While it was somewhat easy to see this coming, now that it’s actually happened, it doesn’t feel any less stupid and short-sighted. Netflix has cancelled Warrior Nun, the gory YA fantasy action series that had amassed a cult following on the service. It aired for two seasons and will not be back for a third despite cliffhangers and unresolved plotlines, and now, it has a fanbase in mourning.
While Netflix has cancelled countless YA and teen-focused projects over the past few years (not three days ago I wrote about how The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself was cancelled), Warrior Nun is a unique case in that season 2 is the singular best-scored season of a show in Netflix history, according to Rotten Tomatoes metrics.
The second season has a perfect 100% score from a handful of critics, but more impressive is the 99% Audience Score it has from over 8,000 viewers, easily the highest overall total from any season of a Netflix original. While Warrior Nun season 2 may not literally be the greatest season of TV on Netflix, it was extremely good and fans rallied around the show to try to save it for a third season. But it was likely a doomed prospect from the outset, given how quickly Warrior Nun season 2 appeared and disappeared from Netflix’s top 10 list.
This is purely “the data” at work here. Netflix made a calculation that Warrior Nun simply did not get enough viewership for the relative cost of bringing its CG angels and demons to the screen, and they cancelled it. But they have alienated yet another hugely impassioned fanbase as they have dozens of times before, and have now created a show it is arguably not worth watching at all given that it will forever remain unfinished, like dozens of shows before it. Netflix has become a literal graveyard of series like this, and a pretty worrying trend is start to form where a vast, vast majority of these YA/teen shows are led by young women. Every time this happens, I update this grand list of similar projects Netflix has been killing the past few years, many of which had incredible reception at the time, just not blockbuster viewership, which was their death knell:
- First Kill (YA vampire drama)
- Cursed (YA fantasy drama)
- The Babysitter’s Club (highly rated preteen drama)
- Daybreak (YA post-apocalypse drama)
- Spinning Out (teenage ice skating drama)
- Insatiable (teenage crime comedy/drama)
- The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (YA witch drama)
- I Am Not Okay With This (teenage superhero drama)
- The Society (YA sci-fi drama)
- Teenage Bounty Hunters (teenage crime comedy/drama)
- The Order (YA magician drama)
- Fate: The Winx Saga (YA fairy drama)
- The Imperfects (YA superhero drama)
- The Midnight Club (teen horror drama)
- The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself (YA fantasy drama)
- Warrior Nun (YA fantasy drama)
Of the 16 shows I just mentioned here, I’d classify 13 of them as being female-led. Very, very few survive, like currently Shadow and Bone, returning for season 2, but if it made it to season 3, I’d be shocked. Wednesday is the rare ultra-megahit that lands in this category that is very safe because of its massive viewership numbers.
It’s a worrying trend, and feeds into the narrative that Netflix has no desire in courting smaller, dedicated, female-skewing fanbases in its endless search for monster hits. Warrior Nun will not be the last. And hell, it may not even be the last this week if current trends are any indication.
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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.