Just days after news broke that Netflix was canceling teen drama First Kill , the show’s showrunner has spoken out and has a few options for the streaming giant.
The teen drama, which debuted in the second week of June, got the ax on Tuesday (August 2) when Netflix revealed there would be no second season of the show. That cancellation came on the heels of some pretty scathing reviews, 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 reimagining of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It follows Juliette Fairmont, a vampire from a long line of vampires who can live in plain sight in Savannah, Georgia.
Approaching her 16th birthday, Juliette, who has spent her life thus far living off blood pills, discovers that the pills are losing their effectiveness and must face the prospect that it’s time to commit her first murder – which she doesn’t wants. to do.
Things are further complicated by the arrival of a new girl in town, Calliope Burns, with whom Juliet quickly falls in love. The problem is, Calliope’s family history is just as complicated as Juliette’s. She is a monster hunter who was raised by a family of monster hunters. And, as with the star-crossed lovers in Shakespeare’s original, there’s an awful lot of drama involved.
The cancellation of the show came as a surprise as it had garnered quite decent ratings, especially in its first few weeks. First Kill managed to score 30.3 million hours of viewing in its first three days and 48.8 million hours of viewing in its first full week, numbers that put it behind only Stranger Things and Peaky Blinders.
Now, speaking of Daily Beast (opens in new tab)Felicia D. Henderson, the showrunner of First Kill, criticized Netflix, particularly for the show’s lack of marketing.
He said: “The art for the initial marketing was beautiful. I think I expected it to be the beginning, and that the other equally exciting and important elements of the show – monsters vs. monster hunters, the battle between two powerful matriarchs, etc. would eventually be promoted. and that didn’t happen.”
Henderson’s comments echo what a a source close to the show previously told The Daily Beast (opens in new tab) that the supernatural roots of the show had been downplayed. Instead, all marketing focused on the intense love story between the two main characters, a decision they believed stopped it from reaching a wider audience.
The showrunner, who has worked on shows like Fringe and Gossip Girl in the past, was quite upbeat about the cancellation, saying: “When I got the call to say they didn’t renew the show because the completion rate wasn’t high. enough, of course, I was very disappointed. Who wouldn’t be the showrunner? They had told me a few weeks ago that they hoped the completion would be higher. I guess it didn’t.”
Analysis: Does Henderson make sense?
Henderson isn’t the only showrunner who feels Netflix executives have moved the goalposts in terms of the numbers needed to win another season.
Earlier in the year, when Netflix axed The Babysitters’ Club, host Rebecca Shukert sat down with Vulture (opens in new tab) to explain what had happened. He said the streaming giant doesn’t just care about how many people watch your 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 works for your show. They want people to watch it with a certain way and I want shows that people will watch that way – not shows that people want to watch their way.”
From what Henderson said, First Kill feels like another casualty of that culture. If you don’t explode in your first few days on the platform, the same way a show like The Lincoln Lawyer did, then you may have a hard time earning a renewal.
That may change when Netflix’s ad-supported tier comes in, when the streaming giant’s executives will have to evaluate a different type of audience. But, for now, it seems that for a show to really fly, it has to be very, very food-worthy.