A Trail of Broken Hearts and Canceled Favorites Prove That Netflix Doesn’t Care What Fantasy Fans Want

Distracted boyfriend - Netflix

Photo via Netflix

We didn’t need Netflix to cancel Lockwood & Co. to confirm the streamer’s downturn.

Its been circling the drain for a few years now, but the last few months have seen the tides of public favor turn decidedly against the platform. Once the premiere streaming service, Netflix has since fallen out of favor — and the culprit behind its downfall is staring us right in the face. The blame for the once-dominant streamer’s demise falls at its own feet, after years of ignoring the same people that kept it afloat.

I’m not saying that fans should have some massive sway in the decisions of huge, multi-million dollar companies, but ignoring the demands of your own subscribers isn’t a great business strategy. This is exemplified in Netflix’s continued decline, after putting its own profits above the actual content it produces one too many times.

Once, long before the days of endless, brutal cancellations, Netflix was considered a haven. Shows with niche fanbases or those that lost the backing of former services often landed on Netflix, where the platform breathed fresh life into them, and gave fans a few more seasons of content to enjoy. As time marched forward, however, Netflix abandoned its roots as a savior, and instead shifted focus to its bottom line. Every decision since has seen its subscribers losing exponential faith in the streamer, as they recognize just how little Netflix cares about the people who pay to use it.

lockwood and co
Photo via Netflix

The cancellation of Lockwood & Co. is just the latest example. The series arrived on Netflix earlier this year to widespread viewer interest and soon became one of the platform’s biggest shows. It worked its way up to the global top 10 and stayed there for a full three weeks, but even that wasn’t enough to save it from Netflix’s ever-swinging ax.

This, and Netflix’s treatment of several other shows underlines something very clearly: Netflix doesn’t care what its subscribers want. If it’s not profitable enough to satisfy the big-wigs, it doesn’t matter how hard fans fight. Time is ticking for a number of still-pending fantasy shows, but their fates are likely already sealed. Other shows with far less of a fan following will return to the streamer for second, third, or fifth seasons, but massively-popular shows like Lockwood & Co. or Warrior Nun? They didn’t have the “viewing numbers” to survive Netflix’s constant purges.

So, as the Shadow and Bone fanbase rallies the troops ahead of a possible renewal — but a likely disappointment — I can’t help but think of how many times the platform has shown us its lack of concern over our actual desires. Three examples come to mind, all of them fantasy, and only one with a future on the streamer.

warrior nun
Photo via Netflix

The first of these is fittingly Lockwood & Co., considering it’s the show that inspired all this renewed discourse. As noted above, the series quickly became a subscriber favorite over on Netflix, and remained among the streamer’s top-viewed shows for weeks on end. It’s hard to say exactly what benchmark the show needed to hit, given Netflix’s notoriously vague reporting on its numbers, but it feels safe to say that — in comparison to shows like Emily in Paris, which did manage to cinch a renewal — it deserved a shot at a season 2. Particularly considering the large gap between the two shows’ viewer approval, which sits at 47 percent for Emily in Paris, according to Rotten Tomatoes, and 92 percent for Lockwood & Co. If Netflix was looking for its subscribers to make their voices heard, viewers obliged, but the streamer didn’t listen.

Which is by no means a new trend. Let’s look at our next example for yet more evidence of Netflix’s utter dismissal of its own user base’s desires. Warrior Nun, yet another fan-favorite fantasy offering, was cancelled late last year to the dismay of its passionate viewer base. This same viewer base responded quickly, and vigorously, to the news of Warrior Nun‘s demise, and set to organizing a massive campaign to see the show return. For months, impassioned Halo Bearers took to the streets, bought up billboards, and drenched the web with widespread demands to see the show return for a third season.

Nearly six months in, the campaign has made countless headlines, ushered in tens of thousands of signatures on petitions, and accomplished exactly nothing. Netflix is turning a carefully blind eye on that large, rowdy fanbase, with little concern for its requests.

The there’s The Witcher, my final example. The show remains popular, and — unlike Warrior Nun and Lockwood & Co. — has yet to be canceled by Netflix. But it’s still an excellent example of Netflix’s lack of concern over whether or not it’s actually fulfilling subscriber wants.

Following the very, very unpopular decision to recast the main character of the series, The Witcher fans took to the web to demand the service reconsider. Not only is it a bold move to recast a lead character, but Henry Cavill was near-universally popular in his role as the White Wolf. Ditching Cavill was unpopular all on its own — and prompted yet another petition that Netflix ignored — but to retain his character, played by a new actor? That goes beyond bold, and steps into fool’s territory. Why on Earth — particularly in the wake of fan concerns — would Netflix do such a thing?

There only seems to be one answer: Because it simply doesn’t care.

About the author

Nahila Bonfiglio

Nahila Bonfiglio

Nahila carefully obsesses over all things geekdom and gaming, bringing her embarrassingly expansive expertise to the team at We Got This Covered. She is a Staff Writer and occasional Editor with a focus on comics, video games, and most importantly ‘Lord of the Rings,’ putting her Bachelors from the University of Texas at Austin to good use. Her work has been featured alongside the greats at NPR, the Daily Dot, and Nautilus Magazine.

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