Netflix has canceled a huge, new sci-fi series. This one comes as a major shock considering the amount of hype around the show.
Netflix has canceled its Cowboy Bebop series after just one season. The decision comes less than three weeks ago after its debut and may be due to its poor reception. Reviews were mostly negative as critics maligned the show’s pacing, as well as the cheap-looking sets and costumes. The writing, special effects, editing, and action scenes were also slammed. But the cast was praised for their performances.
Despite the first episode earning almost 74 million views, the show’s viewership numbers declined sharply in the following weeks. To make matters worse, Cowboy Bebop’s 10-episode run only managed a 46 percent positive critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes (via The Hollywood Reporter). While critics’ opinions don’t always determine the success of a series, this time fans seemed to agree. Failing to capture the essence of what made the anime version so successful, it only earned a 56 percent positive audience score on the site.
Based on the popular 1998 Japanese anime television series from writer Cain Kuga, Netflix first started developing the show back in 2018. The anime series incorporated a wide variety of genres throughout its run. Cowboy Bebop was heavily influenced by science fiction, westerns, and noir films. Its most prominent themes include adult existential loneliness, and the inability to escape one’s past.
Cowboy Bebop stars John Cho as Spike Spiegel, Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black, Daniella Pineda as Faye Valentine, Elena Satin as Julia, and Alex Hassell as Vicious. Cho was the first cast member to react to the cancellation news. He simply posted a head-bobbing gif of Tom Selleck from a scene in Friends saying “I’m Okay” to his Twitter account. He was later joined by co-EP Javier Grillo-Marxuach in the online mourning.
Set in the year 2071, Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop series tells the story of three bounty hunters as they troll the galaxy for their next big score. But each of them comes with some pretty heavy baggage that will be unpacked throughout their adventures. Like the anime, the series blended various genres like noir, crime, slapstick, and more.
The original Cowboy Bebop was a critical and commercial success both in Japanese and international markets. It earned several major anime and science fiction awards upon its release and received unanimous praise for its style, characters, story, voice acting, animation, and soundtrack. Since its release, critics have hailed Cowboy Bebop as one of the greatest animated television series of all time. The series is also credited with introducing anime to Western audiences in the early 2000s. Cowboy Bebop has also been labeled a gateway series for the entire anime medium.
So it’s not surprising that Netflix took a shot at creating a live-action adaptation of the show. André Nemec (of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame) served as showrunner, with original anime series director Shinichirō Watanabe working as a consultant for the show. Christopher Yost handled writing duties, while original composer Yoko Kanno returned as music composer for Cowboy Bebop.
Although Cowboy Bebop hasn’t been renewed for a second season, the series is still available to stream on Netflix.