Why Netflix Can’t Save Every Canceled Show

Jacob Robinson What's on Netflix Avatar

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“All good things must come to an end” is what they say. Sadly this is the usual scenario for many beloved TV shows. While Netflix has been the hero in saving some fan favorites out there, it doesn’t mean yours will. Here’s why Netflix can’t save every canceled show.

If we were to create a list of all the canceled tv shows out there we’d be here a while. There have been a great many cancelations over the years therefore many great and bad tv shows have been shown the chopping block. Over the past couple of years, Netflix has been the stalwart savior of some of these shows. Popular titles such as Designated Survivor and Lucifer are the most recent examples of Netflix coming to the rescue. When FOX dropped Brooklyn 99 many called for Netflix to pick this up too but NBC saved the show from going under instead.

There are hundreds of factors that could play into why a TV show isn’t picked up any network, let alone Netflix. We’ll be listing some reasons below on why this is the case.

The cost is too damn high!

Netflix and many other companies that produce network content clearly have a lot of cash. Going by their value in the stock market, most if not all of these companies are either worth Billions or are owned by a company worth billions. But just because they are worth billions it doesn’t mean they have expendable money just laying around to purchase tv shows.

Between the wages of the cast and crew, production and marketing to say the least a lot of money goes into the production of a tv show. Many fans don’t realize how much cash may be pumped into a show.


So for some, the cost of production can cause some networks to cancel the show. For example, take Netflix Original Bloodline, due to the state of Florida changing its tax incentive laws production companies would no longer receive an incentive for filming in Florida. The cost of filming in the Florida Keys already cost roughly $7 Million per episode so without the incentive in place, Netflix could not justify the cost of keeping the series going hence it’s eventual cancelation.

Game of Thrones and The Crown are currently the 2 most expensive shows ever produced. If it wasn’t for their overwhelming popularity then there would be no chance those shows would have seen past the first 2 seasons.

Bloodline Netflix

Filmed in the Florida Keys the production of Bloodline became too expensive

Loved by few, disregarded by many

With every tv show, you are going to have a fiercely loyal fan base. So if you come along and cancel that show then they will shout from the rooftops how annoyed they are about it. While it may seem like the show has many fans online, in reality, the show may have had incredibly poor viewing figures.

The best example of this is Sense8. We cannot take away how much fans of Sense8 love the series. So while it is incredibly admirable unfortunately the cold hard truth is Netflix couldn’t justify the cost of the show with how the lack of viewership it generated.

Without realizing it you will find yourself in a bubble surrounded by those with similar opinions to yourself. Therefore if you’ve found yourself liking or subscribing to content based on a show you love, there will be others who are like minded. So if you are in this bubble amongst a fandom then to you and those inside it, it will look a huge portion of the internet all agree upon the same thing when in reality you are actually in a tiny minority. Sadly many shows are loved fiercely by the few but ignored by the many.

Firefly Canceled Netflix 1

Firefly has a loyal fanbase but viewing figures for the first season were poor so FOX canceled the show

Competing with the competition

The bottom line of it all is Netflix only has a finite budget to play with. Just because Netflix hasn’t picked up a dead show it doesn’t mean another studio won’t. While Brooklyn 99 found a permanent home with NBC before that was even announced fans of the show were demanding that Netflix pick it up. Chances are a deal was never on the table for Netflix to purchase the show as NBC was already behind the production of the show.

Instead, we can use Lucifer as an example. In the United Kingdom Lucifer was actually an Amazon Prime exclusive and was a very popular addition to the UK library. It came as a surprise that Netflix had acquired the show and not Amazon. In the end, it may have come down to a price that Amazon was unwilling to pay but if there was an interest from Amazon this may have driven the price of acquiring Lucifer from FOX. In this instance, Netflix did acquire the show but that’s not to say they won’t get outbid in the future.

So don’t forget there are other studios other than Netflix out there so if your show isn’t picked up by them, there’s no reason why another studio won’t.

Paving the way for new original content domestically and worldwide

Netflix has made its clear on its intentions to invest into brand new and Original content. Therefore Like any company, Netflix will have a budget set aside for investing in brand new original content for the streaming service. While Netflix can pick up dead shows and list them as Originals, in the grand scheme of things they were never truly ‘original’ productions. We’d much rather see investment into shows like Stanger Things than a show that failed to perform.

Since the release of House of Cards Netflix has produced hundreds of Original content. Not all of this money has gone to English programs either as Netflix has committed to producing a lot more content from Asia. With the number of growing subscribers in Asia, this is an incredibly smart move for Netflix to invest in the foreign market.

So there you have it, folks, those are some of the reasons why Netflix can’t pick up your favorite canceled show! Are there any shows that you would like to see Netflix acquire? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by

Jacob joined What's on Netflix in 2018 as a fulltime writer having worked in numerous other industries until that point. Jacob covers all things Netflix whether that's TV or movies but specializes in covering new anime and K-dramas. Resides in Norwich in the United Kingdom.