Netflix just canceled Bad Crimes before a single episode aired

A TV with the netflix logo and show art is on fire
(Image credit: Tom's Guide/Netflix/Shutterstock)

When Netflix cancels a show before it even finishes production, it feels like the service's woes aren't as over as one might think. Bad Crimes, the latest Netflix show to get the giant ax, even had big names at the top of the marquee, as it was produced by Greg Daniels (The Office, Parks and Recreation) and Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis and Butt-Head).

The news came down on Monday (Oct. 24) evening, as Variety (opens in new tab) reported Bad Crimes was the latest canceled Netflix show. The series had been ordered to series in January, and was called off before it was even turned in. 

Bad Crimes, a animated dark comedy, is about FBI agents Kara (Nicole Byer of Nailed It! and Wipeout) and Jennie (Lauren Lapkus of The Big Bang Theory and Good Girls), who are trying to live their own lives while solving crimes around the country. We're not sure if it would have made our lists of the best shows on Netflix or the best Netflix comedies, but its premise is interesting enough.

We say "is" and not "was" because Bad Crimes isn't being binned away forever. The project is now being shopped around for a new home. Neither star has posted about the cancelation on Twitter or Instagram. 

Bad Crimes would have sat in Netflix's adult animation section, which is currently run by Billy Wee (formerly of HBO Max), who got the position in July (after Mike Moon stepped down to work at Illumination).

Analysis: Netflix seems more eager to cancel than ever

While it's unclear why Bad Crimes was killed off early, previous instances of canceled un-aired animated projects (Wings of Fire, Antiracist Baby, With Kind Regards From Kindergarten and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You) were due to creative differences — according to Variety (opens in new tab)

Those early cancelations, along with Netflix binning Bone that same month (May 2022), all came in the aftermath of Netflix's subscriber retention woes. More recently, this past September, Netflix axed an adaptation of Matt Wagner's Grendel after ordering an eight-episode season.

For more cancelations of unfinished projects to take place after Netflix's positive Q3 earnings (opens in new tab) — it gained 2.4 million subscribers overall, after losing them in the past two quarters — suggests at least one of two things.

First, and most likely, Netflix may not consider adding 2.4 million subscribers enough positive momentum, and still thinks it needs to rebalance its ledger. Being one of the biggest and best streaming services is getting mighty complicated — especially when subscriber growth is not where you want it to be.

Secondly, Netflix may not have thought Bad Crimes would be a big enough hit. The service, which has been known for releasing a high volume of content, seems to have created a new point in its production cycle. First it greenlights shows, and then it makes sure the show is truly Netflix worthy before investing in finishing production as well as marketing its release.

One wonders if new boss Billy Wee is also scrutinizing all projects that he didn't approve, as Bad Crimes was ordered for season months before he got his position. 

Henry T. Casey
Senior Editor

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.