IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE NOW, but when The Office first debuted on NBC in the United States in 2005, both critics and viewers were critical of the show. It was lambasted for being unoriginal, unfunny, and a terrible rip-off of the British version. On the other hand, Netflix has decided to maintain the show. The Office US began winning honors in season two and continued to do so for the next nine seasons, indicating that it was the right option.
In the age of streaming, though, many TV shows aren’t afforded the same courtesy or allowed to prove their worth. Netflix Originals, on average, only survive two seasons before being canceled, according to research from media analytics firm Ampere Analysis.
Following Sense8, The OA, and Luke Cage, Netflix adds Altered Carbon to the increasing list of shows that had been canceled after only two seasons last month. The series was subsequently subjected to the now-customary enraged fan movement to keep it from dying too soon.
Aside from the one-off Sense8 movie finale, which was commissioned after an outpouring of fan support, many attempts to resuscitate a Netflix Original have failed miserably. The network’s decision to cancel a show is usually final—just ask #SaveTheOA. Although it is upsetting for viewers when a show is canceled, Netflix’s decision is based on data.
Netflix does not release ratings in the same way that traditional television networks do, but it has been widely reported that the company is now deciding whether to renew or cancel its videos based on a viewership-versus-cost-of-renewal review process, which determines whether the cost of producing another season of a show is directly proportional to the number of viewers who watch it.
‘The most essential thing for us to think about is whether we’re getting enough viewers to justify the cost of the series,’ says the executive producer. During the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in 2018, Netflix’s vice president of original content, Cindy Holland, said.