However, a spokesperson for the streaming platform insists that this perception isn’t… well, that it isn’t entirely accurate.
Speaking at the Paley International Council Summit, Global Head of TV Bela Bajaria and co-CEO Ted Sarandos explained that Netflix’s program renewal rate sits at around 67%, which is what the two claim to be the industry standard.
“We also do make a large number of first season shows, which sometimes feels that we have more first season cancellations but if you look at the renewal rate it’s really strong,” said Bajaria, as per HypeBeast’s report.
“I also think you have to look at The Crown, with season four launching now, Grace & Frankie and The Ranch, we’ve had long-running shows and we’re always going to have a mix that is great to be told in a limited-series form and shows that go on for multiple seasons.”
Of course, this doesn’t explain why so many of the streaming platform’s cancelled shows are written by and about women. Especially when said shows are beloved by critics and fans alike.
In a statement, Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch – the creators of the popular wrestling dramedy – explained that their show has become the latest casualty of Covid-19 after lockdown restrictions forced production to shut down earlier this year.
“Covid has killed actual humans. It’s a national tragedy and should be our focus. Covid also apparently took down our show,” they told Deadline.
Flahive and Mensch added: “Netflix has decided not to finish filming the final season of GLOW.
“We were handed the creative freedom to make a complicated comedy about women and tell their stories. And wrestle. And now that’s gone.”
They finished: “There’s a lot of shitty things happening in the world that are much bigger than this right now. But it still sucks that we don’t get to see these 15 women in a frame together again.
“We’ll miss our cast of weirdo clowns and our heroic crew. It was the best job.”
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A riot of hot pink leotards and 80s nostalgia, GLOW took us through the audition process for the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, as well as the fictionalisation of the characters involved.
And, boasting a brilliant team of female writers and a knockout cast of women at the top of their acting game (think Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Sydelle Noel, and Sunita Mani, to name just a few), GLOW pulled out all the stops to give fans everywhere an inspirational story of female empowerment.
Now, though, it’s all over. And, sadly, it’s not the only female-fronted TV show to get canned in 2020.
Far from it, in fact.
As reported on 2 October: So far this year, we’ve seen Netflix pull the plug on Teenage Bounty Hunters, Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, I Am Not OK With This, Marianne, and The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance.
And let’s not forget, too, that we lost The OA. As in, yes, the sci-fi show created by and starring Brit Marling. As in, yes, the sci-fi show which, when it was unceremoniously axed by Netflix after two seasons, incited intense fan outcry, a flashmob, and even a hunger strike.
We get it, of course: not every TV series can be expected to last forever. But these were all much-loved shows, not least of all because they boasted complex and multifaceted heroines – the kind which, sadly, you rarely see in mainstream television.
Perhaps more important than even this, though, is the fact that GLOW and co weren’t just well received by critics: they were popular with viewers, too, with dedicated fans who were desperate to see their favourite female characters’ stories through to the very end.
We can only hope that Netflix plans to fill the void with yet more brilliant shows led by women and girls. Or that, just maybe, they may change their minds on the fate of some of these series in the post-Covid world.
Because, as we’ve said before, you can’t be what you can’t see – and we, all of us, need to feel represented on screen.
Roll on a 2021 filled with a plethora of female-fronted shows, then, please.
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.