A Fan-Favorite Historical Series Was Just Canceled

Becoming Elizabeth has been canceled by Starz in its first season.

By Chad Langen | Published

In an age where streaming absolutely dominates, platforms like Netflix and HBO Max are fighting harder than ever to capture audiences with the hope of securing them as long-term subscribers. That said, studios are churning out dozens upon dozens of new shows at an incredibly rapid rate, and while a select few become massive hits for said studios, most of these series don’t make it beyond the first season due to a lack of viewers. According to Deadline, the freshman drama Becoming Elizabeth, which centers around Queen Elizabeth I, is the latest show to get axed as a result of poor viewership.

Becoming Elizabeth premiered on Starz on June 12 and concluded its eight-episode run on August 7 before being canceled by the studio. Although the historical series resonated with the audiences it was able to capture, the number of viewers wasn’t enough to warrant a second season. Per Live+Same Day Nielsen data, the premiere episode “Keep Your Knife Bright” was the most watched with a mere 158,000 total viewers, and the series continued to lose viewers week after week, averaging just 136,000 per episode by the end of its short run.

Becoming Elizabeth

The series, which was created by Anya Reiss, centers around the early life of Queen Elizabeth I of England, an orphaned teenager who becomes wrapped up in the political and sexual politics of the English court on her journey to secure the crown. There’s no clear heir following the death of King Henry VIII and his son Edward VI, and his surviving children find themselves embroiled in a dangerous game between the great families of England and the powers of Europe who fight for control of the country. Becoming Elizabeth also centered on the titular character’s struggles to control her own destiny as the men around her sought to take her power.

On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, Being Elizabeth holds a score of 85% from reviews by 20 critics. On the other hand, the drama (which features episodes directed by Justin Chadwick, Udayan Prasad, and Catherine Morshead) sits with a score of 73% with audiences. The show has been praised for being more historically accurate than other similar series.

Being Elizabeth stars Alicia von Rittberg as Elizabeth Tudor, an actress who has appeared in dozens of projects dating all the way back to 2007. She’s arguably best known for portraying Emma in the war drama Fury, where she appears alongside Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal, and Jason Isaacs. The picture, which was helmed by David Ayer, follows a grizzled tank commander who is forced to make tough decisions as he and his crew fight their way across Germany in April 1945.

In addition to Alicia von Rittberg, Being Elizabeth stars John Heffernan, Jamie Parker, Romola Garai, Leo Bill, Ekow Quartey, Tom Cullen, Jacob Avery, Jamie Blackley, Alex Macqueen, Jessica Raine, and Bella Ramsey. In addition to creating the show, Anya Reiss served as executive producer alongside The Forge’s George Ormond and George Faber, with Lisa Osborne producing. Reiss was a lead writer on the series, with an all-female writing team consisting of Emily Ballou, Anna Jordan, and Suhayla El-Bushra.