The 13 best Netflix series that were cancelled too soon

‘1899’ joins a slew of incredible shows to be axed too soon

Inga Parkel
Thursday 19 January 2023 11:59 GMT
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1899 trailer

Whether due to lack of budget, low viewership or scheduling conflicts, Netflix isn’t afraid to ruthlessly pull the plug on a series prematurely.

Too many times, fan-favourite shows have fallen victim to the dreaded two-season curse. Viewers are all too familiar with waking up to the heartbreaking news that their beloved show will no longer move forward, and that unresolved cliffhanger will be playing on their mind forevermore.

Without further ado, here’s our list of 13 popular series we’re still mourning.

1899

It was announced on 2 January that the Netflix series 1899 would not be receiving a second season – despite positive reviews from critics and fans.

The news was broken “with a heavy heart” from co-creators Baran bo Odar and Jantje Freise (previously Dark) through a statement on Instagram.

The series followed a group of passengers aboard an ocean liner in the 19th century who are forced to work out a hellish riddle after discovering another ship, believed to have gone missing, on the open sea.

One of The Independent’s writers predicted the show’s future, advising fans to watch the great series but not get attached to it due to “Netflix’s notoriously bad habit of axing shows too early”.

Friends from College

Fred Savage, Nat Faxon, Keegan-Michael Key, Cobie Smulders, Jae Suh Park, Billy Eichner and Annie Parisse in ‘Friends from College’

A particularly devastating loss among Key & Peele fans, Friends from College was scratched just as it was finding its groove.

Michael-Keegan Key led the two-season comedy as Ethan, a man who reunites with his college friends as they’re all entering a new era – their forties.

Amidst former romantic entanglements, friendships and feuds, the group of pals nostalgically revisit memories of their glory days as they’re forced to accept that life moves on.

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The Baby-Sitters Club

'The Baby-Sitters Club’

Now, The Baby-Sitters Club is definitely aimed at younger audiences, but its themes of family and friendship may still resonate with viewers of all ages.

Based on Ann M Martin’s popular children’s book series of the same name, Netflix’s adaptation successfully stayed true to its source material, offering fans blissful nostalgia. Led by determined Sophia Grace’s Kristy, a group of five middle-school friends launch their own babysitting business in their quaint Connecticut town.

Although the comedy-drama’s fateful end came after just two seasons, with Netflix blaming its decision on average viewership, it garnered an incredibly loyal fanbase.

Sense8

Purab Kohli, Eréndira Ibarra, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Sukku Son, Doona Bae, Toby Onwumere, Tina Desae, Jamie Clayton, Tuppence Middleton, Brian J Smith, Max Mauff and Max Riemelt in ‘Sense8’

Sense8 was a thrilling drama about eight strangers who find themselves linked by shared violent visions and the ability to connect with one another’s thoughts and feelings.

It was a successful series that took viewers along a bated-breath journey, and when it was cut short after two seasons, it left audiences enraged.

So much so, that in response to heavy fan objection, Netflix released a two-hour movie in an attempt to wrap up the cliffhanger audiences were abruptly left with.

Everything Sucks

Abi Brittle, Peyton Kennedy and Sydney Sweeney in ‘Everything Sucks’

Before Sydney Sweeney became the White Lotus and Euphoria breakout star we know now, she was smashing hearts as 1990s high-school cool girl Emmaline opposite Peyton Kennedy’s (Grey’s Anatomy) nerdy AV club member Kate in Everything Sucks.

While life was simpler back then, without the bombardment of technology and social media, Kate still faced other common challenges of adolescence: discovering her sexuality.

Despite her best friend Luke confessing romantic feelings for her, Kate can’t deny her growing infatuation with Emmaline.

American Vandal

Griffin Gluck and Tyler Alvarez in ‘American Vandal’

A satirical look at the rising popularity of true-crime shows, American Vandal was a popular two-season series that followed aspiring student documentarian Peter (Tyler Alvarez) and friend Sam (Griffin Gluck) as they investigate ridiculously juvenile high-school pranks.

By the end of the mockumentary’s run, viewers were left wondering who the real perpetrators were: the pranksters or the rubber-neckers.

One Day at a Time

Justina Machado, Rita Moreno, Marcel Ruiz and Isabella Gomez on ‘One Day at a Time’

Inspired by Norman Lear’s 1975 comedy-drama of the same name, One Day at a Time followed the everyday life of army veteran Penelope and her three-generation Cuban-American family.

This groundbreaking Latino-facing series averted all stereotypes. And it left viewers with relatable reflections of the challenges and, most importantly, triumphs the family experienced.

Though the first three seasons of the sitcom were created and distributed by Netflix, Pop network picked it up for a fourth season months after the streamer announced its cancellation in 2019.

Santa Clarita Diet

Drew Barrymore in ‘Santa Clarita Diet’

Drew Barrymore led the quirky comedy-horror Santa Clarita Diet as a realtor, Sheila, who randomly wakes up craving the taste of human flesh.

However, she has to find a way to feed herself without letting her secret slip.

While its third season ended with a mystery surrounding Sheila’s fate after she sunk her teeth into her husband Joel’s (Timothy Olyphant) neck, Netflix couldn’t justify the cost of a fourth based on viewership numbers, leaving fans in perpetual suspense.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

KIERNAN SHIPKA in ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’

Nineties children had the goofy sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch. The new generations have Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Netflix’s dark reimagining of its seven-season predecessor.

The origin story followed Kiernan Shipka’s Sabrina as she fought against evil forces threatening her and her family.

While it did last four seasons, the show’s 2020 cancellation still devastated audiences, who strongly petitioned against the choice.

I Am Not Okay with This

Sofia Bryant, Wyatt Oleff and Sophia Lillis on ‘I Am Not Okay with This’

From the same director as Netflix’s two-season drama The End of the F***ing World, I Am Not Okay with This shared the same dark, comedic tone.

A twisted take on average coming-of-age stories, the show followed Sydney, whose newly developed superpowers throw a wrench into her already complex high school experience.

Confused by her new abilities, she’s left alone to figure out what they’re all about.

GLOW

‘GLOW’

Among Netflix’s higher-rated originals that were abandoned early is GLOW, which was axed after its third and final season in 2019.

Starring Alison Brie as out-of-work actor Ruth, the drama transported audiences to 1980s Los Angeles, where Ruth finds unexpected stardom in women’s wrestling.

Along with 12 other Hollywood misfits, the team is guided by washed-up movie director Sam (Marc Maron), who tries to lead the women to victory and fame.

The Midnight Gospel

‘The Midnight Gospel’

After nearly two years of silence followings its debut in 2020, it was announced this year that Netflix had pulled the plug on its adult animated series The Midnight Gospel.

Bringing to cartoon life comedian Duncan Trussell’s real podcast interviews with various guests, the surreal show took viewers on fantastic adventures.

However, when the streamer lost close to a million subscribers in three months, they had to cut back on the production of animated content, due to the genre’s expensive price tag. As a result, The Midnight Gospel was among the unfortunate casualties.

The Midnight Club

‘The Midnight Club’

Upon hearing the devastating news that The Haunting of Hill House director-creator Mike Flanagan’s latest horror show, The Midnight Club, was scrapped after season one, Flanagan himself was first to criticise the “disappointing” decision.

Standing as Flanagan’s fourth Netflix series, the 10-episode thriller focused on a group of terminally ill teens who form a club at their hospice centre.

Each night, the eight members meet to exchange sinister stories as they look for signs of the supernatural.

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