Co-creator Baran bo Odar announced the show’s disappointing fate via a statement on Instagram (opens in new tab). “With a heavy heart we have to tell you that ‘1899’ will not be renewed,” the statement reads. “We would have loved to finish this incredible journey with a second and third season as we did with Dark. But sometimes things don’t turn out the way you planned. That’s life.”
“We know this will disappoint millions of fans out there. But we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts that you were a part of this wonderful adventure. We love you. Never forget” the statement concludes. Jantje Freise, 1899’s other co-creator also signed this open letter.
1899 centered on a group of European immigrants traveling on a steamship from England to New York at the turn of the 20th the century. However, this epic voyage across the sea is anything but peaceful when the passengers stumble upon a second ship adrift on the open seas and encounter a nightmarish riddle. The show’s first season was comprised of eight episodes and had drawn strong comparisons with the genre-defining sci-fi mystery series Lost that aired between 2004 and 2010.
The show also enjoyed a solid, if not especially remarkable, critical reception. It currently holds a critics score of 76% on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab) with praise dished out for its multicultural cast of characters and twisting narrative, although the lack of a satisfying conclusion was criticized. Furthermore, the show’s audience score of 74% would appear to suggest that many viewers were fairly impressed by the first season and likely would have wanted to see the show continue.
Netflix’s first cancelation of 2023 stings
Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese had previously indicated that they had a plan for three seasons of 1899, but unfortunately, those ideas have now been shelved in the wake of this cancelation.
Netflix has attracted plenty of criticism in recent years for its perceived trigger-happy approach to cancelations, and the lengthy list of canceled Netflix shows in 2022 certainly hasn't helped dispel this unwanted reputation. Kicking off the new year by canning another show after just one season is just more fodder for the streamer’s biggest critics.
It should also be noted that 1899 appears to have performed well on the streaming service. It premiered on Netflix on November 17, 2022 and rocketed straight into Netflix’s most-watched list even managing to claim the No. 1 spot for a period of time. As reported by Variety (opens in new tab), within its first five days on the platform 1899 raked up more than 79 million viewing hours. On the surface, those appear to be impressive numbers but clearly, they weren’t enough to convince Netflix to greenlight a second season.
In 2004, a big-budget mystery with an international cast changed television — because it was given the time. Maybe releasing a full season just 6 days before putting out “Wednesday,” then waiting less than 2 months to determine it hasnt found an audience, is a bad way to gauge TV https://t.co/2NjvZcj9wXJanuary 3, 2023
It should also be noted that just six days later Wednesday dropped onto Netflix. The Addams Family spinoff series stars Jenna Ortega as the eponymous heroine and has become one of the most popular Netflix shows of all time. It’s been theorized that Wednesday’s juggernaut success may have negatively impacted the popularity of Netflix shows that debuted in the same period which would include 1899.
Making matters worse is that fact that 1899’s first season ends on a huge cliffhanger. Of course, Netflix is no stranger to axing shows with unresolved plot points, but this latest cancelation does once again highlight the problem with Netflix setting such a high bar for renewals. Unfortunately, viewers eager for answers will have to hope Odar and Friese release a summary of what they had planned for future seasons as Mike Flanagan did when his show The Midnight Club was canceled by Netflix last month.
While 1899 may be the first canceled Netflix show of 2023, we can guarantee it won’t be the last. Netflix continues to be one of the best streaming services out there, but as longtime subscribers well know you should never get too attached to a Netflix show. And that advice clearly still rings true less than a week into the new year. RIP 1899, you deserved better.