In the increasingly cut-throat world of streaming TV, it seems that no show is safe: if it's not doing the numbers, it's not getting another season. Netflix is often criticised for its cancellations, with even much-loved shows getting the chop if the bean-counters don't like their figures, but it seems the curse is contagious: Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+ and Peacock are all cancelling popular shows too.
Let's start with Amazon. According to Deadline, it's just cancelled one of its flagship shows for 2022: Night Sky, the ambitious SF show whose first episode was beamed into outer space, isn't going to get a second season despite an impressive 81% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and a cast including legends such as Sissy Spacek and JK Simmons. The reason? Money. The series' high production costs weren't reflected in "a significant viewership impact". Good SF is expensive to make and Amazon has clearly decided that the returns weren't worth it.
Over at Peacock, its adaptation of the best-selling, award-winning fantasy trilogy The Green Bone Saga got cancelled before it was even made: the show, which was announced back in 2020, has now been cancelled after years in development. Author Fonda J. Lee posted the news to Twitter, adding "I have faith someone else will share the vision of the Kaul family onscreen."
Perhaps the most unexpected cancellation is over on Paramount, which has announced that Season 2 of its dark comedy-drama Why Women Kill will be its last. It's unexpected because just a few months ago Paramount announced that it had green-lit season 3; while critics weren't entirely in love with the show, it had garnered an impressive 91% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Paramount hasn't explained why it's changed its mind, but given that Paramount doesn't have a lot of original content compared to its rivals it's not something it'll have done on a whim.
The streaming market is weird right now: because competition is so fierce the stakes are really high and everything feels very short term. I do wonder if something like Breaking Bad, if it were made for a streaming service now, would have made it to the end of Season 1 let alone Season 5. I doubt it: the pilot was viewed by fewer than 1 million people when it first aired. According to Aaron Paul, who played Jesse, the only reason Breaking Bad made it to season 2 was because of the glowing critical reviews. I'm not sure any platform, except perhaps Apple TV+, is quite so patient in 2022.