The words “Netflix” and “cancel” have been appearing quite a bit together recently. First, Netflix cancelled their original series The Get Down in May. Baz Luhrmann’s stylized hip-hop history series was plagued by production delays and a runaway budget, causing Netflix to call it quits after just one season. Days later, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings appeared on CNBC and stated he would like to see a “higher cancel rate overall” when it comes to his company’s original series. Hastings must have gotten his wish, because Netflix announced today that it is cancelling Sense8 after just two seasons.
Sense8 is the brainchild of the Wachowskis, the siblings behind The Matrix franchise and Cloud Atlas. Sense8 is a sci-fi thriller following eight total strangers from around the world who find themselves suddenly telepathically linked with one another. As the eight begin to seek answers for their mysterious and newfound power, shadowy organizations and figures begin hunting them down. The series was expensive and troublesome to shoot, and there were frequent rumors of on-set fights among actors and crew. The series also failed to resonate with audiences as much as some of Netflix’s other sci-fi offerings like Stranger Things or The OA.
In a rather terse statement, Cindy Holland, VP of Netflix original content, says despite the troubles Sense8 encountered, the company is proud of the two seasons they managed to produce:
After 23 episodes, 16 cities and 13 countries, the story of the Sense8 cluster is coming to an end. It is everything we and the fans dreamed it would be: bold, emotional, stunning, kick ass, and outright unforgettable. Never has there been a more truly global show with an equally diverse and international cast and crew, which is only mirrored by the connected community of deeply passionate fans all around the world.
Already, some outlets are wondering if this recent spree of cancellations means there is trouble behind the scenes at Netflix. The company has been spending enormous amounts of money on original productions lately, to varying degrees of success. Several recent expensive productions were not well-received by audiences or critics alike. Has Netflix grown too fast and is now cutting back to remain focused?