for his performance in the show – the writing was arguably much weaker in season 2, and by season 3, it was clear that the show had already been dragged out for way too long.
The family drama in Bloodline was not sufficient to compel viewers to keep going, which prompted Netflix to announce the show’s third season as its final one.
14 TOO SOON: SENSE8
Sense8 is the poster child for the category of Netflix original series that were canceled way too soon.
Netflix brought in the Wachowskis (known for The Matrix trilogy and Cloud Atlas) in 2015 to create a sci-fi juggernaut that featured a diverse cast and existed in the age of globalization, and Sense8 achieved all of the points the streaming giant was trying to hit at the time. The series was quickly embraced by millions of fans all over the world who enjoyed seeing representations of themselves on a major Netflix original show, and like Orange is the New Black, Sense8 became a social media sensation around the world.
And then, two seasons later, Sense8 was canceled. The internet uproar was so intense that, after the cancellation, Netflix back-pedaled and decided to produce a final 2-hour episode for the series’ storylines to be resolved.
13 TOO LONG: MARCO POLO
In Netflix’s ongoing effort to match up to HBO with original shows that are both critical and commercial hits, the streaming service invested heavily on Marco Polo, which was intended to be a blockbuster as big as HBO’s Game of Thrones. The series’ season 1 was budgeted at $90 million, which is an outlandish amount by TV standards.
Unfortunately, it was clear from Marco Polo’s first season that the show was not even close to being as appealing and engaging as Game of Thrones. With all the money Netflix had already invested in the series, the company decided to give it a try for one more year, but season 2 failed to save the project from impending doom.
Despite only having two seasons, the fact that Marco Polo even got a second season is astonishing. In the end, it certainly went on for way too long.
12 TOO SOON: THE GET DOWN
The Get Down is an interesting example of a Netflix original series that was canceled too soon - purely for monetary reasons. The show found an audience and definitely attracted the attention of critics, but ultimately, it had too high of a production cost attached to it, and the streaming giant deemed the project as too expensive for the arguably small appeal that it gathered.
The first season of The Get Down had a reported cost of $120 million, which in 2016, meant that the project was more expensive than Game of Thrones. The series released a batch of new episodes in 2017, calling it a “second part” instead of a second season.
The show ultimately became way too expensive for the results that it achieved, failing to receive any nominations for an Emmy or to attract a mainstream audience.
11 TOO LONG: HEMLOCK GROVE
In 2013, after seeing some success co-producing Lilyhammer in 2012, Netflix premiered the three first original TV shows that were 100% exclusive to the platform on a global scale – House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, and Orange is the New Black.
House of Cards quickly became a critics’ darling and Orange is the New Black immediately gathered mainstream attention, but Hemlock Grove seemed to fall somewhere in middle: it was too “silly” for critics and took itself “too seriously” for mainstream audiences. It made its way to becoming a niche project, but despite that label, it was surprisingly renewed for three seasons.
Hemlock Grove ran for an arguably long amount of time when considering the size of the audience that it entertained and the overwhelmingly negative feedback that it received from critics.
10 TOO SOON: LADY DYNAMITE
A surrealist comedy starring Maria Bamford sounds like a project that was aiming to please a very, very, very specific audience. But truth be told, Lady Dynamite tackled serious subjects with a humorous twist in the same way that Netflix’s other female-led comedies Grace and Frankie and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt did. There was no reason for Lady Dynamite to fail, even if the show wasn’t necessarily meant to please everybody.
Unlike Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Grace and Frankie, however, something seemed to be missing from Lady Dynamite, and the series was not able to get past its second season. Many fans of the show are still holding a grudge about that cancellation, especially because such a promising and inexpensive TV show that openly talked about depression and anxiety should have a place to exist in 2018.
9 TOO LONG: HATERS BACK OFF
Miranda Sings is a very popular character on YouTube – so popular that Netflix decided to bet on her brand and spin off the character to exist in fully-fledged half-hour comedy series.
Created by actress, singer, and writer Colleen Ballinger, Miranda is an up-and-coming internet sensation who thinks that she is a lot more talented than she actually is. The character is a perfect fit for YouTube because it lends itself as a parody of so many people with questionable talents that decide to grace the internet with subpar (and sometimes embarrassing) video content. But on Netflix, the world that surrounds Miranda Sings became front-and-center, and it turned out that the appeal just wasn’t the same.
Haters Back Off was shockingly renewed for a second season, which failed to compensate for a weak season 1 and prompted the show to be canceled.
8 TOO SOON: GYPSY
Gypsy received negative criticisms as soon as it premiered, but a Naomi Watts-starring psychological thriller surely deserved a chance to find itself in a second season, right?
Well, Netflix did not seem to agree with that notion. Despite giving the writer's room already having started work on a second season, Gypsy fell into the Girlboss category of projects that were strangely not “great enough” for Netflix to renew.
When put in perspective, TV shows such as Iron Fist, Friends From College, and Haters Back Off were judged by critics just as harshly as Gypsy was, but were ultimately given a second year to try things out.
Gypsy was inexpensive to make and had Naomi Watts – a bona fide movie star – as the protagonist, which surely should have given it enough credit to return for a second year.
7 TOO LONG: BETWEEN
A co-production between Netflix and Canadian network City, Between was one of those projects that stuck around for too long for some odd reason, despite low ratings and a pretty unanimously negative critical feedback. The show was renewed for a second season that arguably no one asked for or cared about.
Netflix has been much more successful with its other co-productions with Canadian networks, such as Degrassi: Next Class and Lost & Found Music Studios (Netflix/Family Channel), Alias Grace and Anne with an E (Netflix/CBC), and Travelers (Netflix/Showcase).
Between was released in 2015, a time when Netflix wanted to expand its productions to global proportions at basically any cost, which probably explains why the streaming service insisted on producing a second season of a subpar original series.
6 TOO SOON: W/ BOB AND DAVID
Sure, we all know Bob Odenkirk and David Cross are busy men, and that W/ Bob & David was always only supposed to have a limited run… but that doesn’t mean that we can’t wish for this Netflix original series to have been renewed for a second season (and beyond).
W/ Bob & David was a collection of four episodes (and one special) in which actors Bob Odenkirk and David Cross played sketches. It was an indirect revival of their successful HBO sketch show Mr. Show with Bob and David, which ran from 1995 to 1998.
David Cross has spoken about wanting to do more episodes of W/ Bob & David, but blamed Bob Odenkirk’s tight schedule (due to AMC’s Better Call Saul) as the main impediment for the series to keep going.
5 TOO LONG: RICHIE RICH
Richie Rich was a somewhat successful 1994 film starring Macaulay Culkin that flopped at the theaters but went on to sell many VHS tapes. Then, in 2015, Netflix and DreamWorks Animation teamed up to attempt to revive the franchise as a half-hour comedy series.
For the showrunner, they hired Jeff Hodsden, who had enjoyed such a successful run writing for Disney Channel shows such as The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, The Suite Life On Deck, and A.N.T. Farm. But if you didn’t know that this Richie Rich TV show even happened, that’s because the show was not really well-liked by anyone.
Somehow, however, Richie Rich managed to get two whole seasons at Netflix, totaling 21 episodes. Jake Brennan, who played the show’s title character, has since been featured in cameo roles in projects such as General Hospital, The Mick, The Orville, and Speechless.
4 TOO SOON: CRAZYHEAD
A co-production between Netflix and the UK’s Channel 4, Crazyhead was created by Howard Overman – the man responsible for Misfits.
After receiving an overwhelmingly positive feedback in regards to its first season, Crazyhead was suddenly and mysteriously not renewed for a second season, with Channel 4 pulling out its participation in the show altogether. Netflix UK acquired the British rights to the series, making Netflix the sole proprietor of the franchise on a global basis now, but Crazyhead has yet to get out of its current “canceled” status.
It is definitely upsetting when a promising, great TV show only gets to have a first season, especially when that season only had six episode It was way too soon to cancel this show after just six remarkable episodes.
3 TOO LONG: LILYHAMMER
Lilyhammer, a Norwegian-American co-production between Netflix and Norwegian network NRK1, was arguably the first legitimate original drama series to have exclusive distribution and funding from Netflix.
From the very beginning, however, Lilyhammer drew several comparisons to HBO’s The Sopranos, and was constantly criticized for being a weak attempt to replicate the success of such a critically-acclaimed and beloved TV show. As it became more and more evident that Lilyhammer had seemingly nothing new or exciting to offer, Netflix acted as a protective parent and insisted on the matter, letting the show run for three seasons between 2012 and 2014.
Thanks to Lilyhammer, Netflix learned many lessons and perfected its lineup of original shows in later years. However, critics are still convinced that this particular series ran for way longer than it should have.
2 TOO SOON: ATELIER
Between 2015 and 2016, Netflix invested heavily in original foreign language productions and co-productions that took place in several different countries. There was Club of Crows from Mexico, Marseille from France, 3% from Brazil, Between from Canada, Estocolmo from Argentina, and Atelier from Japan, to name a few, which all premiered around the same time.
The curious thing is that, critical and commercial appeal aside, nearly all of these shows got renewed for at least a second season - with the exception of Argentina’s Estocolmo and Japan’s Atelier. The latter was particularly shocking because it showed a lot of promise and was co-produced by Fuji TV, a Japanese television network that has set up a strong long-term partnership with Netflix to co-produce several different projects.
Atelier did not have that high of a production cost and certainly deserved at least a second season.
1 TOO LONG: CHELSEA
After leaving E!’s Chelsea Lately and reportedly entertaining the possibility of hosting a new talk show on a major broadcast network, Chelsea Handler decided to give Netflix a chance. She signed on with the streaming giant for multiple projects that included the docu-series Chelsea Does and the weekly talk show Chelsea.
Despite the fact that Chelsea Does became quite popular with Netflix audiences, it became very clear that the same did not happen with Chelsea, the talk show. After producing two seasons and 120 episodes of the series, Netflix announced that Chelsea would not return for a third season.
This is not to say that Netflix is no longer interested in the talk show format. The company has since premiered and announced numerous other projects, including Bill Nye Saves The World, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale, The Break with Michelle Wolf, and a yet untitled talk show with Hasan Minhaj.
What Netlix show do you miss the most? Let us know in the comments.
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