One of the greatest things about streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, Hulu and all the others is that they have helped many of us save space. Before streaming content became as easy as pressing a button, having a DVD collection that took up a room (or multiple rooms) in a house wasn't uncommon. The thought of having thousands upon thousands of titles at our fingertips seemed to be a futuristic fantasy that we'd never see in our lifetimes. Then Netflix came on the scene and with just its DVD rentals everything changed. It slowly rolled out it's streaming service and ultimately that became Netflix's main business.

Scores of people (myself included) trimmed back their DVD collections. The logic was that all those cumbersome DVD boxes and multi-disc collections were not needed if we could access them from a streaming service. Then we learned that streaming services (unless the content was made in-house) would lose titles due to licensing agreements. Sometimes, streaming services even take down their "original" content because that's what a contract stipulates. Then there's the unhappy moment when Netflix actually cancels one of their shows. It almost seems impossible that this service that has made such a business of finding the right algorithms to meet any and all content needs, could actually be wrong about something.

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Netflix is clearly the vanguard of all the streaming services. It literally created the streaming infrastructure that has allowed so many other services to thrive. It's why Disney+ can come on the scene and be the player that they are in half the time it took Netflix to achieve such benchmarks. None of this makes losing a show any easier. The pain of Netflix ending an original, especially when they seem to have so many hit shows Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, Mindhunter, etc., hurts in a way that speaks to our special relationship with the streamer.

However, Netflix has shown that it isn't too much different than the cable and network stations that it competes against. Since this is the case why couldn't a Netflix show that didn't work on their platform work somewhere else? This is the question we try to answer as we look at Cancelled Netflix Shows that could exist somewhere else.

October Faction

October Faction - Netflix

This horror, fantasy mystery show centering around two monster hunters was only on Netflix for one season. We got to see them battle many a worthy foe as they tried to lead normal lives. Nothing on shows like this is as easy as it seems and this was made even harder with all the odd people and things that our main characters, the Allen family, encounter. So much of Netflix programming relies on word of mouth to have the show break big. However, what if the October Faction had a chance to be on a terrestrial station like The CW? Maybe it would have been able to get this show into the public consciousness this way? With hits like Supernatural, The 100 and Riverdale, The CW has proven that it knows how to handle this kind of material. Maybe if the October Faction could live there for a bit it might find that it could thrive?

V Wars

V Wars - Netflix

Who doesn't love a good Sci-Fi/horror show? Well, apparently not enough people because Netflix axed this show after one season. This story is well written, timely, and just about everything else we expect from our content in 2020. The show follows Luther Swann (Ian Somerhalder). He discovers that a virus has been released by all the ice melting because of climate change. Suddenly, those that are infected become very similar to vampires and society starts warring with itself. Sound familiar? Making this even tougher for Swann is that his friend Michael Faye (Adrian Holmes) has the virus and he becomes the head bad guy. Okay, there are aspects to this show that are heavy-handed and obviously favoring a political angle. At the same time the story is interesting so why not have this thing come to an upstart streamer like Shudder? They're in the production game in a big way with shows like Creepshow, why not expand this and add V Wars to the line-up? There are a lot of ways this show could go and it could do a lot worse than Shudder taking the reins.

Insatiable

Insatiable - Netflix

Having made it through two seasons on Netflix, it seemed like Insatiable might go the distance for another season. This is until Netflix had other ideas and cancelled it. The story followed Patty Bladell (Debby Ryan) as a bullied teen who searches for justice with the help of lawyer/beauty pageant judge Bob Armstrong (Dallas Roberts). Seeing Patty's potential, Bob has dreams of making Patty a beauty pageant star. Alright, the plot for this show might sound a bit all over the place. Honestly, it probably wouldn't have gone for another 1 or 2 seasons at best. At the same time, Insatiable addressed a lot of issues, and it was a neat comedy/drama/thriller all rolled into one. Why couldn't Hulu pick up the slack and give it another life? Hulu is very eclectic in the choices it makes and it seems fitting to have a show like Insatiable on its roster. With shows likes Shrill, Little Fires Everywhere, and Ramy under its belt, Hulu has shown a deftness at corralling content that is hard to quantify.

Merry Happy Whatever

Merry Happy Whatever - Netflix

How in the world did this show fail? First of all this is a holiday show and those always seem to put a smile on user's faces. Secondly, given everything happening in the world (and Netflix certainly had no way of knowing the turns it would take), wouldn't it be great, if it had stayed on the air to show a different "Christmas" custom from a different culture every season? Merry Happy Whatever could literally have educated people on new cultures and probably been very successful in the process. Sadly, this thing only ran one season on Netflix BUT why not reinvigorate it somewhere like the Hallmark Channel? Doesn't that seem to be the perfect spot for a show like Merry Happy Whatever? Even the look of the show recalls other content that Hallmark has already done.

Spinning Out

Spinning Out - Netflix

Having being summarily iced (see what I did there?) by Netflix after one season, this show, set in the world of ice skating, drew the ire of its rabid fan base. Dealing with such issues as mental health, the aforementioned skating world, LGBT storylines, racism and other rich ideas, it seems odd that Netflix quickly cooled on Spinning Out. At present there are campaigns online to revive this show so why not bring it to Amazon Prime? Having already shown their ability to deal with sensitive subject matter like The Man in the High Castle, Transparent, and One Mississippi, why not let this streamer lace up with Spinning Out? Apparently, Netflix gave it the ole heave-ho because it wasn't doing the numbers. How their algorithms figured out that it was a sunken ship after a month is anybody's guess. Giving it another spin on Amazon Prime, especially in light of how hard fans came out in support of Spinning Out, might just be what this show needs.

AJ and the Queen

AJ and the Queen - Netflix

RuPaul's show about a drag queen named Ruby Red (RuPaul) who takes their act on the road, only to find that they have a street smart stowaway named AJ, seemed poised to go for another season. Then, after it got only so-so reviews, it was reported that Netflix wasn't going to let it have a sophomore season. This is a shame because AJ and the Queen could've really explored some interesting subject matter, especially during these woke/COVID-19 times. However, why not let Netflix's loss be another platform's gain? The best place it seems like this show could end up is HBO. First of all, that cable network used to be the place for daring content. While it's still producing pretty great stuff (Succession, anyone?), it doesn't have the deepest content bench. Also, HBO Max was supposed to put the cable giant ahead of the streaming pack but instead it seems to have bungled its own launch. With confusion about what differentiates HBO Max from HBO Now, HBO Go, or AT&T Now, AJ and the Queen might just be the show to set it apart.

Soundtrack

Soundtrack - Netflix

Yet, another Netflix property that only saw one season. This show followed the Fame formula in that it tracked the fictional lives of varied performers as they made their way in Los Angeles. The people involved lip-synced their musical numbers but that probably doesn't have anything to do with why this show was axed. Honestly, if Fox nabbed this show they could probably make it work. All they would have to do would be to merge some of their American Idol talent and they could probably turn this thing into a hit. As you can see, Netflix produces a lot of content. They spread a lot of money across a bunch of shows. With each show doing 10 episodes apiece that adds up quick. Fox creates a lot of shows too, but they already have deals in place that could assure Soundtrack might stand out a little more.

Messiah

Messiah - Netflix

Everything was set for Netflix's potentially controversial Messiah to break really big. It had a solid cast top-lined by Michelle Monaghan and Mehdi Dehbi. The story was also intriguing and the fact that it was told through multiple characters seemed to have set this Netflix series up for success. The story follows a man (Dehbi) who shows up in the Middle East and sudden gains a rabid, Christ-like following. He is hailed as the new messiah and from there is served up to elation and ridicule. The question the whole time is just who is the person? Unfortunately, we will never know the answer because, you guessed it, this show was taken off the air one season in. There seemed to be a bunch of factors at play. Messiah wasn't the break out hit it was supposed to be, and the cost of making an international show was also probably too much for Netflix to bare. So why not get it on AMC? With their ability to handle such material as Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Mad Men and The Walking Dead (just to name a few), it seems like they could really allow Messiah to rise again.

BoJack Horseman

BoJack Horseman - Netflix

Alright, it's hard not to love Netflix for bringing us this show (voiced by Will Arnett) for 6 seasons. At the same time, with The Simpsons dethroning shows like Lassie and Gunsmoke for the longest running TV show crown, why couldn't Netflix keep this Uber popular tale of a washed-up horse actor going? It seems that there were a few factors at play in its demise. Firstly, Bojack Horseman probably became cost prohibitive (the animation is awesome but it's also time consuming and not cheap). Secondly, having run longer than a lot of other Netflix properties, ratings had to have factored into this decision as well. Well, why does Bojack Horseman have to die? Couldn't it go to Adult Swim? They pioneered this type of content! Why not let Bojack Horseman gallop on over to a new stable and see what other kinds of magic can be made?

Marvel's Luke Cage

Marvel's Luke Cage - Netflix

In these crazy times the world needs more of Marvel's Luke Cage, right? This tale of a man with amazing strength and skin that doesn't get injured could really inspire a lot of people right now. Luke Cage is a leader and he stands for something bigger than this show. If it was cancelled back in 2018 because of supposed "creative differences" and an "inability to agree to terms for a third season" (according to The Hollywood Reporter), why not revive the whole thing under Disney+? That seems to be the quickest and simplest route to get this show back up and running. The streaming service from the Mouse House has proven to be quite a force. So much so that they stopped offering free trials because, well, it looks like they don't need to. Considering that we're in a global pandemic and every penny counts more than it ever has, that tells you all you to need to know about Disney+'s financial position.

Evan Jacobs at Movieweb
Evan Jacobs