Gone So Soon: 12 Series Netflix Canceled in 2020

Damarys Ocaña Perez | Apr 9, 2020 TV
Gone So Soon: 12 Series Netflix Canceled in 2020
Image: Netflix

jenna dewan in soundtrack netflix show
Netflix

It's one of the worst experiences a Netflix fan can have: We just got done binging a show that we discovered and absolutely loved, and now, we just gotta know when we can expect the next season. We rub our hands together in anticipation, and a few taps of our phones later, we find out the disappointing answer: Never. 

Our show is never coming back. Deal with it.

Well, that just happened again. Netflix is on a cancellation bender this year, giving 12 shows the chop so far, and it's just barely April. While the reason may be a certain worldwide event (*cough cough*) -- making production impossible -- it seems like overall, they're just not that into shows that don't gather a massive following, like Stranger Things. Then again, even some top shows received a pink slip this year. 

Netflix used to be a lot slower to cancel shows that hadn't quite found a huge audience. Key words: used to. No more. Those days are definitely in the past.

These days, the streaming giant often gives shows a single season -- or maybe two -- to attract eyeballs. It seems like it's a lot less willing to go into a spending free-for-all, like it has in the past. Netflix has been reluctant to share viewership numbers or its process for determining which shows are canceled, but generally, it's thought to involve how many people tune in on the first week of release -- and how many people actually complete episodes and seasons.

That means that some interesting, out-of-the-box shows are going away for good, which is such a bummer. Netflix is also getting rid of other shows that, honestly, we were "meh" about to begin with, so fair enough. But overall, hopefully, this won't mean that the streaming giant will stop taking chances with series, surprising us and making us camp out on our couches for hours on end. After all, the reason we tuned into Netflix in the first place is because it was so different from standard television.

Here are 12 shows that Netflix just canceled. Are y'all's favorites on the list? Check it out.

  • 'Messiah'

    1

    The United States has a long history of cult leaders whether sincere or fraudulent, and this one-season-and-done series was inspired by that history. Michelle Monaghan played a CIA agent who is assigned to investigate a leader (Medhi Dehbi) whose followers say he is the second coming of Jesus, and whose specialty is performing disruptive public displays of so-called miracles. 

    Guess we'll never know which one he was. 

  • Too Expensive

    2

    Chalk Messiah's demise up to our current worldwide ordeal: A source familiar with the series told The Hollywood Reporter that the company didn't want to take the chance of starting production on a second season as the world began to lock down. The series, after all, was filmed in several countries -- including Jordan and the United States -- and had an international cast.

  • 'AJ and The Queen'

    3

    Speaking of American onscreen traditions, being broke and somehow having gas money to go cross-country is still alive and well. It was, anyway, before AJ and the Queen got the ax after one season. The heartwarming show highlighted the charm of RuPaul, who played a drag queen named Ruby Red who hits the road after his lover takes his money. Along the way, he picks up a runaway girl with a drugged out mom, and they become an unlikely pair.  

  • RuPaul Tweets Goodbye

    4

    On March 6, RuPaul took to Twitter to let his fans know that AJ and The Queen had been canceled. "[Netflix] has decided to not extend our road trip across America. Thank you for all the love & support," he wrote. "We're so very proud of the work." So it was the end of a show with a message of love and acceptance, and which ended every episode with an intricate lip sync number. Netflix did not reveal why it let the show go.

  • 'V-Wars'

    5

    This cancellation was a shocker to many, who loved the buzzy show about a doctor and dad who investigates a global outbreak that turns his best friend and others into vampires -- and we're not talking about the kind that suck all the toilet paper off the shelves. Beloved hottie veteran actor of all things supernatural, Ian Somerhalder, (The Vampire Diaries, Smallville, Lost), starred on the show, which was based on a hit comic book. The show featured genuine scares and suspense, as well as social commentary.

  • Ian Vows 'We'll Be Back'

    6

    Netflix offered no explanation as to why the show was canceled after just one season, but Somerhalder had plenty to say in a video he posted on Instagram, in which he promised the show would (somehow) continue. "VWars is NOT DONE," he said. "There is life for Dr. Swann and this incredible story. The war is just beginning..." He did not exactly elaborate on a blueprint to bring the show back. 

  • 'October Faction'

    7

    Like V-Wars, this supernatural show was produced by IDW Entertainment, which specializes in comic books. And like V-Wars, it's a goner at Netflix. It's too bad, because it showed promise in its first and only season. A family of monster hunters -- with Bones' Tamara Taylor, and The Irishman's J.C. MacKenzie as the parents -- is called upon to fight some serious baddies. The show mixed action and scares with funny family dynamics. 

  • Didn't Connect With Audiences

    8

    The show may have come from a popular comic book, but it didn't exactly connect with critics or audiences. Both groups gave the show low scores on Rotten Tomatoes, with critiques ranging from the show's needless cursing to the half-baked storylines. Given that kind of feedback, and undisclosed but likely unimpressive viewership numbers, it must have been enough for Netflix to put it on the chopping block. 

  • 'Spinning Out'

    9

    In this drama, Kaya Scodelario played a figure skater named Kat, whose career came to an end after a disastrous fall. (She gets a second chance to reach the Olympics by teaming up with a male partner.) The show blended romance and amazing skate moves and explored how Kat's hiding of her mental illness threatens to derail all her dreams of getting the gold and having a fulfilling personal life.

  • Fans Couldn't Save It

    10

    For a show that only recently premiered (January 1), Spinning Out had enough devoted fans who tried to save it by creating a hashtag #SaveSpinningOut and starting a petition to save it on Change.org. Alas, the petition only gathered 2,000 signatures, so even if Netflix was prone to changing its mind on cancellations (which it notoriously isn't), it would not have been swayed by the campaign. 

  • 'Soundtrack'

    11

    Jenna Dewan used her kick-butt dance skills -- and fan base -- to help get this show on Netflix, which was all about young people falling in love and shaking their hips in Los Angeles. In the middle of storylines, the actors would break out in song and dance routines -- set to classics by Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, and others -- which sometimes worked, and sometimes did not. It was definitely different, but it's gone after a single season

  • Why the Music's Over

    12

    The show, which was picked up by Netflix after Fox passed on the pilot, garnered pretty lackluster reviews, largely due to its set up: The actors dancing and lip syncing to beloved songs distracted from otherwise solid storytelling, said reviews like the one that appeared in Variety: "[It] would be tempting to write 'Soundtrack' off as a failed experiment. But it's even more exasperating to watch these scenes flop because there’s plenty of good narrative material surrounding them."

  • 'The Crown'

    13

    This immensely satisfying series has it all: drop-dead gorgeous sets, top-notch acting and writing, and the absorbing, decades-spanning, real-life story of Queen Elizabeth II -- her historic reign, and its effect on the rest of the royal family. No wonder that it earned a boatload of awards -- everything from Emmys to Screen Actors Guild to Golden Globes. It's one series that lives up to the hype, despite an entirely new cast that debuted on season three. 

  • Why It Was Deposed

    14

    Everything ends, even a beloved, award-winning TV show like The Crown. It was announced this year that the critical darling will end in two seasons (for a total of five seasons). While the creators always said they would like to take the series to six seasons, no one can overlook the cost of making the lavish series: an astronomical $130 million for a single season, making it the most expensive TV series ever.

  • 'Atypical'

    15

    This coming-of-age show was unlike any other, focusing as it has on a teen with autism spectrum disorder for three seasons. As he ventures out into the dating world and learns the nuances of social life, it gets a little bumpy. We also get a chance to follow the stories of the people around him: his distant father, his lonely mom, and his overachieving sister. It's full-on family dramedy. 

  • Say, What?

    16

    Though many reviewers felt like the show had found its footing during season three, it was canceled anyway. That's not totally surprising, given that Netflix tends to give most of its original series no more than three seasons, so a fourth is kind of an accomplishment. In letting fans know that Atypical was renewed for a fourth and final season that will air next year, creator Robia Rashid thanked fans: 

    "Thank you for being so open to Sam’s voice and stories, and those of the entire Gardner family. It’s my hope that the legacy of Atypical is that more unheard voices continue to be heard and that even after this series ends, we keep telling funny, emotional stories from underrepresented points of view."

  • 'Insatiable'

    17

    Based on the real-life story of an Alabama pageant king who was the subject of a New York Times profile, this dark, dark, dark and funny two-season show centered around a heavyset teenage girl, played by Debby Ryan, who unexpectedly loses a lot of weight and then starts getting bloody revenge on her high school bullies. She also transforms herself into a beauty pageant contestant with the help of an obsessed mentor. 

  • Too Dark?

    18

    Few shows have this much of a difference between reviewers and audiences: Insatiable got a paltry 11% rating from critics on Tomato Meter, while amassing an impressive 89% from viewers. So why was it canceled? That's a bit of a mystery, and since Netflix never talks about their reasoning behind axing shows, we may never know. We do know that the show got lots of backlash for what some perceived as fat-shaming, so the show's satirical tone may not have hit home with some. 

  • 'Marianne'

    19

    Wow, this was one spooky show. The French horror series Marianne got canceled after just one season -- and it had a promising premise: A horror novel writer who has based all her books on a recurring dream about a vengeful spirit comes back to her small town to find out that Marianne is now ending lives in the real world. (What?!) The episodes are all chilling and suspenseful. Lots of people know the French can make romance movies, but who knew they could also nail a horror series? 

  • Boo-Hoo, It's A Goner

    20

    Even high praise from horror master Stephen King couldn't save the deliciously terrifying Marianne. The show may have just fallen victim to Netflix's increasing willingness to give the chop to shows don't make it to the top of viewership numbers right away, instead of giving shows time to find an audience. We also suspect that the show being in a foreign language may have something to do with it.    

  • 'Mortel'

    21

    Another one-and-done French import, this one focused on teens who make a deal with a supernatural being (NEVER a good idea, people) in order to have super powers -- like mind-reading and manipulation of other people's actions -- to help them solve a murder. (We would have asked for money.) Teen angst, plus otherworldly abilities, equals destruction and disaster as the friends then try to get rid of the evil god.

  • Au Revoir!

    22

    Had ya ever heard of Mortel before reading the previous paragraph? Neither had we. That's probably why it got canceled. The show got okay reviews, but lots of critics called out the cheesy special effects. Nothing yanks audiences out from a spooky show more quickly than laughable CGI and other not-so-special effects. And so we bid Mortel, which debuted in November and was canceled in January, a oh-well farewell. 

  • 'Osmosis'

    23

    This show had a very high concept: A man creates a dating site using an algorithm that he says guarantees users will find their soul mates. Soon, he starts having doubts about his own creation when he can't stop thinking about his ex. Also, the more the users rely on the technology, the more it delves into all hidden areas of their brains, feeding into their emotions -- whether they are negative or positive.

  • Didn't Catch On

    24

    One season was all it took for Netflix to get rid of this drama set in near-future Paris. This is again a series in a foreign language that just didn't catch on for a variety of reasons that we can only guess at. Not a lot of people knew about it since it didn't seem to be heavily promoted, it's in a foreign language, and it's sci-fi -- which not everyone is into. Whatever the reason, Osmosis lives in the far reaches of the Netflix archives. 

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