It’s no secret that Netflix has proven quite trigger happy at cancelling shows that aren’t performing as the streaming giant would like. In this year alone, Netflix has hit double figures of cancellations, possibly accelerated by the first drop in subscriber numbers in over a decade.
But most of these cancellations haven’t been formally announced by Netflix for obvious reasons: it’s a bit of a downer and bad press. As a result, we’ve generally heard from the creatives on social media, or by details leaking out to reporters.
That makes Adventure Beast — an animated nature mockumentary that debuted in 2021 — a bit of an anomaly. When approached by What’s On Netflix (opens in new tab), the company was surprisingly candid saying that “at this stage, Netflix have no plans to produce Season 2 unfortunately.”
Now, that’s not the same as cancelled, of course, but that’s likely just semantics. Barring a few sleeper hit late bloomers that get a second life via delayed social media acclaim, a show’s best chance of getting enough viewers for a renewal to occur is the launch window. Bluntly, if Adventure Beast hasn’t justified its costs by now, it probably never will.
Likely not helping matters is the near total absence of press coverage. Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab) — usually a good gauge of how likely a show is to be missed — doesn’t have enough critic reviews to proclaim a verdict. It’s not searchable on Metacritic, either.
On IMDB, however, it finds itself firmly in the divisive camp with an average rating of 5.2 and every glowing review being counterweighted by a negative one. “It's quickly forgotten, not because of its quality but rather because Netflix doesn't care about it,” wrote one reviewer.
That’s All Folks?
While some of Netflix’s older animations like BoJack Horseman, F is for Family and Big Mouth have all flourished with multiple seasons, of late the company seems to have less and less patience for cartoon projects.
Last week The Midnight Gospel was cancelled, and other projects such as Bone, Tuca and Bertie, The Twits, Toil and Trouble and Wings of Fire were either cancelled before launch or reworked into one-off films rather than full series. Even being actual royalty doesn’t protect you from Netflix cuts, as Meghan Markle found when her animated series Pearl was abandoned without warning.
Still, the platform clearly hasn’t given up on animation entirely. Yesterday it announced a few festive cartoons: A Christmas Carol, That Christmas and a sequel to Klaus.
But these are relatively safe bets, guaranteed to get repeat viewings every December. The concern is that Netflix is going to become more cautious and less willing to take bets on weird animations going forwards.
Hopefully. that’s not the case: the world without F is for Family or BoJack Horseman freely available to stream would certainly be missing something.