Netflix’s canceled shows are notoriously hard to track, because the streaming service seldom announces when programmes aren’t renewed for new seasons. Generally speaking, we hear about cancelations when someone tips off journalists, or when a star/creator says that there won’t be any more.
Sometimes, these pronouncements go unnoticed for some time. Case in point: Tiny Pretty Things, which was declared dead late last year, with barely anybody noticing at the time.
Pop Culture (opens in new tab) just spotted the semi-official announcement: a YouTube video (opens in new tab) from one of the show’s cast, Brennan Clost who played Shane McRae. It’s dated November 2021, so has been sitting in plain sight for some time.
“Netflix has decided to not renew Tiny Pretty Things for a second season,” he said, leaving nothing to doubt. Perhaps more surprising is that even in November, this was old news to those in the know, with Clost revealing that the cast had known of the show’s fate within weeks of it debuting on Netflix in December 2020.
“The way that Netflix works… they really look at the analytics between the show’s release and the first ten days, and then the first 30 days from its release,” Clost revealed.
He went on to say that a video of him buzzing his hair off (opens in new tab) — dated 20 January 2021 — was close to when the team actually got the news. That’s exactly 37 days from the show first becoming available to stream worldwide.
Inside Netflix’s cancellation process
While Tiny Pretty Things undoubtedly had its fans, its Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab) scores of 53% (critics) and 50% (audience) suggest it’s not the biggest loss from the platform. But what is interesting is what Clost reveals about the process behind the scenes — and specifically why Netflix seldom announces that shows won’t be coming back.
"Netflix told us they were not going to announce it because the way that Netflix content works is that it is evergreen on their platform,” Clost continued. “It will stay up forever on Netflix.
"They didn't want to take away from the discoverability of the show, he continued. “If people know that a show isn't coming back for a second season, more often than not they're going to choose not to watch it — they don't want to get attached.”
That makes sense, and I’m not surprised that Netflix doesn’t shout about cancellations from the rooftops. As I’ve written before, given the trigger-happy nature of the platform’s decision-makers, there’s no way I’d start a new Netflix show in 2022 unless I knew for sure it had a satisfying ending lined up: something it’s impossible to guarantee.
But for all this insider information, Clost still doesn’t have a definitive answer to the big question: why was Tiny Pretty Things cancelled?
“The long and short of it is, I don’t know why our show was cancelled,” he explained.
You might expect it was down to weak viewing figures, but as Clost himself highlights, the show was number one worldwide for over two weeks, which feels like it should have offered it some protection.
Indeed, this was “sort of the benchmark that Netflix told us to look for when waiting to hear about a second season,” Clost says. Breaking the top ten worldwide and in certain markets are metrics Netflix watches, apparently.
“We had something crazy like 32 million households finished our show,” he continued. Apparently, that wasn’t enough: “Now Netflix told us that our completion rate wasn’t what they were looking for to choose to renew our show, so that is what we were told.”
Despite this, Clost is full of praise for the company in general and hopes to work with Netflix again in future. “I had a great experience working on a Netflix show, working with Netflix,” he said. “I’m a young actor: I hope that I will work with Netflix time and time again through my career.”
That will depend, in part, on how sustainable Netflix’s model turns out to be. The company registered its first drop in over a decade this year, and how effectively Netflix bounces back from that in the coming months is something that could have a huge impact on both the quality and quantity of original programming it produces going forward.