Netflix Canceled Shadow And Bone Despite Hitting Most-Watched Record

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Netflix has always maintained that decisions to cancel shows are based on performance vs. cost. The streamer’s recently released What We Watched report (via Deadline) offers a glimpse into the process, shedding light on the surprising cancellation of Shadow and Bone, a fantasy drama that, despite hitting record-breaking viewership numbers, found itself on the chopping block.

Shadow And Bone Canceled

Debuting on March 16, the second season of Shadow and Bone quickly became a sensation, captivating audiences with its story.

However, the joy of becoming the most-watched English-language scripted series from January to June of 2023 was short-lived, as the show was axed despite earning a staggering 192.9 million hours viewed and ranking at number 26.

Numerous Factors

According to Netflix, the decision to cancel Shadow and Bone in mid-November was influenced by numerous factors, including the Hollywood strikes that disrupted schedules across networks and streaming platforms.

The resultant delays in production and the exorbitant price tag associated with the series likely contributed to its axing despite its expansion into a video game.

Cancellation Threshold

netflix Shadow And Bone

Netflix’s report reveals a threshold for hour-long English-language series during that period, with all series above Shadow and Bone that were eligible for renewal securing another season.

Notable examples include Vikings: Valhalla, whose upcoming third season will be its last, and Sweet Tooth, which, ranking just below Shadow and Bone, earned a third and final season.

Shadow and Bone author Leigh Bardugo addressed the show’s cancellation on Instagram. “Friends, by now, you’ve probably heard that there will be no Season 3 for Shadow and Bone and no Six of Crows spinoff,” she wrote.

“The news hit me hard. I’m heartbroken and deeply disappointed, but I’m also trying to hold onto my very real gratitude,” Bardugo said.

Shadow And Bone Cancellation A Surprise

netflix Shadow And Bone

Netflix was less ruthless with sitcoms. Nostalgia trip, That ’90s Show was renewed despite ranking at 100.

Although The Upshaws Part 3 ranked just below 1000 and Unstable at 511, both earned additional seasons. The rookie half-hour comedy XO, Kitty, outshone its counterparts with a remarkable 200.7 million hours viewed, securing its spot at number 24.

Shadow and Bone, adapted from Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels by Eric Heisserer, transports audiences to a fictional world where magic and political intrigue wield significant influence.

The story revolves around Alina Starkov (portrayed by Jessie Mei Li), a young soldier who uncovers a latent power capable of uniting her war-torn nation.

Widespread Acclaim

shadow and bone season 2

Debuting on Netflix in April 2021, Shadow and Bone garnered widespread acclaim for its meticulous world-building and fantasy elements. Although Season 2 experienced a slight dip in reception, slipping from 87 to 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, it maintained its position in Netflix’s coveted Top 10.

The concluding part of Shadow and Bone Season 2 drew commendation for its gripping action sequences and the groundwork laid for the impending Six of Crows storyline. Fans are currently rallying for another studio to pick up the series, citing successful revivals of other shows as inspiration.

Not The Only One

Shadow And Bone

Several other Netflix shows met premature ends, each with its own devoted following. Glamorous, originally conceptualized for the CW network, concluded after a single season despite the star power of Miss Benny and Kim Cattrall.

The animated comedy Agent Elvis, featuring Matthew McConaughey as a secret agent version of the iconic singer, failed to secure a renewal following its debut season.

Farzar, a sci-fi fantasy with the late Lance Reddick, shared a similar fate with Shadow and BoneCaptain Fall, a series centered around an unwitting sea captain entangled in smuggling, faced an early demise due to lackluster viewership numbers.