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Prime Video just canceled one of its best shows, and I’m ready to riot

Published Jul 4th, 2024 1:54PM EDT
Outer Range on Prime Video
Image: Prime Video

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It’s not every day that a major streaming service takes a chance on a sci-fi/neo-Western mashup that puts Josh Brolin in a cowboy hat and ponders big, existential questions like the nature of time. For better or worse, that’s what you got with Prime Video’s Outer Range, one of a litany of ambitious and creatively adventurous series from Amazon’s streamer that deserved far more attention than it got — and which has just been canceled after two largely well-received seasons.

Prime Video doesn’t release viewership figures for its shows, so it’s hard to know the degree to which audience size played a role in the cancellation. At the same time, Prime’s decision is more than a little surprising, considering that the series has an average Rotten Tomatoes critics’ rating of 85% for both seasons. Nielsen data also shows that it performed reasonably well; in the week after its debut, it got as high as #3 on the Top 10 original streaming rankings.

That doesn’t change the fact that fans of Outer Range like me are crushed by the cancellation, which is increasingly becoming a pattern on Prime. I can actually think of several shows that it abruptly cancelled — including Night Sky and Peripheral, as well as Outer Range — that enjoyed fantastic casts and a top-notch overall story and production despite Amazon pulling the plug early. And leaving fans with cliffhangers on all three, to boot.

I suspect the Outer Range news, specifically, is going to accelerate a trend that’s already pervasive among streaming audiences, whereby viewers increasingly wait until all episodes of a season are out — and maybe even for that season to go ahead and get renewed — before taking the time to get invested in it. Which, of course, doesn’t exactly help things, since this or that show needs as big of an ongoing audience as possible to help its renewal prospects.

Brolin led Outer Range‘s strong cast that also included Imogen Poots, Lili Taylor, Tom Pelphrey, Noah Reid, and Will Patton. I don’t regret getting invested in the story, but it’s such a shame that we won’t get to see any more of Autumn and her quest, the Tillerson family drama, and Brolin’s rancher, Royal Abbott. It just goes to show you that there are few places where a trippy streaming drama like this one is allowed to thrive anymore, outside of Apple TV+ as a giant exception.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.