Netflix once had a reputation for commissioning anything and then recommissioning it. Case in point perhaps is Marco Polo, One of the first Netflix originals this ran for two years without anyone really noticing. Admittedly a bigger hit their prison dramedy Orange Is The New Black will be around for a while yet and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is returning soon for a fourth series. Netflix used to shout about its original content a lot but there’s a sense now that the tide is turning.
They’ve started to axe the original content that doesn’t perform as well as they’d expect it to. This isn’t unusual that’s how TV works, but it’s strange for Netflix to do this so quickly considering they never release the ratings for any show on the service. I was personally disappointed earlier last week when they announced they’d decided not to give a second series to gentle teen dramedy Everything Sucks. It appeared to be a marmite show if you asked critics. Those who’d stopped after viewing the first one wrote it off as generic and covering all too familiar ground, but those of us who watched to the end found the series to be charming and quite special. It wasn’t without its issues but you can forgive any show for not being the best version of itself in the first series. The series seemed to have devoted army of fans online and I had expected a second series announcement would arrive any day, but no Netflix said no to more of Everything Sucks so that’s the end of that.
Then today the news broke that their somewhat bleak crime drama Seven Seconds wouldn’t be returning for a second season either. “We loved working with Veena Sud, Regina King and the cast and crew of Seven Seconds, said Cindy Holland, VP, Original Content, Netflix. “Together they created a compelling, timely and relevant crime drama. The first season is a complete, stand-alone story that we are proud to feature on Netflix for years to come.”
Written by Sud and starring Regina King, Seven Seconds chronicled tensions running high between African-American citizens and Caucasian police in Jersey City, where a teenage African-American boy is critically injured by a cop.
Is the axe falling on both of these Netflix originals a sign that Netflix is morphing into the television network it has always claimed it wasn’t trying to emulate? Is it a sign that they’re perhaps losing touch with what their subscribers want? Personally I’ll miss Everything Sucks and because the show is on a streaming service I feel the lack the of a proper conclusion is owed to me. Now that it’s behaving more like a TV network I’d like to see how well Netflix originals do in terms of views. That might make these cancellations easier to understand.