Netflix has canceled Man vs. Bee with the Rowan Atkinson comedy series lasting just a single nine-episode season on the streaming service.
This latest Netflix cancelation was originally revealed by The Sun, with the British publication reporting that the streamer has “no plans” for a second season or any additional episodes. While we never take joy in any TV show being canceled this one definitely doesn’t sting as much as some others because Man vs. Bee felt like it had run its course by the end of its first season. It was pretty far from being one of the best shows on Netflix, too.
The slapstick comedy show centered on Trevor Bingley (Atkinson), a house sitter who finds himself at war with a troublesome bumblebee. Trevor’s outlandish attempts to get rid of the household pest result in a whole load of irreparable damage to the plush mansion he’s supposed to be looking after, not to mention several painful injuries for Trevor himself.
Released in June 2022, the show drew lots of comparisons to Atkinson’s iconic character Mr. Bean, as Man vs. Bee focused heavily on cringe-inducing physical comedy. Curiously, its official trailer is one of the more popular ones on Netflix’s YouTube channel with more than 15m views to date. Although, if this cancelation is any indication the significant pre-release interest didn't translate into strong enough viewership levels for Netflix to commission a second season.
The show enjoyed a mostly positive reception from critics. It currently holds a respectable 71% score on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. James Jackson of The Times of London said, “It’s no classic, and never as mirth-inducing as you’d hope, but still a harmless diversion” and a similar sentiment was expressed by Anita Singh of the Daily Telegraph, who wrote, “Atkinson has lost none of his skill and you will watch it quite happily, but it just lacks the genius of Mr Bean.”
That’s not to say that all critics felt the show made for pleasant viewing, the New Statesman’s Imogen West-Knights was extremely cutting, saying “Imagine Parasite, if Parasite was the worst thing you’d seen in your life.” And the show’s audience score also falls on the rotten side at a very underwhelming 58%. This is an especially low rating, as it’s pretty common for viewers to be kinder than critics.
The final episode of Man vs. Bee did leave some wiggle room for another season, but this cancelation feels like the correct move overall. The core premise of a man trying to exterminate a bee already felt seriously stretched by the end of the first season, so the need for a second season was lacking.
Still, if you’re looking for a very light and breezy watch, and you enjoy uncomplicated comedy, then it’s worth giving Man vs. Bee a watch. It’s probably not going to live on any best lists, but it’s got plenty of harmless humor and Atkinson sells the slapstick gags as only he can.