A few days after news broke that Netflix had canceled teen drama First Kill, the show’s showrunner has spoken out and has a few words for the streaming giant.
The teen drama, which premiered in the second week of June, was scrapped on Tuesday (August 2) when Netflix revealed there would be no second season of the show. This cancellation came on the back of some pretty scathing criticism, even though the Netflix series seemed to resonate with audiences.
Based on the short story of the same name by author VE Schwab, First Kill is a retelling of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It follows Juliette Fairmont, a vampire from a long dynasty of vampires who are able to live in plain sight in Savannah, Georgia.
Approaching her 16th birthday, Juliette, who has spent her life until now living on blood pills, discovers that the pills are losing their effectiveness and she must face the prospect that it is time to make her first kill – something that she doesn’t want to.
Things get even more complicated with the arrival of a new girl in town, Calliope Burns, with whom Juliette quickly falls in love. The problem is, Calliope’s family history is just as complicated as Juliette’s. She is a monster hunter raised by a family of monster hunters. And, as with the hapless lovers in Shakespeare’s original, there’s plenty of drama.
The show’s cancellation came as a surprise as it racked up pretty decent view numbers, especially in the first few weeks. First Kill managed to score 30.3 million hours viewed in its first three days and 48.8 million hours viewed in its first full week, numbers that put it only behind Stranger Things and Peaky Blinders.
Now, talking to Daily Beast (opens in new tab)Felicia D. Henderson, showrunner of First Kill, criticized Netflix, particularly for the show’s lack of marketing.
She said, “The art for the early marketing was beautiful. I think I was hoping it was the beginning and that the other equally compelling and important elements of the show – monsters versus monster hunters, the battle between two powerful matriarchs, etc – would eventually get promoted. , and that did not happen.”
Henderson’s comments echo what a A source close to the show had previously told The Daily Beast (opens in new tab) that the show’s supernatural roots were downplayed. Instead, all marketing focused on the intense love story between the two main characters, a decision they believed prevented it from reaching a wider audience.
The showrunner, who has starred on shows like Fringe and Gossip Girl in the past, was quite optimistic about the cancellation, saying, “When I got the call to tell me they weren’t renewing the show because the completion rate wasn’t high enough, Of course, I was very disappointed. Which showrunner wouldn’t? I was told a few weeks ago that they expected the conclusion to be higher. I don’t think so.
Analysis: Is Henderson right?
Henderson isn’t the only showrunner to feel that Netflix executives have shifted targets in terms of the numbers needed to win another season.
Earlier this year, when Netflix shut down The Babysitters’ Club, showrunner Rebecca Shukert sat down with Vulture (opens in new tab) to explain what had happened. She said the streaming giant doesn’t just care about how many people watch its show, but how they do it.
At the time, Shukert said, “Completion rates are a big deal. At Netflix, it’s more about whether your show works on the platform than whether the platform is working for your show. way, and they want shows that people watch that way – not shows that people want to watch their way.”
From what Henderson said, First Kill feels more like a victim of that culture. Unless you blow up your early days on the platform, similar to a show like The Lincoln Lawyer, then you might struggle to earn a renewal.
That could change once it reaches Netflix’s ad-supported level, which is when the streaming giant’s executives will have to assess a different type of audience. But for now, it seems that for a show to really fly, it needs to be very, very binge-worthy.