A weird trend has been taking place lately in regards to news coverage of Netflix. And I don’t just mean that the Netflix has started cancelling series. In fact, I was pretty unaware that the network had a reputation for not cancelling series.
But don’t worry because many, many headlines made me aware of this fact by loudly trumpeting things like “Netflix finally starts cancelling series!” “Netflix will cancel more shows, about time!” “Netflix to continue killing spree! Here are the cancellation victims!” And it wasn’t just that the articles didn’t seem too torn up about the series that were getting canned (“The Get Down,” “Bloodline,” “Marco Polo,” “Sense 8,” and most recently “Girlboss”), or that it was even about those series. They just seemed relieved to downright joyful Netflix was cancelling series, any series, and it didn’t seem to matter at all which ones.
At first, I thought it might just be that peak TV has made people hate their bounty of choices and the time they consume, but that wasn’t quite it. So what’s behind this attitude? If people don’t really despise these series then why are they seemingly so down with them getting cancelled? Why does Netflix need to cancel as many series as other networks?
On the surface, it looks like bitterness masquerading as “respect for business decisions and the realities of funding so many series.” And since when have TV and Film lovers ever cared about that? I mean, if studios and producers have so completely co-opted entertainment journalism that we’re looking less at a series’ creative quality than whether its production cost is netting a good return, then what the hell is the point of us? There are plenty of bean counters and business magazines that will get into that, and I think entertainment journalism should champion shows people should watch rather than just mindlessly cheerleading whatever’s making a profit for its studio. It was as if the “Journos” honestly resented these series because they had cost a lot of money, and it smacked of the kind of sour-grapes vibe some people secretly indulge in when the ambitious fail.
True, I didn’t watch any of those series although I gave the first seasons of “Bloodline,” “Marco Polo,” and “Sense 8” a chance, and I might have even liked “Girlboss” when I eventually got around to seeing it. But streamers like Netflix and Hulu first gained attention by not rashly cancelling series and especially when they would pick up a series that had been prematurely cancelled by traditional TV networks (I watched Netflix’s “Arrested Developement” reboot and still love “Longmire” which they saved from A&E’s foolish decision to skew younger). And if that “business model” has changed then why would a producer choose Netflix over any other quality cable or premium cable network? Oops, even I slipped into the business handicapping for a second…