I’ll probably never see The OA, and it’s a real shame. Most likely. I’m not sure, I’ve never seen it. But according to my dear friends and colleagues, the show had become something very special by the end of the second season. However, despite a mind-boggling twist (which I’ve only heard of), Netflix has decided to cancel the series and I can’t commit to seeing a story that will never end.
OA isn’t exactly an outlier, either. Netflix has a habit of canceling shows before they reach the conclusion their creators intended. The Society, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Anne With an E were unceremoniously removed. These are just the shows with the loudest fanbases. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, American Vandal, and Archive 81 have all been thrown into the big pile of abandoned TV shows.
The streamer (notoriously secretive about why it makes decisions) apparently prioritizes flashy, name-based new series as a way to attract new subscribers. There are a lot of mathematical loops to go through to figure out why some shows continue and others don’t, but Netflix undoubtedly has a formula or algorithm for determining which products are the most profitable for their internet dominance goals.
However, this formula may require readjustment. Netflix has announced that its number of subscribers has decreased for the first time. The company offers several reasons, with Chief Executive Reed Hastings saying it will offer a better level of advertising and crack down on password sharing. It sounds like ways for Netflix to increase revenue, but there are two main factors that social networks have added to explain why they are losing faith in the streamer: prices are rising, and shows are constantly being canceled.
(Image credit: Netflix)
The prices speak for themselves: many people simply can’t afford streaming services, as daily costs increase tenfold due to inflation. However, canceled shows are something Netflix needs to reconsider. People are tired of cancellations. Just ask the #SaveTheOA group, who campaigned tirelessly online to get the show back. Consider what could have happened if Netflix had invested in The OA. The dividends could have been significant, as large series take time to materialize.
Just watch Breaking Bad. The first few seasons were moderately successful for AMC, and the Walter White saga proved to be a compelling story, even if not everyone was watching it. Then the show hit Netflix, when the swamp of content wasn’t too big and everyone was paying attention. By the fifth and final season, everyone was talking about Breaking Bad. Game of Thrones also took years to become the behemoth it has become. The first season averaged 2.52 million viewers, while the last one drew 11.99 million. I’m not saying The OA compares to Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones; again, i really don’t know, i haven’t seen the show, but given that the first season had a 77% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, followed by a second season that got a 92% positive rating, it looks like the sequel to the series may have made fans more vocal, causing more people like me to tune in to the series.
Now a show I watched proves this point: Tuca & Bertie. The first season premiered on Netflix in May 2019 to rave reviews. Not enough people watched the anime series, which features the voices of Tiffany Haddish, Ali Wong, and Steven Yeun, and the series was canceled in July. By the end of the year, multiple publications (including our own) rated the series as one of the best shows of 2019. In May 2020, Adult Swim announced that Tuca & Bertie would be returning, and in the second season it earned a perfect score. on Rotten Tomatoes and another season renewal on Adult Swim.
Netflix made the jump when it came to canceling Tuca & Bertie, and it’s unclear how many other discontinued shows could have continued to grow. Archive 81, GLOW, The Get Down, Sense8, Altered Carbon, Jupiter’s Legacy and Cowboy Bebop, what if they had a chance to develop properly? Not every show would have been a hit, but Netflix decided to invest only in shows that immediately take over the world (Stranger Things, Squid Game, and The Crown) or cheaper reality shows (Love is Blind, Queer Eye). One even wonders if Netflix original hits (Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Bojack Horseman) would have avoided the Netflix guillotine for so long had they been made today. Netflix needs to invest in shows that aren’t just flashy new series, or the streamer will never run its own Game of Thrones.
Netflix can be annoying when it comes to canceling shows, but there’s always great content on the streamer. Be sure to check out our lists of the best Netflix shows and the best Netflix movies for more information.