If Netflix’s New Year’s Resolution was to curb its addiction to canceling promising-seeming shows after one season, it’s not off to a great start. Having already killed off 1899 and Inside Job, the latest show to be canceled by Netflix in 2023 is Uncoupled, Deadline reports.
The comedy starred Neil Patrick Harris as a suddenly single gay man learning to navigate the tricky world of modern dating in his mid-40s, and was written by Darren Star (Emily in Paris) and Jeffrey Richman (Modern Family).
But despite those big names, and briefly entering into Netflix’s top ten most watched shows, Uncoupled failed to universally win the hearts of critics. Although it boasts an average Rotten Tomatoes score of 73% fresh, most of the positive reviews are of the lukewarm variety, rather than unambiguous praise.
It’s “the TV equivalent of reheated leftovers” according to CNN, while calling it “a mild amusement” is as warm as TV Insider’s review gets. “There are worse things to have on in the background while folding laundry,” says Nina Metz of the Chicago Tribune in the very definition of damning with faint praise.
Others are a bit more charitable. “Uncoupled may feel like it’s in a rut at times, but laughs and worthwhile feelings are there if you give them a chance,” wrote Bob Strauss at the San Francisco Chronicle. “Well, maybe four or five chances.”
But Netflix isn’t in the habit of giving shows a second chance, let alone more than that, so it seems like it’s the end of the road for Uncoupled. While the Deadline report mentions that the series producer MTV Entertainment Studios was shopping the show elsewhere, a plan to move it to Showtime has apparently fallen through.
Nobody wants to hear about Netflix abandoning shows, but comedies are especially tricky for two reasons. There’s the subjectivity of what is or isn’t funny, of course, but more important is the fact that some of the best-loved comedy series of all time got off to notoriously rocky starts. If The Office and Seinfeld were commissioned by Netflix today, it’s hard to imagine them getting their second and third seasons where the shows really found their respective feet.
To thrive as a comedy in the world of streaming, it seems you have to really hit the ground running, and unfortunately, Uncoupled failed to do that. Forget the critic reviews, the most damning criticism of the show comes from the Deadline comments section:
“I honestly don’t remember if I watched this or not.”