Sweet Christmas, what are they doing over there? Netflix announced today that they’ve taken the axe to Marvel’s Luke Cage after just two seasons. This leaves the streaming channel with just two currently running Marvel shows: Daredevil, which just premiered its third season, and Jessica Jones, which premieres its third next year. Netflix and Marvel released this joint statement this evening:
Unfortunately, Marvel’s Luke Cage will not return for a third season. Everyone at Marvel Television and Netflix is grateful to the dedicated showrunner, writers, cast and crew who brought Harlem’s Hero to life for the past two seasons, and to all the fans who have supported the series.”
The same thing happened to Iron Fist last week, and it was assumed by the press that Disney had a hand in it because they were now pushing all their effort into their own streaming service, not Netflix. During the Luke Cage announcement, Netflix took some time to clarify. Netflix COO Sarandos said, “Those shows are for us to cancel. And we’re super happy with their performance so far.” But not enough?
It isn’t just Marvel Netflix is getting rid of. They announced Orange is the New Black will be ending at Season 7, and that Fuller House will wrap up with Season 4. We already know House of Cards will end with its next season and Kimmy Schmidt previously announced it would end at Season 4 on its own terms. Netflix is losing just about every show that we’ve grown to associate with the stream.
Frankly, Netflix’s behavior over the past few months completely baffles us. Taking an axe to nearly all their culturally relevant programming would at least make a little sense if they had some newer big brands to lean back on, but they don’t. Netflix has accelerated the pace of their Original Show Premieres so quickly that barely anything has a chance to get a toehold into the zeitgeist before it’s swept off the main screen for something else.
We can only guess that this is intentional and emblematic of a shift in strategy. In this sense Netflix would apparently see their future not as a deliverer of relevant and buzzworthy television, but as a pipeline flowing an endless slurry of disposable, mindless shows that mean nothing. Which….isn’t good.