While other networks release their ratings, Netflix has proven they do not care about letting us know their numbers. On one hand, this makes a lot of sense for the streaming platform, especially with its business model. However, it makes for frustrating discussions when shows get canceled. Frankly, we do not know how close a show was to being renewed or kept on the air. In the case of the recently canceled “One Day at a Time,” the dialogue can get outright hostile. Let’s run through some of the shows that ended or were canceled by Netflix during the 2019 Emmy season.
- “All About the Washingtons” (Canceled)
- “American Vandal” (Canceled)
- “Daredevil” (Canceled)
- “Friends From College” (Canceled)
- “The Good Cop” (Canceled)
- “House of Cards” (Ended)
- “Iron Fist” (Canceled)
- “Jessica Jones” (Canceled)
- “Luke Cage” (Canceled)
- “One Day at a Time” (Canceled)
- “The Punisher” (Canceled)
- “A Series of Unfortunate Events” (Ended)
- “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Ended)
Perhaps no moment was more frustrating than Netflix’s own Twitter account pointing out the importance of telling stories for the unseen and then following up that tweet by showing support for the canceled sitcom. It was infuriating, anger-inducing, and hypocritical (in 560 characters no less). In the case of “One Day at a Time,” one cannot help but feel betrayed by Netflix.
What makes this worse, is that it feels as if there is a darker truth at the heart of “One Day at a Time’s” cancellation. Cynically, I cannot help but think of how Netflix may have weaponized the process of canceling a show in order to raise its profile. Look no further than “Seven Seconds,” a series that was converted into a “Limited Series” after its cancellation. Suddenly, Regina King found herself in the Emmy race and took home the prize for Best Actress in a Limited Series as a result.
What if Netflix is doing the same thing with “One Day at a Time” and actresses Justina Machado or Rita Moreno? The profile for the show has risen dramatically as a rallying cry hit Twitter like a lightning rod. In a year where other shows are going to miss the eligibility window, what could possibly raise the profile of a series more than a groundswell of support? There’s no “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” no “Atlanta,” and no “Silicon Valley” in the race (“Veep” does return). Could there be room for a scrappy sitcom?
While “One Day at a Time” might have caught the attention of the internet, Netflix canceled a lot of other shows in the 2018-2019 Emmy window. Some represent shows that could not catch on in a meaningful way. “All About the Washingtons” felt D.O.A., “The Good Cop” did little to inspire confidence, and “Friends From College” will be an interesting show for generations of comedians to study. How the last one did not work is still beyond me.
The Emmy-nominated “American Vandal” received decent reviews, but it failed to live up to the impressive standard set by the first. In this case, Netflix likely should have left it alone. There was no natural story for the characters to explore, and many of the side characters that added heart to the first season disappeared.
The largest profile cancellations came as a result of the Disney-Fox merger and the announcement of Disney+. Supposedly, Netflix made the call to cancel the superhero/MCU shows. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant. Five comic book based shows got canceled in a manner of weeks, despite the fact they’ve held a strong place in pop culture. “Jessica Jones” still has a third season to stream at some point, while “Luke Cage,” “Daredevil,” “Iron Fist,” and “The Punisher” have all aired their final episodes. This did little to engender goodwill between Netflix and Disney and showed a vulnerability in Netflix’s production. Several of their shows are reliant on other properties and studios, and that might not be the case for long. More streaming services are likely on the way, and total content control will be a must for Netflix.
If you want to tune in for one of the strangest endings to a series in recent memory, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” should fill that need. The season unfolded with episodes that made no steps towards a satisfying conclusion until suddenly it was over. It was fun, but certainly not up to the quality expected of the show. Considering it was dropped without much fanfare, the ending felt extremely anti-climatic for a perennial Emmy contender.
The last series of note to discuss is “House of Cards” starring Robin Wright. After the debacle that came from Kevin Spacey and the controversy surrounding him, it remains a little shocking that Netflix let the show finish. This may have been in service to Wright, whom they would likely love to work with again. The Emmy-nominated Drama will look to rejoin the Best Drama Series race, but it feels unlikely. While this was the official “conclusion” to the series, there remain questions about whether or not it would actually have ended this season had it not been for the controversy.
Check out the other shows that Netflix will air in the coming months, and where they fit into the discussion. There are many series that have already received renewals, some still to air, and others that will push until 2020 (and avoid “Game of Thrones” in the process). Many of the newer series are still awaiting word regarding their renewal or cancellations. I also did not include reality/documentary programming on the list. Check out the narrative programs and their placements below!
- “Big Mouth”
- “BoJack Horseman”
- “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”
- “Fuller House”
- “Grace and Frankie”
- “The Kominsky Method”
- “Orange Is the New Black”
- “Paradise PD”
- “Narcos: Mexico”
- “The Ranch”
- “Sex Education”
Still to Premiere in 2019 Emmy Window
- “The OA” (March 22, 2019)
- “On My Block” (March 29, 2019)
- “Santa Clarita Diet” (March 29, 2019)
- “Special” (April 12, 2019)
- “Tuca & Bertie” (May 3, 2019)
- “She’s Gotta Have It” (May 24, 2019)
- “Dear White People” (TBD)
Shows to Air in 2020 Emmy Window
- “The Crown”
- “F is For Family”
- “Stranger Things”
- “After Life”
- “Love, Death & Robots”
- “The Innocents”
- “The Order”
- “Russian Doll”
- “Turn Up Charlie”
- “The Umbrella Academy”