It’s never good news when a TV show gets canceled. But this surprise slew of cancelations from Netflix is certainly an eyebrow-raiser.
As reported by Deadline, Netflix is swinging the axe on five shows: Shadow and Bone, Glamorous, Agent Elvis, Farzar and Captain Fall. Most of these weren’t exactly smash hits for the popular streaming service, but Shadow and Bone getting canceled is a surprise. The show had a decent following, as it was adapted from Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels, which already had a passionate fanbase.
Netflix had also seemed invested in the series just before its surprise cancelation. The streaming giant had just announced a new Shadow and Bone game — Shadow and Bone: Enter the Fold — at its Geeked Week event a mere six days ago.
Maybe Netflix, unlike competitor Warner Bros. Discovery, simply didn’t want to shelve an already completed project. But between Netflix’s increased push in gaming, of which this Shadow and Bone game was seemingly set to be a major part, as well as Netflix’s seeming investment in the Grishaverse, canceling the TV series was a surprise to the industry and fans alike.
Netflix cancelations: Should we expect more to come?
Part of why this latest Netflix cancelation comes as a surprise is that the streaming service had been relatively quiet on cancelations during the recent Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) and Writers Guild of America strikes. Not only that, but it had even renewed some shows during the strikes, including the popular live-action One Piece adaptation, The Night Agent and The Diplomat.
However, with the strikes now over, it looks like Netflix is having to cut costs. Or at least, that’s what some industry insiders want to imply — as Deadline does in its headline “‘Shadow And Bone’, ‘Glamorous’ & ‘Agent Elvis’ Among 5 Series Canceled By Netflix Amid Strike Impact.”
It’s naive to say that the strike is causing no impact on the studios, but it seems like there are more obvious answers for why these shows were canceled. Agent Elvis, Farzar and Captain Fall are all animated TV shows, and while there are still some successful ongoing animated shows on Netflix, it has seemingly reduced its investment in original animated content. In 2022 alone the streaming service canceled at least a dozen animated shows according to CBR.
And as Deadline points out in its coverage, all three shows were developed by Netflix's previous adult animation chief. So it's not a huge surprise to see these shows go the way of the dodo.
While Glamorous and Shadow and Bone can’t be explained away as being in genres Netflix is no longer prioritizing, their cancelations also have some clear reasons behind them once you take a look.
Glamorous was largely a critical failure and was in the Netflix Top 10 for just two weeks. Shadow and Bone, despite an impressive first season only managed five weeks in the Top 10 and — potentially more importantly — never hit the No. 1 spot. Given the investment needed to produce content from the Grishaverse IP, Netflix most likely concluded that its return on investment on the current Shadow and Bone show wasn’t meeting expectations.
So will Netflix use the strike ending leading to increased costs (which is true) and the current economic climate as cover to cancel some more underperforming series? Perhaps, but the key factor here is that the shows getting canceled are underperforming. It’s not like Netflix is canceling The Sandman, which is one of the most expensive shows to film in TV history.