A Fan-Favorite Streaming Series Was Just Canceled

FX has canceled the Hulu streaming series Kindred. a sci-fi show based off of the classic Octavia Butler novel.

By Jonathan Klotz | Published


Another day, another streaming service cancels a series. Deadline reports that FX has decided to end Kindred after its first, and only, season dropped on Hulu just last month. Based off of the book by Octavia Butler, the time-travel series never reached the buzz-level of The Bear or even FX’s other recent hit, Reservation Dogs.

Kindred is a rare early cancellation from FX which is known for carefully selecting projects that can be developed into hits. Even if it means retooling a pilot or delaying a finished project until the right time, the network has a very good track record of success. Years ago, depositing the series on a streaming service would have been a sign of quality, but today the best shows are available via streaming.

The time-travel series followed Dana James (Mallori Johnson) a young Black woman that is pulled back from modern Los Angeles to the 19th-century Antebellum South. For mysterious reasons, Dana keeps bouncing between the present and the past, learning that she’s an ancestor of one of the slave owners on the plantation and harming him could make it so she never exists. Also starring Micah Stock, Ryan Kwanten, Gayle Rankin, and David Alexander Kaplan, Kindred was designed as a mini-series but intended to continue for multiple installments.

Kindred may have failed to reach an audience as wide as the one FX intended, but during its initial bingeable launch on Hulu, it made plenty of fans. On Rotten Tomatoes the series has a 59% fresh rating compared to a 88% audience score which is an unusually high discrepancy for a FX show. Critics widely praised Mallori Johnson’s performance but had issues with the wild tonal balance required of adapting the complex novel to the screen.

Mallori Johnson in Kindred

For all of its faults, Kindred tried to bring something different to Hulu by finally adapting the work of Octavia Butler. A Hugo award-winning science fiction author, Butler released Kindred in 1979, where it quickly became one of her best-selling novels. The Patternist and Xenogensis series were her longest-running franchises, with each earning multiple prestigious awards, including Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke awards.

Unfortunately for FX, Kindred did not follow in the footsteps of The Handmaid’s Tale, another classic novel that finally became a streaming series. Based off of the novel by Margaret Atwood and starring Elisabeth Moss, the dystopian novel also tackles complex issues but it found an audience beyond the readers of the book. Few shows are allowed to take their time and attempt to organically grow an audience in the modern streaming environment, no matter their award-winning source material.

The cancellation of Kindred follows recent announcements from FX regarding renewals for The Bear and Reservation Dogs, both of which will return later this year. Each show takes a unique concept, from The Bear’s unflinching view of life in a restaurant to Reservation Dogs coming of age on a Native American reservation story, but unlike Kindred, they found an audience that was actively engaged on social media. Hopefully, the rare season 1 cancellation is not a sign of further cuts at the network, but in a world where completed shows are kept off of streaming, anything can happen.