Netflix has just cancelled yet another series after its first season. Stop me if this sounds familiar. It has positive reviews from critics and audiences, ends on a cliffhanger and it didn’t spend much time in the top 10 list. That may not narrow it down, but it’s a common formula for what Netflix has been cutting lately, looking purely at viewtime metrics and completion rates.
Have you guessed yet? This time around it’s Uncoupled, the 2022 show from Darren Star and Jeffrey Richman which stars Neil Patrick Harris as a man dealing with life after his partner of 17 years leaves him.
Again, the show did not get a ton of press, but it’s been pretty well-received. It has a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, and a 75% from audiences.
Why was it cancelled? Unlike other higher budget fantasy or sci-fi series, it really cannot be cost here, unless Neil Patrick Harris was charging an arm and a leg to appear, which I doubt. The show is just eight, thirty minute episodes about a guy trying to date in his ‘40s. Not exactly super high concept. So I’m guessing the reason is literally just that it wasn’t watched enough, but the counter there is that not everything needs to be some world-conquering blockbuster to add value to your streaming catalog. Here, now, it’s just another Netflix series cancelled after one season to throw onto the pile.
And guess what? You probably do not want to watch season 1 now, given that it ends of some cliffhangers and there were many things were being saved for season 2 and beyond. Here are the creators earlier this year via TVLine:
“We have strong ideas about that storyline,” Star says. “We almost gave it away in Season 1, then decided not to.” Co-creator Jeffrey Richman adds, “It will be very surprising.”
And here’s what happened in the finale:
“After spending the entirety of Season 1 trying to get over his ex (by getting under various others), Michael returned home from his friends’ wedding to find Colin waiting for him in their old living room, worrying that he made a big “mistake.”
If you think you’re torn over what should happen next, try being one of the show’s executive producers. Darren Star tells TVLine that he anticipates plenty of friction in the writers’ room over how to proceed, while Jeffrey Richman acknowledges, “We enjoy painting ourselves into a corner.”
I’ve said this before, but it’s getting to a point where if you’re a creator making a series for Netflix, it’s seriously unwise to bank on getting a second season, and you may have to structure your storyline to give out some kind of cohesive ending on the very, very likely chance you get cancelled. This of course harms storytelling, but the alternative is that we keep getting these arcs that are never finished. Reading these quotes now are painful, knowing what just happened. And it just keeps happening.
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