Netflix fans have begun boycotting the streaming giant following the cancellation of Lockwood & Co.
The popular young adult (YA) supernatural detective series, which wowed critics and audiences alike upon release at the start of 2023, won’t be returning for a second season. That’s according to Variety (opens in new tab), which reported the news last Saturday (May 13). Complete Fiction Pictures, the studio behind Lockwood & Co‘s TV adaptation, later confirmed the show’s cancellation on Twitter.
Some news. #LockwoodandCo pic.twitter.com/tv6e5mdk79May 12, 2023
What makes Lockwood & Co‘s cancellation so egregious is Netflix‘s apparent delight at how well it did. Per Variety’s sources, the Ruby Stokes-starring TV show, which is based on Jonathan Stroud’s book series of the same name, Netflix was “very pleased” with audience’s reactions to it, as well as the effort that had gone into its production. However, Variety adds that Lockwood & Co‘s viewing figures fell short of expectations, hence its cancellation.
That’s a pity, in our opinion. In our full review of Lockwood & Co, we called it “ghoulishly good fun” and “one of Netflix’s better eldritch-tinged TV series”. Plenty of general TV fans and critics agreed with us, too, with Lockwood & Co‘s one and only season holding a 92% certified fresh critical rating, plus a 94% audience rating, on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab).
In January, Cornish and the show’s cast, which included Ali Hadji-Heshmati and Cameron Chapman alongside Stokes, exclusively told TechRadar that they hoped the show’s potential popularity would allow them to continue telling the story in Stroud’s novels. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case.
Understandably, Lockwood & Co‘s unceremonious scrapping has angered many, many Netflix users. In fact, some are so enraged by the cancellation of another popular series on the world’s best streaming service, they’ve began to boycott the platform. Subscribers, such as Twitter user Maharharhar (opens in new tab), have played Netflix at their own game and cancelled their subscriptions.
Others, including Twitter user cornerofmkreads (opens in new tab), suggested the abrupt ending of Lockwood & Co lends further weight to the ongoing writers’ strike, which has brought Hollywood to a standstill and affected the development of numerous movies and TV shows, including Stranger Things and multiple Marvel projects. Twitter user i2eloise (opens in new tab) has even set up a petition calling on another big streaming service to save the TV show. Which is ironic, because that’s what Netflix did when Manifest was dumped by NBC in June 2021…
Giving up the ghost in the YA genre?
This isn’t the first instance where Netflix has called time on a YA-positioned TV series ahead of schedule.
Fate: The Winx Saga, First Kill, The Bastard Son and the Devil Himself, and The Babysitters’ Club have all been dumped at various points over the last 12 months. Meanwhile, Shadow and Bone fans are working frantically to try and game the YA fantasy show’s viewing stats in a bid to stop Netflix cancelling it, too. Given its genre placement, then, Lockwood & Co‘s cancellation shouldn’t come as a total shock, even if we believe it’s one of the best Netflix shows around.
Netflix has enjoyed success with YA TV series, with the aforementioned Stranger Things joined by other massive hits including Wednesday, Riverdale, Sex Education, and Never Have I Ever. So Netflix series aimed at the 18 to 25 year old demographic aren’t completely disposable on the streaming company’s part.
Still, it does seem that more YA-angled shows are cancelled than any other genre fare on Netflix. Maybe the fanbases of these shows are more outspoken than viewers who have enjoyed other cancelled Netflix shows, and aren’t afraid to call Netflix out for prematurely ending a series. Maybe Netflix just makes more YA-focused content for its core target audience (that being 18 to 25 year olds), meaning plenty of YA TV series are cancelled when they don’t perform as well as expected.
Whatever the reason – at least outside of the predominant one, i.e., viewing figures – Netflix appears to cancel more shows aimed at younger audiences than other age groups. If it wants to retain those viewers, it needs to make a decision: be more thoughtful about which YA projects it give the green light to, or stop cancelling the ones viewers are enthralled by. Otherwise, Netflix is going to burn enough of its 18-25 demographic to keep them away for good.
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