TV Cancellations Are Making Audiences Care Less About Shows

By Douglas Helm | Published

Everyone knows the feeling of scrolling through endless TV shows on Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming service in search of something new to watch. Once you finally find something that seems interesting, you binge an entire season and then get left on a cliffhanger. Months later, you learn that the show has been given the ax by the executives, and you feel like you’ve wasted your time on something that fell victim to the age of endless TV cancellations.

More Than Ever, Shows Are Cancelled After One Season

This is a modern-day phenomenon that has become all too familiar for TV audiences. While the advent of shows being produced by TV shows was once an exciting prospect, the sheer number of cancellations has made choosing a new show to watch more of a chore than ever. Seeing that a series only has one season on Netflix is a game of chance, as you never know if you’re going to get a satisfying ending or not.

Streaming Series Are No Different

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Theoretically, streaming services producing original TV shows should have been fertile creative grounds for storytellers to make engaging, interesting shows that they might not have been able to make on network TV. However, streaming services have essentially become the same as network execs when it comes to the financial side of things. You see a ton of shows being thrown at the wall to see what sticks, and then only a select few mega-hits are able to avoid the TV cancellation guillotine at the end of the season.

Why So Many Streaming Shows Are Cancelled After One Season


There are a ton of reasons for this but, at least from the outside looking in, the TV cancellation decisions seem to come from a purely financial standpoint. With the ballooning budgets of these TV shows, the streaming services demand that they immediately draw in a huge viewer base and generate hype to warrant greenlighting another season. There could be a dedicated fanbase for the series, which is a dream for most shows, but if that fanbase isn’t bringing in enough streams, then the show likely won’t live to see another season.Back in the era of network TV, the cancellation of a beloved show was a shock. In the streaming era, it has simply become the norm. It ends up being a vicious cycle, too, as viewers are more careful about which shows to watch because of the potential they’ll waste their time, leading to these shows not getting the viewers they need to go on.

Companies Cut Fan-Favorite Series In The Name Of Budget Cuts

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The financial side of TV cancellations has become even more transparent recently, with the Warner Bros Discovery merger being a particularly notable recent example. Fans saw tons of their favorite shows unceremoniously being taken away in the name of budget cuts. Fans even saw an entire movie, the essentially finished Batgirl, completely axed for reported tax write-off purposes. 

Turning Things Around

Thankfully, some networks do seem to be gradually learning from their mistakes. Apple TV is quietly making a small catalog of critically acclaimed shows that prioritizes quality over quantity, and even Disney is looking to slow down its output of Marvel and Star Wars properties. Maybe we’ll see fewer TV cancellations in the near future, but for now, viewers are going to still be a bit wary about diving into a new series.