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Netflix has canceled another critically acclaimed show after just one season

Man watching Netflix on TV
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Update: Another Netflix show is coming to an end, with Workin' Moms set to conclude after its seventh season next year

Netflix is having a difficult year. Not only has it recorded its first subscriber loss in over a decade, but it’s rapidly earning an unwanted reputation of brutally canceling shows without warning, leaving fans unsatisfied without the closure of a satisfying ending.

By our count, Netflix shows cancelled this year are now in double figures, but it’s hard to give an exact number, as the company doesn’t formally announce abandoned content. A case in point is The Midnight Gospel, which we only know is no more because someone directly asked the co-creator on Twitter.

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“In my mind there’s one more season but the sentient glass ‘deciding’ cube they keep in their catacombs vibrated ‘No more’,” tweeted comedian Duncan Trussell, who co-created the show with Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward. “And it’s hard to argue with a cube.”

While some shows have found life after Netflix with another network (see One Day at a Time; Tuca & Bertie), this apparently can’t be the case with The Midnight Gospel due to the rights agreement.

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In the face of fan disappointment and anger at the company, Trussell did offer a defense of Netflix, pointing out that the show wouldn’t exist without it. “PS I’m so lucky that the folks at @netflix rolled the dice and let us make such a strange show,” he tweeted. “They were supremely supportive all the way through and I’ll love them forever for it.”

Another one bites the dust

That “strange show” got a lot of love from those who watched it. Boasting a Rotten Tomatoes score of 91% fresh (opens in new tab) and an average IMDb rating of 8.2 (opens in new tab), The Midnight Gospel certainly charmed viewers over its short-lived eight-episode run.

But critical acclaim doesn’t offer insurance against Netflix’s cancelation policy, as we’ve seen before. In 2022 alone, we’ve seen Space Force, Raising Dion, Pretty Smart, On The Verge, The Baby-Sitters Club, Archive 81, Another Life, Gentefied and Cooking with Paris all cancelled without warning.

Don’t hold your breath for an official explanation, but it’s likely to be the simple one that not enough people watched it to justify the production costs. While FlixPatrol’s (opens in new tab) data shows it cracked the top ten in Eastern Europe and Oceania (as well as in South Africa, Finland and Brazil), it didn’t register in the more subscriber-dense regions (opens in new tab) of North America and Western Europe.  

So in a dollars-and-cents way, it makes sense, but there’s a corrosive problem of trust lurking around the corner that Netflix (which has 4 of the 7 best new movies to watch online this week) should be wary of. As I’ve written before, I wouldn’t take a chance on a new Netflix show in 2022, knowing there’s a good chance it won’t get a satisfying ending. Quality doesn't determine success on Netflix either, as critics hate the new No. 1 movie on Netflix.

I just feel lucky that F is for Family made it to the end, despite an uneven first season where it struggled to find its feet. It doesn’t feel like it would have concluded if it started in the last year or two, and that makes me wary of giving anything new a chance. 

Or, as my colleague Rory Mellon put it: “Netflix keeps cancelling shows — so I can’t be bothered starting them.” I find it hard to disagree. In the meantime, check out the 3 Netflix shows you should binge watch this month (opens in new tab) (that aren't getting canceled). 

Next: For All Mankind season 3 release date and time is coming up. We've also got all the details on The Boys season 3 episode 4 details to get you hyped for the return. And your streaming schedule is set with the 3 Netflix shows you need to binge-watch this month.

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.

  • 5omeone
    I made an account just to ask, how was it critically acclaimed if I, nor literally anyone else I know who uses Netflix, has ever even heard of this show? Clearly it wasn't good enough for Netflix to even show us in the front screen. This sounds like an excuse to make a personal rant and trick some slow witted employer to pay for it.
    Reply
  • Recedes
    As a black person, we have seen many many a show that features us, get ripped off the air, even with good ratings.
    Fox did that. Then they replaced it with move race dividing shows.
    You see, they don't want us all watching the same shows. One day at a time for example, was an attempt at getting a Latino audience so as to use that audience to show commercials to them. Raising Dion, same thing, but for blacks.
    When the audience doesn't get divided into pockets good enough to reach the wanted demographic, it's going off the air. Music genres are the same way. Disco, and smooth jazz were examples.
    Those genres were swapped out for something more polarized, like a Spanish speaking station, Republican talk radio, sports talk, etc.

    The other problem was, the use of blacks as a lead to introduce LGBT people and make an LGBT show, and Netflix now sees that doing that common trick, doesn't lead to a large liberal demographic as they might hope, and when they introduce the LGBT person, the ratings plummet. They cannot openly say this because of backlash.
    Reply
  • steveyBoy
    5omeone said:
    I made an account just to ask, how was it critically acclaimed if I, nor literally anyone else I know who uses Netflix, has ever even heard of this show? Clearly it wasn't good enough for Netflix to even show us in the front screen. This sounds like an excuse to make a personal rant and trick some slow witted employer to pay for it.
    Seconded.

    This feels more sinister than that, honestly, because while I actually do know of this show and kind of enjoy it, it was released a little over two years ago in April 2020. Also as the article states, the only reason we know it's cancelled because someone only recently bothered to ask the creators. The article cites the Rotten Tomatoes scores, but only 34 critics went to the trouble of reviewing it, and only 526 people on the planet felt it was worth their time. Compare those numbers to anything else that's actually critically acclaimed. What gives it away most for me is that the nature of the series is such that there is no continuity. There's no "satisfying ending" to be had. It's literally an actual podcast.

    This feels like nothing more than an incendiary hit piece designed to compound any already-negative sentiment toward Netflix. People will likely not read the article and come away with only more "this proves Netflix sucks" rhetoric stuck in their brains.
    Reply
  • Kittyrocks
    This show was always meant to be a limited series. It was never meant to have a second season, so saying it was canceled isnt really accurate. You say it lacks a proper ending but Im not sure what else you wanted to happen?
    Reply
  • Taynak
    I made an account just to remind everyone that if the rotten tomatoes score is high... You can bet the show is crap. If it's low, likely it's a good show.
    Reply
  • Car2222
    It's kind of funny that you talk about the babysitters club and a few others when my account is still on there nobody watched the gospel c*** anyway so nobody cares if that's gone
    Reply
  • BipolarCurious
    Do people not remember that television shows worked the same way? Shows get cancelled. Sometimes they are expecting to get renewed and have plans in mind for a follow-up season and they leave the current season finale open (sort of). Most shows on regular cable don't get renewed until AFTER the end of the season (HBO, Cinemax, etc not necessarily the same).
    Reply