Celeste Barber hits out at Netflix after ‘absorbing’ wellness comedy is cancelled after one season

Instagram comic starred in ‘Wellmania’, a comedy parodying the wellness industry

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 31 October 2023 10:36 GMT
Comedian Celeste Barber reacts to Netflix cancelling Wellmania

Comedian Celeste Barber has hit out at Netflix following the news that her “hilarious” show Wellmania became the latest show to get the chop after one season.

The Australian comic rose to fame in 2015 after clips and photos of her parodying wellness influencers and models went viral on Instagram.

Earlier this year, she was cast in Wellmania, an Australian comedy-drama based on Brigid Delaney’s book of the same name. Barber stars as Liv, a woman on the cusp of turning her 40 who is forced to swap out her unhealthy habits for new wellness methods after a major health scare.

Wellmania was released on Netflix in March, and was well received by critics. The show was compared to Fleabag, I Hate Suzie, and other shows about “messy millennial women”, withThe Guardian calling Barber “fantastically charismatic” whileThe Telegraph branded her “dynamite”.

But despite the strong reviews and impressive score of 89 per cent on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Barber announced on Tuesday (31 October) to announce that Wellmania would not be returning to Netflix.

“Hi friends. I just wanted to check in and give you a little update and let you know that Wellmania will not be renewed for another season,” Barber said, in a video shared on Instagram.

Stressing that she knew this wasn’t big news “in the grand scheme of things, with what is going on in the world at the moment”, adding: “Who f***ing cares?”

However, she continued: “But a lot of you do care. A lot of you are still asking me about it, what’s happening. So yeah, we found out yesterday that it’s not going to be renewed. Netflix said it’s something about numbers. Sure. I thought it smashed it but I don’t understand how it works.”

Barber went on to thank her followers for their “love and support”, saying: “The way it was received was so overwhelming, so I’m bummed that I can no longer explore that excellent character… A lot of you said to me you saw yourself in my character and wanted to see more of her but this industry is kind of bulls***.”

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She ended the video by telling her fans to “go and kiss your babies” and “watch Friends”, adding: “But maybe not on Netflix though.”

The Independent has contacted Netflix for comment.

Barber was supported in the comment section beneath her video by Sharon Stone, who offered her some words of advice to the “fab” comedian. “Keep going,” she wrote, adding: “I haven’t been renewed in decades so who really cares?”

Barber (left) with JJ Fong in ‘Wellmania'

Other fans shared their frustration that the show had been cut by Netflix after only one outing. “I’m pretty sure Netflix just picks names from a hat to cancel s***,” one fan commented, while another wrote: “[Wellmania] was soooo good and actually had meaning to it.”

“Ridiculous. Absolutely loved the show,” another comment read, while one fan added: “One of the best series I watched. I’m so f***ing mad. Total bulls***. You did smash it and you are amazing. Hope you get lots of great characters.”

In recent years, Netflix has earned a reputation for cancelling shows with seemingly strong fan bases after only a few seasons. 1899, Uncoupled, The Get Down and Lockwood and Co are among the shows to get the chop after just one season.

Another worrying trend has emerged this year from other streaming services, where shows are cancelled then removed from the platform. This means that the show cannot be legally streamed online, and that the cast and crew are not paid residual payments.

Earlier this month, Harry Potter star Warwick Davis hit out at Disney+ after his TV spin-off of the 1988 film Willow was given this treatment, as one of at least 40 shows pulled from the streaming site.

“I meet lovely people on a daily basis who are fans of #Willow, who are the reason the @DisneyPlus Series was made,” Davis tweeted. “Please tell me @WaltDisneyCo, what do I say to these subscribers when they ask why they can’t watch the series any more? #embarrassing.”

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