Netflix just canceled comic book show Grendel — before a single episode even aired

grendel dark horse comic series cover
(Image credit: Dark Horse Comics/Matt Wagnder)

Netflix’s cancelation spree continues, and this time the streamer has canceled a show before it’s even aired. Last September Netflix first ordered an eight-episode initial season of Grendel, based on the comic series by Matt Wagner. Now, according to Variety, it’s no longer going to stream on Netflix.

Grendel follows the character Hunter Rose, a writer and former assassin who fights organized crime in New York. In the usual comic book style, this is all to avenge a death — in this case a former lover. 

Hunter takes on the name Grendel, after the monster from Beowulf, and eventually winds up taking control of New York’s criminal underworld for himself. Because why not? Vigilantism doesn’t really pay the bills, as Spider-Man can attest. 

Abubakr Ali (Katy Keene) was set to play the title role, while Jaime Ray Newman (Dopesick) is Hunter’s deceased lover Jocasta Rose. Grendel also starred Julian Black Antelope (Tribal), Antonio Marziale (Altered Carbon), Philip Granger (Tucker & Dale vs Evil) and Pavel Kritz (Mission Impossible 4), among others.

The show is written and executive produced by Andrew Dabb, who was also involved in Netflix’s recently-canceled, and oft-maligned, Resident Evil series. So he’s not having a particularly good couple of months.

It isn’t clear why Netflix has dropped the show, especially since the first season was already in post-production. It’s not entirely clear when it would have actually arrived on Netflix, but release day can’t have been too far away. 

Netflix has always been prone to canceling shows that didn’t climb to almost blockbuster levels, but this year feels like it’s been particularly bad. Grendel now joins shows like The Babysitter’s Club, Raising Dion, Q-Force and Archive 81. Other shows, like Antiracist Baby, Wings of Fire, and Bone similarly got cancelled before a single episode aired

Netflix isn’t the only offender here, either. HBO Max has been on a cancelation spree both before and after the Warner Bros. merger with Discovery. Gentleman Jack, Raised by Wolves, and a number of JJ Abrams-led projects have hit the chopping block. Batgirl, a DCEU movie made for HBO Max was also canned during post-production, so Warner Bros. Discovery could use the $60 million budget as a tax write-off.

Fortunately, the Grendel production team has the right to shop around, and approach other networks who might be interested in picking up Grendel for themselves. But that’s not guaranteed, and there’s no information on who might pick it up; hopefully someone who isn’t as quick to cancel as Netflix.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.