Ranking Netflix Originals Most Popular Shows that were Canceled


Netflix has had many triumphs in the TV categories, having one of the best franchises for science fiction—namely Stranger Things and action-adventure jam-packed in the likes of Outerbanks. But regardless of their popularity, quite a few series have been unable to last as long or finish their stories. Most often or not, it’s because of popularity, but other reasons have also arisen. Here are ten series that couldn’t quite finish their run.

1. The Society (2019, 1 season)

Junior and senior high schoolers from Connecticut are expected to go on a fun camping trip with their class, but after a rainstorm forces them back home, they realize that the town’s adults are gone. The town has no WiFi connection, and worst of all, it appears that the road ends on either side with only forests that weren’t there before. The teens must work together cohesively, or else the hierarchy of their newfound world will collapse.

The Society was a solid series. It gave a modern take on “The Lord of the Flies” novel while incorporating teen drama and basic survival skills as topics of discussion. It was ordered for a second season. Nonetheless, despite the first season’s success, COVID-19 disrupted any chance for it to be filmed, leaving viewers on a cliffhanger with no way to guess the outcome.

2. The OA (2016-2019, 2 seasons)

A young woman, Prairie Johnson (Brit Marling), reappears after having vanished for seven years. However, that’s not the biggest shock. She is also no longer blind. Everyone, including the FBI and her parents, is eager to hear about what happened during her absence, but she won’t talk.

After two strong and mind-numbing seasons aired on Netflix, it’s hard to imagine that they would not renew it for a third season. But alas, The OA hadn’t garnered as much attention as they had hoped, so Netflix axed the show. They offered a wrap-up film to finish the series, but the creators were opposed to this idea, considering they couldn’t understand why The OA couldn’t just finish with a final season instead.

3. Sense8 (2015-2018, 2 seasons)

Eight strangers from around the world are connected. At first, it’s just a vision, but soon after, their thoughts and actions are intertwined. These eight individuals must find out why this is happening, not just because they are curious, but because a mysterious organization is hunting them down to destroy this ability.

Although the series has a promising premise and loyal fans worldwide, it could not sustain itself, considering each episode costs roughly $9 million. Because the series shoots on location around the world, the price could not be met with the continued idea.

4. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018-2020, 4 seasons)

In this adaptation of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) fights for and against the dark arts of witchcraft as a half-witch, half-mortal teenage girl. As she goes to school and falls in love with mere mortal boys and demons alike, Sabrina starts a whirlwind of trouble with the help of her aunts, Hilda (Lucy Davis) and Zelda (Miranda Otto).

With the drop in viewership and COVID-19 on the rise during season 5, there was no chance for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. At the same time, Riverdale, part of the same universe, was able to effectively finish its series on CW even though it had similar drops in viewership.

4. Santa Clarita Diet (2017-2019, 3 seasons)

Sheila (Drew Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant) live a simple, quiet life as realtors with their teenage daughter in Santa Clarita, California. But things take a quick turn for the worse when Sheila becomes undead, yet she’s never looked or felt better in her life. To stay “alive,” she must be well-fed… and that can only be human flesh.

Santa Clarita Diet was a successful series, with Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant entertaining fans to the extreme with their superb comedic timing. Yet, due to the “cost-plus” budget model, the series could not make the profit it rightfully deserved. The show’s production costs increased by 30% with each new season, and considering the talent and increased pay to the writers, actors, and the rest of the crew, the studio couldn’t sustain it.

6. I Am Not Okay With This (2020, 1 season)

Sydney (Sophia Lillis) tries to navigate high school with newfound superpowers. Regardless, with these powers, the only way to access them is if she becomes angry or embarrassed. And for a girl at that age, that tends to happen more often than not. Dealing with her sexuality and dysfunctional family, Sydney must figure out how to live her life without accidentally killing someone in the process.

Originally, I Am Not Okay With This was renewed for a second season, but COVID-19 impacted the cost of production. The showrunner, Jonathan Entwistle, had asked if he could recut the season 1 finale, considering it ended with a major cliffhanger, but Netflix denied this request.

7. Spinning Out (2020, 1 season)

Kat Baker (Kaya Scodelario) is a beautiful figure skater on her way to the big leagues with the Olympics, but being diagnosed with a serious mental illness stunted her growth. Struggling to balance family dynamics, love, and her ongoing challenges, will she be able to bounce back to the top?

Spinning Out received a mixed reception from critics but had an avid fanbase on social media. Despite the onslaught of love from fans, it suffered the chopping block, which Netflix easily snipped at.

8. Julie and the Phantoms (2020, 1 season)

Julie (Madison Reyes) is passionate about music and singing, but when she suffers a tragedy, she’s unable to do what she once loved. Her entire world changes when she stumbles upon three ghostly guys who had died twenty years prior. Together, the four become a band that no one saw coming.

Although widely popular in all respects, the series demographic wasn’t what the showrunner Kenny Ortega and Netflix had hoped for. This was targeted as a children’s TV show as it was based on a Brazilian series, Julie e os Fantasmas, which was also a children’s series. The costs and purposes of the show had to be scrapped. This is unfortunate, considering Ortega’s projects always leaned toward more family-like storytelling than solely being for children, considering his past projects like High School Musical garnered way more diverse audiences.

9. Grand Army (2020, 1 season)

Five various students from the largest public school in Brooklyn embark on separate journeys that deal with the hard truths of our world. Dealing with racism, sexism, SA, homophobia, and generational poverty, the series had heavy hitters when it came to topical conversations. Based on the play Slut: The Play, it extends the narrative to many different conversations.

Although it received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike, the viewership could not save Grand Army. Many people compared it to Euphoria, yet argued that Grand Army is a bit more realistic as students in the series actually take school seriously. But regardless of it being more realistic, it couldn’t save the show.

10. Shadow & Bone (2021-2023, 2 seasons)

Upon the revelation of a young soldier, Alina (Jessie Mei Li), powers, she must use these abilities as a Grisha that can manipulate matter and energy to fight against the sinister forces that wish to end her and everyone else in this world. Based on Shadow & Bone and Six of Crows, the series was a promising franchise.

Nevertheless, despite the first season’s success, the second season’s viewership tanked in all the worst ways. What was thought to be another Stranger Things in the making of a long-haul series became a failed young adult series that couldn’t get the footing it once desired.

Netflix still has many more shows that were wrongly canceled, but these are by far the saddest offenses (and some should have been canceled that were able to finish their stories.)