Netflix suddenly cancels three big shows — and fans aren't happy

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Update: Another Netflix show is coming to an end, with Workin' Moms set to conclude after its seventh season next year

Netflix just cancelled three more TV shows, and we're expecting fans to be up in arms (again). So, if you’re a fan of The Last Kingdom, The Irregulars or The Duchess, then unfortunately the streamer won’t be renewing either for a new series — and they join the list of the cancelled TV shows of 2021.

Over the last few years, Netflix has been releasing more and more shows and movies, creating a seemingly unending river of programming. And with this latest news, we're reminded that we may need to be concerned with watching shows up front, to help them survive the inevitable falls of the axe. 

News of these cancellations has rippled out over the last weeks, with Deadline breaking the news of the end of the line for The Last Kingdom, The Duchess and The Irregulars.

Cancellation central 

The Last Kingdom, based on Bernard Cornwell's The Saxon Stories series of novels and plucked from the BBC, had a fairly decent run. It was picked up by the streaming giant for season 3, and then renewed for several seasons before Netflix announced that season 5 would be the last.  

Of course, each cancellation will hit audiences differently, based on what you're watching. This brings us to The Irregulars, which is also getting dropped by Netflix. However, it's been a bigger success story than The Last Kingdom, charting in Netflix's coveted Top 10 and maintaining this position several weeks after its initial release, making news of its cancelling a much bigger surprise.

Netflix hasn't given any solid reason for terminating the show, but the show's Dickensian crew of misfits has drawn comparisons to the streamer's hugely popular period drama, Bridgerton. 

In the hotly contested world of Netflix's top shows, viewing figures always take precedence over smaller shows' tribal fan loyalties. Admittedly, Netflix's viewership statistics have always felt uninformative, as it counts anyone who "chose to watch and did watch for at least 2 minutes." That said, Netflix seems dead set on following the numbers, even if it means upsetting loyal groups of fans of shows like The Irregulars, which always lose out to the gargantuan ratings of something like Bridgerton. 

Many disgruntled fans took to Twitter to vent their frustration about the show being let go, and one compared it to Netflix's latest hugely-hyped series. Shadow and Bone season 2 is expected on Netflix, but has yet to be announced, as it spent a ton of time at the top of the Netflix charts.

Three's a crowd

Last on the list: The Duchess. Created by British-based comedian Katherine Ryan, the six-part series launched in September 2020 but will not return. Focusing on the oft-problematic livelihood of a single mom living in London, Ryan told fans on Vicky Pattison’s The Secret To podcast that Netflix decided to not renew because — surprise — not enough people watched it.

A truism and something that's often been pointed out by streaming buffs are that networks would often use a pilot episode of a television series to sell the show to a television network. It's something that is still used today outside of Netflix. Netflix, though, changed the game when it arrived on the scene, typically signing up for an entire first season, rather than pumping money into pilots that fail to make it to the series.

That of course means shows can get pulled after just one series, based on the whim of Netflix's powers that be. Unfortunately, it also gives just about enough of a window for fans to get invested in a show before it's wound up, which is something we've seen happen here and continues to be a worrying trend in 2021

Luke Wilson

Luke is a Trainee News Writer at T3 and contributor to Tom's Guide, having graduated from the DMU/Channel 4 Journalism School with an MA in Investigative Journalism. Before switching careers, he worked for Mindshare WW. When not indoors messing around with gadgets, he's a disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors.