Netflix has officially axed one of its most ambitious and biggest titles of 2022 with 1899 now confirming it won’t return for a second season. Why was 1899 canceled, what’s the reaction been, and what has the cast and crew said about its cancelation? We’ve got you covered.
To quickly bring you up to speed, 1899 was the big new series from the creators of Netflix’s DARK (a series that reached three seasons). The ambitious show costs millions per episode to produce and uses cutting-edge new technology to film.
Starring Emily Beecham, Andreas Pietschmann, Aneurin Barnard, and Isabella Wei, the show was about passengers on an immigrant ship traveling to the new continent who get caught in a mysterious riddle after finding a second vessel adrift on the open sea.
The show ended on a monumentally huge cliffhanger and was designed to be at least three seasons, but as you’ve gathered by now, that won’t happen.
When and why was 1899 canceled?
Baran bo Odar first released the news on December 2nd, 2022, in a statement on Instagram, which read:
“With a heavy heart we have to tell you that 1899 will not be renewed. We would have loved to finish this incredible journey with a 2nd and 3rd season as we did with Dark But sometimes things don’t turn out the way you planned. That’s life. We know this will disappoint millions of fans out there. But we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts that you were a part of this wonderful adventure.
We love you. Never forget.
Bo & Jantje”
Why Netflix canceled 1899 comes down to their internal way of measuring a show’s success. As we’ve covered before, Netflix assesses impact value, efficiency score, and adjusted view share to decide whether to give the show new seasons.
Given the budget of 1899, it must not have met internal expectations to justify another pricey season.
The duo seemingly partly corroborated this fact in an interview in April 2023 with the Brazillian outlet Globo.
Baran bo Odar told them (translated from Portuguese to English):
“The cancellation of “1899” has changed a lot the way we think about our projects. Things have changed a lot in the industry and in society, especially in the way people produce and consume content. We really believe that if “Dark” was released now, it wouldn’t have a chance – laments Odar. — We have so much content in the world today that people are always consuming things quickly and without dedication. With the cancellation, we had to think about whether our storytelling is something that people still want and whether we should adjust it. Honestly, we still don’t have an answer.”
How well did 1899 perform on Netflix?
What do the numbers say? Why did 1899 get canceled?
Our first port of call is Netflix itself. Since 2021, they’ve released weekly viewership numbers that unveil how many hours were watched globally.
The show featured in the top 10s for five weeks between November 13th and December 18th, totaling 257.16 million hours watched.
|Week in Top 10
|November 13th, 2022 to November 20th, 2022
|November 20th, 2022 to November 27th, 2022
|November 27th, 2022 to December 4th, 2022
|December 4th, 2022 to December 11th, 2022
|December 11th, 2022 to December 18th, 2022
Nielsen data, which tracks viewing minutes in the United States, suggests the show had a relatively strong debut there, although more data is yet to come. The two main shows beating 1899 were Wednesday and Dead to Me.
Here’s their viewing data thus far:
|Position in Originals List
Let’s move to the raw top 10 data tracked by a friend of What’s on Netflix, FlixPatrol.
Like a couple of other sources, their data suggest the show had real staying power throughout its first month, with it being the number 1 show between the 11th and the 19th. Their data suggests the show picked up the most points in the top 10s in Europe and the Middle East.
How about external numbers? Well, they look pretty good too.
TelevisionStats.com reports that the series was on their list of the top 5 shows for a solid month before beginning to drop. They collect data using various sources, including Wikipedia, Google Search, Twitter, Reddit, and IMDb.
The show has a particularly strong appearance on Google Search and IMDb per their metrics.
So based on all this data, it all looks pretty strong or, at least, no major red flags or huge drops that would typically indicate a cancelation.
Could completion rates be to blame for the cancelation of 1899?
While the show did pick up plenty of hours, completions were likely the cause of cancelation here.
We’ve covered how Netflix likes to have high completion rates with a Netflix executive confirming to Vulture, “it’s great to know when they [Netflix users] complete, because that’s often a sign that they’ve loved every minute of it.”
Two sources suggest that completions for 1899 averaged much lower than other Netflix shows.
Digital i, a UK-based SVOD data analytics company, suggests that the show had a huge drop-off between episodes 1 and 2 and suggests people ditched the show early on.
Using their preliminary panel data (they state they’ll have final numbers by January 6th) from the UK and across Europe, their results suggest only around 32% of people managed to get through to the final episode.
Digital i’s observations suggest that struggle to get beyond a 50% completion rate will ultimately have difficulty getting renewed.
What’s on Netflix contributor Frederic Durand also sifted through TVTime data (which requires users to enter whether they watched through to the end manually) to see how the show compared to other Netflix Originals. It suggests a similar story of fewer people getting through to the end.
Titles marked in red are canceled Netflix Originals, whereas those in green are renewed.
There you have it, all the data we have so far on 1899. Are you sad to see the show canceled? Let us know in the comments down below.