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This Netflix cancellation news is going to crush some of you

first kill netflix

The Netflix cancellation ax has swung again. The streamer’s latest series to meet an untimely end, despite a hardcore fanbase that was holding its breath for word of a second season? First Kill, the teen fantasy/vampire drama that debuted in June, quickly found itself one of the most-streamed Netflix shows worldwide — and then came Netflix’s cold, brutal calculus that it subjects shows to internally: Does this project give the company a benefit tantamount to what it cost to make it?

That’s the word of unnamed sources, at any rate, who told our sister publication Variety that it came down to a simple matter of time viewers spent watching it versus what it cost to make the show. Dominic Goodman, who plays Apollo on First Kill, also confirmed the cancellation in a tweet.

Netflix ends First Kill after one season

For those who don’t know or haven’t checked it out yet, by the way, the show is a kind of Buffy-meets-Romeo and Juliet YA drama. “When it’s time for teenage vampire Juliette (Sarah Catherine Hook) to make her first kill so she can take her place among a powerful vampire family, she sets her sights on a new girl in town named Calliope (Imani Lewis),” Netflix’s summary for the 8-episode First Kill explains.

“But much to Juliette’s surprise, Calliope is a vampire hunter from a family of celebrated slayers. Both find that the other won’t be so easy to kill and, unfortunately, way too easy to fall for.” 

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To say that First Kill’s fans are baffled by the cancellation news, meanwhile, would be quite an understatement.

Reviews and reaction

First Kill, a show that didn’t come from any prior media nor (have) any major names attached to it, getting canceled as if it didn’t dominate Netflix’s Top 10 within its first month of release is upsetting,” one fan lamented on Twitter.

The critical response — in particular, the divergence of that response from the audience reaction — is interesting to note. First Kill has a 58% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes. Not good at all, obviously, but the stellar 90% audience score surely softens that blow.

This is apples and oranges, by the way, but we’re also seeing this same kind of spread more and more when it comes to Netflix’s originals. The streamer’s ridiculously expensive movie The Gray Man, for example? It’s got a 45% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 91% audience score. Yet that one has kicked off the creation of a Netflix movie franchise. Go figure.

closeup of two young women
(L to R) Gracie Dzienny as Elinor Fairmont and Sarah Catherine Hook as Juliette in the Netflix series “First Kill.” Image source: Netflix

At any rate, the big head-scratcher for some fans will be the impressive numbers that First Kill put up on Netflix’s own charts. You can check them out for yourself right here. On a worldwide basis, here’s how the show fared during its first three weeks of release:

  • Week of June 6-12: 30.3 million hours viewed
  • Week of June 13-19: 48.7 million hours viewed
  • Week of June 20-26: 18.5 million hours viewed

Obviously, that’s a huge falloff from week two to week three. Make of that what you will.

Andy Meek profile photo

Andy Meek is a reporter 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.