Another day, another Netflix cancelation, and this one was easy to see coming a long ways off. Netflix has canceled Half Bad: The Bastard Son and The Devil Himself, the oddly named YA series about the son of a witch that arrived near the bottom of the top 10 list, and fell off quickly. It’s dead after a single season, and part of a longstanding tradition of Netflix absolutely murdering YA and teen-focused series after just a season or two.
The Bastard Son and The Devil Himself is also a prime example of quality not actually mattering much when it comes to making these decisions. The show has a quite high 93% score from critics and a 92% from audiences, indicating that despite some quality generalizations about YA series, this is actually a very good one. But in the end, Netflix wants views, and it did not deliver. Possibly in part because of its odd title that makes it sound like some sort of Rob Zombie horror film, but also probably due to not enough promotion from Netflix elevating a series that was really quite good.
When I say this is part of a long-running pattern, I’m not exaggerating. A few weeks ago when I speculated about whether Warrior Nun would be renewed for season 3, I cited Netflix’s long history of killing off YA and teen-centric shows before they had a chance to wrap their storylines in any meaningful capacity:
- First Kill (YA vampire drama)
- Cursed (YA fantasy drama)
- The Babysitter’s Club (highly rated preteen drama)
- Daybreak (YA post-apocalypse drama)
- Spinning Out (teenage ice skating drama)
- Insatiable (YA crime comedy/drama)
- The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (YA witch drama)
- I Am Not Okay With This (teenage superhero drama)
- The Society (YA sci-fi drama)
- Teenage Bounty Hunters (teenage crime comedy/drama)
- The Order (YA magician drama)
- Fate: The Winx Saga (YA fairy drama)
- The Imperfects (YA superhero drama)
- The Midnight Club (teen horror drama)
Now we can add The Bastard Son to this list (I also added The Midnight Club since I last wrote this). Only very, very few shows like this have managed to slip through Netflix’s executioner’s axe over the years. Shadow and Bone has lived to see season 2 at least. And I guess you could consider Stranger Things the most successful teen-centric show of all.
The problem with what Netflix keeps doing here is that it creates a graveyard of unfinished shows that are probably not worth watching for the most part since nearly all will end on cliffhangers or with their stories unfinished. It’s devaluing hundreds of hours of content, and it’s the reason many may not give a show like Bastard Son a chance in the first place, as there seems to be an 80% chance it’s going to get killed and end unsatisfyingly. Netflix needs to rethink some things here.