Netflix’s Everything Sucks, Amazon’s Cancellations Prove It’s a New Era for Streaming Television
Streaming services are getting choosier about which shows they renew.
By Scott Patrick Green/Courtesy of Netflix.
On Friday evening, Netflix announced that it would not be renewing its ’90s-set school comedy Everything Sucks after just one season, and Amazon almost simultaneously revealed that Mozart in the Jungle, which had run for four seasons, would not be returning for an encore. The axing of these two shows, even as both companies move forward with bigger-budget and splashier content, proves the landscape has changed significantly from just a few years ago, when streaming giants would use a seemingly endless pile of money and keep shows on the air forever.
Mozart in the Jungle and Everything Sucks don’t have much in common—one is about the drama and Machiavellian politics of musicians in the New York Symphony, and the other is about two groups of high school students colliding in 1996 Oregon and was praised for its LGBT representation as it attracted a small but vocal following. While neither service releases viewership numbers to the public (unless it’s to crow about how many hours of Adam Sandler movies people have streamed on Netflix (too many)) it’s clear that shows need to make cases for themselves early on, even if, like Mozart in the Jungle, they’ve won awards, or, like Everything Sucks, have generated a quite a lot of buzz online. Compared to Netflix’s Stranger Things, which was an instant hit not even 24 hours after its first season had been released, and Amazon’s Transparent, which was an Emmys darling before the sexual misconduct scandal involving star Jeffrey Tambor, the smaller shows just aren’t cutting it anymore.
Both Netflix and Amazon can afford to throw money at shows like this—Netflix is pouring an even greater amount of money into high-profile films, and their accompanying awards campaigns, while Amazon has invested massive in an upcoming Lord of the Rings series. For Amazon, at least, the move is, as The Hollywood Reporter notes, “in line with [new Amazon chief Jennifer Salke’s] directive to shift away from niche indie projects and deliver broader, big-budget swings in an attempt to land the next Game of Thrones.” Mozart in the Jungle, beloved as it might have been by its audience, just wasn’t going to get there.