Netflix is having a difficult year. Not only has it recorded its first subscriber loss in over a decade, but it’s rapidly earning an unwanted reputation of brutally canceling shows without warning, leaving fans unsatisfied without the closure of a satisfying ending.
By our count, Netflix shows cancelled this year are now in double figures, but it’s hard to give an exact number, as the company doesn’t formally announce abandoned content. A case in point is The Midnight Gospel, which we only know is no more because someone directly asked the co-creator on Twitter.
In my mind there’s one more season but the sentient glass “deciding” cube they keep in their catacombs vibrated “No more.” And it’s hard to argue with a cube.June 3, 2022
“In my mind there’s one more season but the sentient glass ‘deciding’ cube they keep in their catacombs vibrated ‘No more’,” tweeted comedian Duncan Trussell, who co-created the show with Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward. “And it’s hard to argue with a cube.”
While some shows have found life after Netflix with another network (see One Day at a Time; Tuca & Bertie), this apparently can’t be the case with The Midnight Gospel due to the rights agreement.
They own the rights so it’s 💀June 3, 2022
In the face of fan disappointment and anger at the company, Trussell did offer a defense of Netflix, pointing out that the show wouldn’t exist without it. “PS I’m so lucky that the folks at @netflix rolled the dice and let us make such a strange show,” he tweeted. “They were supremely supportive all the way through and I’ll love them forever for it.”
Another one bites the dust
That “strange show” got a lot of love from those who watched it. Boasting a Rotten Tomatoes score of 91% fresh (opens in new tab) and an average IMDb rating of 8.2 (opens in new tab), The Midnight Gospel certainly charmed viewers over its short-lived eight-episode run.
But critical acclaim doesn’t offer insurance against Netflix’s cancelation policy, as we’ve seen before. In 2022 alone, we’ve seen Space Force, Raising Dion, Pretty Smart, On The Verge, The Baby-Sitters Club, Archive 81, Another Life, Gentefied and Cooking with Paris all cancelled without warning.
Don’t hold your breath for an official explanation, but it’s likely to be the simple one that not enough people watched it to justify the production costs. While FlixPatrol’s (opens in new tab) data shows it cracked the top ten in Eastern Europe and Oceania (as well as in South Africa, Finland and Brazil), it didn’t register in the more subscriber-dense regions (opens in new tab) of North America and Western Europe.
So in a dollars-and-cents way, it makes sense, but there’s a corrosive problem of trust lurking around the corner that Netflix should be wary of. As I’ve written before, I wouldn’t take a chance on a new Netflix show in 2022, knowing there’s a good chance it won’t get a satisfying ending.
I just feel lucky that F is for Family made it to the end, despite an uneven first season where it struggled to find its feet. It doesn’t feel like it would have concluded if it started in the last year or two, and that makes me wary of giving anything new a chance.
Or, as my colleague Rory Mellon put it: “Netflix keeps cancelling shows — so I can’t be bothered starting them.” I find it hard to disagree. In the meantime, check out the 3 Netflix shows you should binge watch this month (opens in new tab) (that aren't getting canceled).