What are the Biggest Flops in Netflix History?

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biggest flops in netflix history

With the recent cancelation of the Resident Evil series, we’ve decided to take a look into some of the biggest original projects to flop in Netflix history. 

Over the years Netflix has released some of the very best and some of the very worst of television. In that time we’ve seen the likes of Stranger Things, which began life as a small sci-fi series that was never expected go beyond a first season, quickly becoming the flagship series of Netflix, and one of the biggest shows in the world. However, for every Stranger Things, there is a Cowboy Bebop.

Since the first Original in 2013, Netflix has released a staggering number of original movies and shows. Sadly, that also means there are a staggering number of projects that failed to impress audiences around the world, ultimately ending up on Netflix’s dreaded canceled list.

There were, however, a select number of titles that we held huge amounts of hope for. These projects had the potential to be huge for Netflix, but as fate would have it, they would be remembered as some of the biggest flops in Netflix history.


Cursed

Seasons: 1 | Episodes: 10
IMDb: 5.8/10 | Rotten Tomatoes: 67%

biggest flops in netflix history cursed

Off the back of her time on the extremely controversial series 13 Reasons Why, actress Katherine Langford’s next Netflix project was the lead role in the adaptation of Frank Miller’s and Tom Wheeler’s Arthurian novel Cursed.

What we initially thought was meant to be a fun new adventure based on the legend of King Arthur, turned out to be an extremely confusing series that couldn’t determine what tone it wanted to set, and what audience it was meant for. Ultimately, Cursed was marketed for a Young Adult audience, however, many times throughout the series it flip-flopped from earning its TV-MA rating to being mistaken for a fun-filled fantasy adventure that could be enjoyed by younger audiences.

Thanks to the marketing, Netflix subscribers can be forgiven for not understanding this was a show meant for a more mature audience because at face value Cursed could easily be mistaken for a show handmade for children and teenagers. Had Netflix marketed the show correctly, and driven home the fact that Cursed was meant for a TV-MA audience, then perhaps the series would be more successful.

Cursed definitely earned itself an extremely loyal fan base that would have loved to see a second season, but the silence that followed the release of the series from Netflix was deafening, and after over a year of waiting for news Cursed was quietly canceled by the streamer.


Jupiter’s Legacy

Seasons: 1 | Episodes: 8
IMDb: 6.7/10 | Rotten Tomatoes: 42%

biggest flops in netflix history jupiters legacy

When Netflix first acquired the rights to the Dark Horse Comics library, and the works of Mark Millar (Millarworld), it opened up a vast number of new stories for Netflix to adapt into movies and TV shows. One such franchise we were excited to see receive an adaptation was Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy.

A franchise with a huge amount of potential, Jupiter’s Legacy could have been Netflix’s answer to Warners DC, Disney’s Marvel, and Amazon’s smash hit series The Boys. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.

There are many factors that determine whether or not Netflix renews the series, but ultimately it comes down to the volume of subscribers who tune in to the stream, and sadly Jupiter’s Legacy was unable to acquire the number of viewers for Netflix to warrant a second season. It must also be noted that a lukewarm reception from critics and subscribers alike wouldn’t have aided its chances of renewal.

There is certainly a hunger for more adult-superhero content, as is evident with Amazon’s flagship show The Boys, however, Jupiter’s Legacy failed to meet the mark and will remain in Netflix’s library of failed projects.


Resident Evil

Seasons: 1 | Episodes: 8
IMDb: 3.9/10 | Rotten Tomatoes: 55%

biggest flops in netflix history resident evil

When it was first announced that Netflix would be working on the first live-action TV adaptation of CapCom’s beloved horror video game franchise, Resident Evil, there was lots of excitement surrounding the potential of the series. Many fans, us included, were excited at the idea of witnessing the chaotic events of the first few video games brought to life, and to witness what could have been the outbreak and destruction of Raccoon City in all its glory.

The final product was far removed from anyone’s expectations. You could have given ninety-nine percent of Resident Evil fans one-hundred attempts to write a script for a Resident Evil series and less than one percent of them would have given you a YA story in return. Woefully miscast and written, the one redeeming feature of the entire series was Lance Reddick, who himself was terribly miscast as fan-favorite villain Albert Wesker.

Thanks to very poor viewing figures, a terrible reception from subscribers and critics alike all lead to the eventual cancellation of Resident Evil. In the end, the Resident Evil series proved that Constantin Films should relinquish its rights to produce any further Resident Evil projects and give a new studio a chance.


Cowboy Bebop

Seasons: 1 | Episodes: 10
IMDb: 6.7/10 | Rotten Tomatoes: 46%

biggest flops in netflix history cowboy bebop

As one of the most beloved anime of all time, there was already an increased amount of pressure on a live-action Cowboy Bebop series to perform well.

Thanks to some excellent casting, a full commitment to the source material, and the return of the original composer Yoko Kanno, in the early days of production, there were some extremely positive signs that Cowboy Bebop was going to be excellent.

Sadly, upon the release of the series, it was evident to everyone watching there was something missing from the adaptation. Whatever it was that made the anime series so special and magical could not be replicated by its live-action counterpart and in almost record time Netflix canceled any hopes of a second season.


What are the biggest new projects at risk of flopping?

Avatar: The Last Airbender

biggest flops in netflix history avatar the last airbender

One of the most beloved cartoons in Nickelodeon history, Avatar: The Last Airbender is also one of the most popular and binged titles on the Netflix library.

We’ve already seen one live-action adaptation of Avatar when Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan took on the project in 2010. Panned critically, and universally hated by fans around the world, the first live-action adaptation was an abject failure.

There are many positives going into Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar, which includes an incredible-looking cast and a clear commitment to the source material. However, one concern is the fact that the creators of the series Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, who were meant to serve as executive producers and showrunners, left the project in mid-2020, crediting a “negative and unsupportive environment” from Netflix.

We have high hopes for the live-action Avatar series, and if done right, it could be one of Netflix’s greatest success stories.


One Piece

biggest flops in netflix history one piece

For the past 25 years, Echiiro Oda’s One Piece has been one of the most popular fictional franchises on the entire planet. So popular in fact, that the One Piece manga sold so many volumes that it has officially outsold the Bible.

With dozens of volumes to its name and over 1000 episodes of anime, One Piece is without a doubt one of the hardest anime franchises to adapt into a successful live-action series.

What gives us hope for a successful adaptation is Echiiro Oda’s involvement in the series, who has given his blessing on many aspects of the series, such as the cast, set designs, and the adaptation of the story.

Fans are still extremely apprehensive about a live-action One Piece series, but just like Avatar, if a live-action adaptation can be successful, then Netflix will have a smash hit series on its hands with the potential for over ten seasons worth of content.


What do you think are the biggest flops in Netflix history? Let us know in the comments below!

What are the Biggest Flops in Netflix History?

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Jacob joined What's on Netflix in 2018 and serves as one of the lead writers here on What's on Netflix. Jacob covers all things Netflix movies and TV shows but specializes in covering anime and K-dramas. Resides in the United Kingdom.