Girlboss on Netflix: Why Was It Cancelled?

Cheryl Greenway What's on Netflix Avatar

Girlboss sits among a rare few shows on Netflix which got cancelled after one season. Below, we’re going to dissect the show and see what its shortcomings were and why it was abruptly cancelled. 

Based on the book by the same name (minus a hashtag), Girlboss details the life of Sophia Amoruso. She spent her teen years committing petty crime, hitchhiking, and dumpster diving—it’s safe to assume that by the time she was a young adult she lacked direction.

Barely holding down jobs and a college dropout at age 22, she decides to start selling vintage clothes on eBay. Flash forward a few years and a few million dollars, and you have Sophia Amoruso 2.0.

So where did it all go wrong? Netflix has been known to push ahead with a show, even when it had less than glowing reviews (I’m looking at you, Marco Polo).

The Anti-Hero

Simply put, Sophia Amoruso—or at least her character equivalent—was incredibly unlikable. Have we had enough of the self-indulgent protagonist? Much like Piper in Orange Is The New Black, our lead is self-serving. We don’t root for her. To counteract that there must be enough interesting, surrounding stories to keep the momentum going.

There was less invested

Netflix produced the series without an outside studio. Less invested, less to lose. Cut your losses.

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos touched on the issue

“Relative to what you spent, are people watching it? That is pretty traditional,” Sarandos said. “When I say that, a big expensive show for a huge audience is great. A big, expensive show for a tiny audience is hard, even in our model, to make that work very long.”

Girlboss plays to a different kind of audience

The show had the disadvantage of being geared toward the middle. It doesn’t appeal to an older audience, it’s not family oriented, it didn’t have a particularly remarkable hook. Take a show like 13 Reasons Why. It really connected with young audiences. It started conversations and opened doors.

Girlboss is aimed at the kind of people the show is about. Sort of self-absorbed, shopping, non-watching hipsters. There was no one to watch it because they were all out buying PBR. That doesn’t make you a bad person if that’s who you are…but it doesn’t keep the lights on.

It wasn’t bad, but it was unremarkable. Certainly not enough to bank another season on. But that’s not a bad thing. Practice makes perfect.

The real reason…

All of that above would’ve contributed to a tough renewal but the truth is that the source material turned sour after Nasty Gal, the company started by Sophia went bankrupt in quite spectacular fashion. The series would have already started filming by the time news surfaced but this is most likely the main reason the series didn’t get renewed.

Will you miss Girlboss on Netflix? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by

Cheryl has written for What’s on Netflix for over three years. She’s a confessed streaming addict and also runs a Netflix based community on Facebook with over 10,000 users. Cheryl specializes in documentaries and covers weekly additions for the US in addition to breaking news stories. She is the Weekend Editor for What’s On Netflix. Cheryl resides in Virginia, USA.