Netflix just canceled another show — this time before the first episode

A TV with the Netflix logo sits behind a hand holding a remote
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Update: At least one Netflix show is safe from cancelation, with Black Mirror reportedly getting a sixth season

Netflix has developed a reputation for canceling shows before they’ve had a chance to find their footing, but usually, the streamer at least gives them one season on the platform. That’s not the case with the latest Netflix canceled show which has been axed without even airing a single episode. 

Netflix has reportedly scrapped its long-in-development animated adaptation of comic book series Bone. According to The Wrap, Netflix Animation’s Kids & Family division is undergoing a tumultuous period which has meant “several high-profile projects have been unceremoniously canceled.”  

Netflix had been planning to turn Bone into an animated show since 2019, but the last we heard about it was in 2021 when Smith discussed the series in an interview with Polygon. Smith claimed that the Covid-19 pandemic had delayed production several months but that a “dream team” of animation talent was working on the show and he was “pretty excited about it so far.” Unfortunately, it appears that wasn't enough to convince Netflix to continue ahead with the show. 

Smith has recently broken his silence on the news, and it's fair to say he's not particularly pleased with Netflix. The cartoonist posted a 10-panel comic strip to Twitter which ends with one of the main characters of Bone declaring "never again", so don't expect the series to be picked up by a rival streamer or network any time soon. 

Bone is a popular comic book series that launched in 1991 and ran until 2004 spanning 55 issues. It follows the adventures of a trio of cousins Fone Bone, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone after they are exiled from their home of Boneville and must venture into a wider world filled with new friends and dangerous enemies. 

While generally well regarded the series has sparked some controversy for its adult themes. In 2010 a Minnesota parent unsuccessfully tried to have Bone banned from all elementary school libraries

It’s not just Bone that’s been impacted by the behind-the-scene drama at either. Netflix’s animated adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Twits hasn’t been canceled but has been retooled from a show into a feature film. An adaptation of Lauren Faust's Toil and Trouble will also now be a movie rather than a longer series. 

Analysis: Netflix cutting costs as it loses subscribers?

When it rains it pours, and right now Netflix is weathering quite a storm. This week Netflix confirmed that it had lost subscribers quarter-over-quarter for the first time in a decade, and that drop is expected to get even worse over the next few months to the tune of 2 million. This has led to a wave of disgruntled former (and some current) subscribers giving their take on where Netflix is going wrong. One big question we're asking is if they're risk more ire by ending binge-watching releases, an unspoken Netflix nuclear option

With streaming service cancelations on the rise, thanks in large part to the rising cost of living, it would seem that one of the last things Netflix needs right now is another show cancelation. But this case is a little different. While an animated adaptation of Bone was potentially exciting, it’s tricky to mourn something you never really had. Perhaps the series would have been a triumph, but now we’ll never know. 

Perhaps Netflix is being more judicious about which shows it greenlights in an effort to cut costs, focusing more on content that's likely to be a hit and reach the widest possible audience. 

Netflix canceling brilliant shows like Archive 81 earlier this year stings far more than this one. Plus, it should be noted, that projects are routinely scrapped behind the scenes without the public even being aware. In this specific case, there is more interest because Bone was an adaptation of a popular comic book series, but it’s not out of the norm for shows to be axed before ever seeing the light of day.

Want some documentary action? You can soon watch the Man In The Arena: Tom Brady finale online — but it isn't on Netflix. Oh, and if you have HBO Max? All the demand for Our Flag Means Death season 2 should have you curious about watching the first season.

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.