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8+ Netflix Shows that Soared Too High, Plummeted Too Soon


R E C O M M E N D A T I O N – S H O W S


Raya Mehnaz


When we think of the conglomerate giant that is Netflix now, we try not to think of its former state of being a small DVD rental company. It can be argued that the reason Netflix became what it is now is solely because of its dog-headed pursuit of telling original stories on a platform that will let it grow and flourish. It’s quite a shame as that pursuit is long gone. It is hard to think of the free-reigning days of House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and compare them to the bleak state of the current Netflix originals. Netflix’s algorithmic determinism aside, it is almost impossible to figure out what criteria they use to cancel their shows that many love. 

However, cancelled or not, Netflix has given the platform to many shows that captured the heart of their viewers and left a lasting impact regardless of their cancellation status. So, here are 8+ cancelled Netflix shows that soared too high, and were gone too soon.

GLOW (2017-2019)

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Number of Seasons: 3

The Alison Brie led drama that sought to illustrate the professional wrestling scene of the 1980s is the most recent show on the list to get the ax from Netflix. In October 2020, Netflix had finally disclosed their plan to end GLOW after 3 seasons, despite the show being a fan-favourite.

GLOW tells the story of a group of misfit women who join forces to shoot a pilot for the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (or GLOW for short). When this Netflix show talks of misfits, they don’t mean beanie-clad Cole Sprouse trying to make weirdo happen, this show is all about ostracised women who society doesn’t deem to be up to Hollywood’s standards. These unconventional women who make up for the entirety of GLOW’s ensemble, represent womanhood with such understanding and compassion that has rarely been graced in the silver screen — that too between the fascinating decade of the 80s.

Everything Sucks! (2018)

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Number of Seasons: 1

Everything Sucks! focuses on a group of high school students who attempt to make a movie together as they live in the real-life town of Boring, Oregon in 1996. This show, in a nutshell, can be described as Netflix’s attempt to reincorporate the nostalgia of Stranger Things, but this time with baggy clothes, slap bracelets, and Star Wars

Everything Sucks! doesn’t hold back on diving deep into 90s nostalgia, but it also manages to tell a unique story that centres around the similar themes of growing up, coming in terms with sexuality, mental health, etc. The show was not a stranger to occasional hiccups. However, Everything Sucks! pulled through at the end, with its season one finale being a flawless piece of television start to finish.

Anne with an E (2017-2019)

Genre: Historical Drama

Number of Seasons: 3

When it came out that veteran writer Moira Walley-Beckett will helm the Netflix adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, there was a level of trepidation that is now associated with any Netflix adaptation and their inevitable turn towards darkness. It was hard to envision Walley-Beckett being handed the story of ever the optimist Anne, when the same hand had woven the bleak tapestry of Breaking Bad. Fortunately, the fans did not need to worry.

This version of Anne is just as captivating as her book counterpart. It can be seen in the way the show fashioned itself to sparkle with Anne, clarifying that her presence itself can breathe a life into the barren lands and peoples of Green Gables. This is what is special about Anne with an E. Anne is not some fortunate character whose goodwill is the product of her lack of suffering. In fact, Anne is the character who goes through the most tragedy, yet she manages to heal the people around her. This is the main hook of the show: it is healing; just as Anne, the show will heal anyone who watches it.

I Am Not Okay with This (2020)

Genre: Comedy/Superhero Fiction

Number of Seasons: 1

Based on Charles Forsman’s graphic novel, I Am Not Okay with This tells the story of Sydney ‘Syd’ Novak (played by Sophia Lillis) who suddenly realises that she has mysterious powers. There are few things to know about Syd. Syd is a 17-year-old high-school-student who has recently lost her father. She has been harbouring a secret crush for her best friend, Dina. She also happens to be exhibiting some sort of telekinesis when having an emotional outburst. 

This show, which has all the makings of a superhero show, ultimately shies away from such labels, and instead, focuses on Sydney’s journey to be at least a “sort of well-adjusted teenager”. It never stops being about Syd’s journey, no matter how unconventional that journey is. There is no worthy adversary to defeat or long training montage. It is simply a story about a grief-stricken teenager trying to stay afloat in a confusing world.

Sense8 (2015-2018)

Genre: Sci-Fi

Number of Seasons: 2

Sense8, a play on the word sensate, tells the story of eight strangers who find themselves psychically linked. The premise of the show can be complicated. It is, after all, the story of eight dynamic characters that are not only struggling with their newfound connection with each other, but also grappling with their own personal troubles. However, there is a deliberation in the show’s complexity. One moment the show would follow an Icelandic DJ, the next moment it would hover over a transsexual hacker going through conversation therapy. Despite its whiplash-esque storylines and zero spoon-feeding of information, the show achieves an odd harmony within the characters’ connection to each other. It is this careful storytelling that had the fanbase devoted to Sense8, and it is this devoted fanbase that ultimately bought Sense8 back from death, if only for a little while.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)

Genre: Fantasy

Number of Seasons: 1

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is the prequel series to the 1982 Jim Henson film that explores the mystical world of Thra. The original movie plot revolved around a Gelfling that sought to restore balance to the world of Thra and overthrow the ruling Skeksis by restoring a powerful broken Crystal. Following on the intricate mythology of the movie, the series is set before the events of the movie occurred. In the prequel, however, there is no one hero to save the world. It is about as much as the clan dynamics of the Gelflings as it is about defeating the evil overlords. This series is also gorgeously made, with its sets expertly prepared to look like the otherworldly caves, forests, and dungeons. Its crowning achievement remains its stunning use of puppets to populate the mystical world of Thra. It, to date, remains one of Netflix’s best creations — with flawless storytelling and a whole lotta adventures.

The OA (2016-2019)

Genre: Mystery

Number of Seasons: 2

The OA follows a woman named Prairie Johnson (played by Brit Marling) who suddenly reappears after she has been missing for seven years. The strange thing about her miraculous return is not just the fact she came back after seven years, it is the fact that she was blind at the time of her disappearance and she’s not anymore. The OA is an incredibly ambitious project undertaken by Marling, who, besides being the main lead, also acts as the series’ creator and executive producer. Marling as Johnson alternates between dealing with other dimensions to the recalibrating with the small town where much of the action takes place. It is a mind-blowing series that will delight mystery fans everywhere.

American Vandal (2017-2018)

Genre: Mockumentary

Number of Seasons: 2

American Vandal is a wonderful creation that was made to pay homage to true crime investigation documentaries such as Making a Murderer, Serial — while simultaneously providing a satirical look into making of a documentary. The show is seen through the eyes (or the camera) of Peter Maldanado (played by Tyler Alvarez) as he and his best friend, Sam Ecklund (played by Griffin Gluck), try to find the truth behind the heinous crimes committed. The crimes themselves are ridiculous and still manage to keep the viewers at the edge of their seat. The ingenuity of American Vandal doesn’t lie in the comparative frivolousness of the crimes. The ingenuity lies in the professional handling of these subjects regardless of their frivolousness as well as the convoluted conspiracy that surrounds each case.

Honourable Mentions

The writer purposefully excluded some specific shows because there were multiple external factors that influenced their cancellation, for example, the disclosure of the competing streaming service, unavailability of the creator, and the release of an anime sequel. That being said, some of these shows still need to be highlighted for their excellent storytelling. So, here are five honourable mentions.

  1. Daredevil
  2. Mindhunter
  3. The Punisher
  4. Jessica Jones
  5. Altered Carbon

 


Raya likes to critically analyse anything regarding pop culture, and when she’s not doing that, she likes to live life dangerously — one House MD episode at a time.

 

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