A stake has been driven in supernatural drama First Kill, with Netflix canceling the show after just one season. Created by Victoria Schwab, the young adult series had all the markings of a successful show, with a compelling story and diverse cast. Unfortunately, it seems like most people weren’t interested in watching all eight episodes, which premiered on the platform in June. Now, showrunner Felicia D. Henderson has shared her thoughts about why the show was axed.
In an interview with the Daily Beast, Henderson explained how the streamer told her First Kill didn’t build a strong enough Netflix following after its eight episodes were released. However, the streamer’s top bosses assured her that this would change. As such, she expected the First Kill to receive a Netflix advertising push. But that never materialized. “The art for the initial marketing was beautiful,” Henderson said. “I think I expected that to be the beginning and that other equally, compelling and important elements of the show would eventually be promoted, and that didn’t happen.”
So when she eventually got the call about First Kill being canceled on Netflix because the completion rate wasn’t high enough, Henderson was very disappointed. “What showrunner wouldn’t be?” she told the publication. “I’d been told a couple of weeks ago that Netflix was hoping completion would get higher. I guess it didn’t.” All hard feelings aside, she is still grateful to have been given the opportunity to bring the First Kill story to life on Netflix. “I think this cast is among the most talented I’ve ever worked with,” she said. “And their chemistry? Fire, for sure.”
Based on Victoria Schwab’s short story of the same name, First Kill on Netflix tells the story of teenage vampire Juliette who sets out to make her first kill so she can take her place among a powerful vampire family. These matrilineal, legacy vampires are direct descendants of Lilith who chose to be bitten by the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. In search of her prey, Juliette sets her sights on a new girl in town named Calliope who happens to be a vampire hunter from a family of celebrated slayers. Caught in an awkward situation, the girls find that the other won’t be so easy to kill – and unfortunately, way too easy to fall for. In this way, First Kill on Netflix really did have some upside as a series.
Although Felicia D. Henderson blames Netflix’s poor marketing on the show’s failure, some folks on social media have suggested that the lesbian relationship at the heart of the series is the reason for its demise. But the showrunner disagrees, saying that First Kill is much more than an LGBTQ+ love story. She insists that it has something for everyone, like strong female leads, supernatural intrigue, an epic, Shakespearean battle between warring families, and a prominently featured black family in the genre. Moreover, she believes people of color crave this type of representation and that it’s something the general audience needs to be treated to.
While she makes some good points, it’s probably the show’s insistence on checking off every politically correct box that ultimately caused it to suffer as a story. Meanwhile, fans have since started a petition, asking the streamer to renew the show for a second season. The first season of First Kill is streaming now on Netflix.