The showrunner of the Netflix-canceled adolescent drama First Kill has come out and had some choice words to say about the streaming behemoth in the days following the cancellation news.
The teen drama first aired on Netflix in the second week of June, just before it was announced that there would be no second season. Even though the Netflix series appeared to be popular with viewers, it was cancelled as a result of some very negative reviews.
Romeo and Juliet have been reimagined in the short story First Kill by author V. E. Schwab, which is based on the same short narrative. It centres on Juliette Fairmont, a member of a long-running vampire dynasty who can dwell in Savannah, Georgia, undetected.
Nearing her 16th birthday, Juliette, who has survived only on blood pills, learns that they are no longer as effective as they once were. She is then faced with the possibility of having to commit her first murder, something she does not want to do.
Calliope Burns, a new girl in town who Juliette falls in love with right away, further complicates matters. But Calliope’s family background is equally as convoluted as Juliette’s, which is problematic. She was raised by a family of monster hunters as a monster hunter. There is also a great deal of drama, much like with the star-crossed lovers in Shakespeare’s original.
The cancellation of the show surprised everyone because it had garnered respectable watching numbers, particularly in its first several weeks. First Kill came in third behind Peaky Blinders and Stranger Things with 30.3 million hours seen in its first three days and 48.8 million hours watched in its first full week.
Presently, First Kill’s showrunner Felicia D. Henderson has attacked Netflix, specifically for the lack of marketing for the programme, in an interview with the Daily Beast.
“The art for the original promotion was amazing,” she said. I believe I anticipated it to be the start and that the other equally intriguing and significant aspects of the programme, such as the conflict between two strong matriarchs and monsters vs. monster hunters, would gradually be highlighted, but that didn’t happen.
Henderson’s remarks support what a show insider earlier said to The Daily Beast(opens in new tab), namely that the program’s supernatural beginnings had been downplayed. They claimed this choice prevented it from reaching a larger audience because all of the marketing concentrated on the passionate love narrative between the two main characters.
The showrunner, who has previously worked on programmes including Fringe and Gossip Girl, was surprisingly upbeat about the cancellation, saying: “Of course, I was quite sad when I received the phone to inform me they weren’t renewing the show because the completion rate wasn’t high enough. Why wouldn’t a showrunner be? They were expecting for a greater completion rate, I was informed a couple of weeks ago. It apparently didn’t.
Does Henderson have a point, or not?
In terms of the statistics necessary to secure a second season, Netflix’s bosses, in the opinion of Henderson and other showrunners, have shifted the goalposts.
When The Babysitters’ Club was cancelled by Netflix earlier this year, showrunner Rebecca Shukert sat down with Vulture to discuss the situation. She said that the streaming behemoth is more interested in how viewers engage with your programme than in how many people do so.
Shukert stated at the time: “Rates of completion are important. At Netflix, it matters less if the platform supports your show than if your show works on it. They don’t want people to watch it their own way; they want them to watch it a specific manner, and they create things that people will watch that way.”
First Kill feels like another victim of that society based on what Henderson has revealed. You could find it difficult to get a renewal unless your first few days on the platform burst like a programme like The Lincoln Lawyer did.
When Netflix’s ad-supported tier launches, this might alter since the company’s management will have to evaluate a different kind of viewership. But for now, it appears like a show needs to be really, extremely binge-worthy in order to truly take off.