*Trigger warning for mentions of kidnapping.
On Jan. 14, the mystery-horror show “Archive 81” came out on Netflix and blew viewers away. Two months later, the show got canceled. Despite having good viewer numbers, the streaming service decided to let it go.
“Archive 81” follows Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie) reconstructing VHS footage from 1994 that follows Melody Pendras (Dina Shihabi) living at the Visser Apartments which burns down. Dan tries to figure out the cause and why no bodies were found in the fire. A show filled with a strong mystery and strong performances from the two leads spelled out success. So why did this show get canned after a couple of months?
According to Deadline, “‘Archive 81’ did break into Nielsen and Netflix’s weekly Top 10 ratings for originals, and it also briefly shot to No. 1 on Netflix in the U.S. before being dethroned by the return of Ozark.”
An article by Polygon specifically states the show was at number two on the top 10 list for three weeks. The good numbers spelled out triumph but instead, the show got the boot after a couple of months. This is not the only well-liked show that got prematurely canceled. “First Kill” follows a forbidden sapphic romance between vampire Juliette Fairmont (Sarah Catherine Hook) and vampire killer Calliope “Cal” Burns (Imani Lewis). The show aired eight episodes on June 3 and got canceled in early August. Rotten Tomatoes shows that “First Kill” has an average Tomatometer score of 58 percent and an average audience score of 89 percent.
According to What’s on Netflix, the show got 30.34 million viewing hours in the first week of airing, then got a 61 percent increase in hours viewed the second week. In the third week, the hours viewed dropped by 62 percent, leading to its quick demise. The Daily Beast states there was a “lack of marketing” for the show, which could have led to the disappointing viewing hours.
Netflix’s reasoning for canceling both shows is the lackluster views but that does not mean people are not upset with the streaming service. “Archive 81” and “First Kill” are not perfect shows but the former gave an intense mystery while the latter gave needed representation for Black queer girls.
Fans are also disappointed with the service especially after looking at continuations of lower-rated content. Some examples include “The Kissing Booth” which follows Elle Evans (Joey King) who falls for bad boy Noah Flynn (Jacob Elordi) after kissing him at an event as the movie’s namesake. Another was “365 Days,” which follows Don Massimo Torricelli (Michele Morrone) who has visions of a woman named Laura Biel (Anna-Maria Sieklucka), then kidnaps her. The “agreement” is that Laura will stay with her kidnapper for a year and if she does not fall in love with him by the end of that time, she can leave.
The “Kissing Booth” received a 15 percent on Tomatometer and a 55 percent audience score; two sequels followed to create a Netflix franchise. According to Just Jared Jr., it gained 66 million viewers in the first four weeks of its release date. “365 Days” has a Tomatometer score of 0 percent and an audience score of 28 percent, yet Netflix decided to continue with the movies. In late February 2020, it reached the number four spot on Netflix’s Top 10 list, claiming it broke records like no other movie in 2020.
“The Kissing Booth” and “365 Days” are shocking clickbait movies that seem to be the reason why both franchises are reaching success. For instance, the top review of “365 Days” on YouTube, “365 Days is the worst movie I have ever seen…” uploaded by Alex Meyers two years ago currently has 5.2 million views and 251 thousand likes.
Views determine everything for entertainment distributors, which likely means bad news for quality content that may not reach the numbers Netflix wants. Do keep in mind that all streaming services do this but Netflix is the most notorious. At the end of the day, the entertainment business is just a business.
Despite being canceled, these shows are still worth a watch and it is not all bad content on there. If you want a show certain to get a conclusion, check out “Stranger Things” which follows a group of kids in the 1980s navigating their friend’s disappearance and the arrival of a strange girl with telekinetic powers. The fifth and final season of this show is in the works.
“Archive 81” and “First Kill” are available to stream on Netflix.