#Netflix has officially joined the ranks of cable networks by starting a trend of canceling some of its best and most promising shows. One of the things I’ve loved about Netflix is the way it gives fledgling shows a chance to grow an audience and really find its creative niche. Most recently the streaming service canceled Baz Luhrmann’s musical drama The Get Down, and today it delivered its worst blow yet: It canceled J. Michael Straczynski and the Wachowski’s sci-fi drama Sense8. After having just written a piece about the stellar second season and the necessity of a show like this today – especially now – it’s hard to understand what the service gains from canceling one its most critically acclaimed shows. Needless to say, fans are upset about this decision and have taken to twitter to express their frustration.
Cindy Holland, VP of original content at Netflix, released a statement about the cancellation:
"After 23 episodes, 16 cities and 13 countries, the story of the Sense8 cluster is coming to an end. It is everything we and the fans dreamed it would be: bold, emotional, stunning, kick ass, and outright unforgettable. Never has there been a more truly global show with an equally diverse and international cast and crew, which is only mirrored by the connected community of deeply passionate fans all around the world. We thank Lana, Lilly, Joe and Grant for their vision, and the entire cast and crew for their craftsmanship and commitment."
While we don’t know for sure why it got put on the chopping block, as the statement gives no explanation for their decision, the series did have a notoriously expensive budget – the second season was averaging $9 million per episode – as it shoots all over the world. However, canceling original series is a new trend for the streaming service. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings mentioned yesterday his desire for the platform to take bigger risks by canceling more shows.
"Our hit ratio is way too high right now," he said. "I'm always pushing the content team; we have to take more risk, you have to try more crazy things, because we should have a higher cancel rate overall."
Netflix unfortunately has pretty terrible timing as they made the decision to announce the cancelation on the first day of Pride Month, and people are not happy. Sense8 was one of the most diverse and representative series on television ever, so combined with the loss of The Get Down – another diverse series – it really hits home for a lot of fans. The show had incredible writing, an engaging plot and a truly passionate commitment to exploring the power of love that transcends across continents and cultures.
The fans waited patiently for the second season’s release for 2 years, and it’s lack of a renewal date after it dropped did not bode well and they called it. To those who have watched a great deal of TV over the years, especially the fans of cult series and lesser-known fare, this was a death knell for the series. Netflix did not promote the series’ second season much at all, so it’s not a surprise that it has taken a long time to develop a dedicated following.
The second season ended on an insane cliffhanger with zero emotional resolution and now the fan base is steadfast in their determination to not let it end there. To see it get cut off at the knees, especially because the show had so much more story to tell, is truly a travesty. Many are tweeting #RenewSense8 with the hopes that a site like Hulu, if not Netflix, will let the creators finish the story they were unable to finish in the form of a movie, a la Looking or Firefly.
The television and movie industry has gotten flack in recent years for their lack of diversity. In recent years, Netflix has felt like an incredible creative force, churning out new and original fare at an unprecedented rate. It has also given a home to a myriad of rebooted series, i.e. Arrested Development, Fuller House and Wet Hot American Summer. Rather than canceling inventive shows like Sense8 and The Get Down, we need to make more like it and actually give them a chance to grow.