The Netflix graveyard of canceled shows

'Inside Job' is the latest of the streaming service's series to get the axe. PLUS: A new trailer for 'Quantumania,' Paramount+ fires 'Workaholics' movie, and did Meyers know Strong was leaving 'SNL'?

The Netflix graveyard of canceled shows
An illustration of canceled Netflix shows. / Popculturology illustration/iStock

While scrolling through Twitter the other day (on my classic chronological feed, not the bizarro “For You” algorithmic feed Elon Musk is trying to push on us now), a tweet from Image Comics’ Michael Busuttil caught my attention.

Netflix has become synonymous with cancelations. Maybe not at the recent cutthroat level of Warner Bros. Discovery with HBO Max, but the streamer is prolific in its own right when it comes to not just canceling shows but canceling shows that have barely gotten off the ground. (In some cases, Netflix has even canceled shows that it already renewed.)

Odds are you have a favorite Netflix show that got canceled after a single season. Teenage Bounty Hunters. The Baby-Sitters Club. 1899.

Maddie Phillips and Anjelica Bette Fellini in Teenage Bounty Hunters. / Netflix

Inside Job, a show that had only just released the second half of its first season and had already been renewed for a second season, wound up getting canceled this week.

“I’m heartbroken to confirm that Netflix has decided to cancel Season 2 of Inside Job,” series creator Shion Takeuchi tweeted over the weekend. “Over the years, these characters have become real people to me, and I am devastated not to be able to watch them grow up. Reagan and Brett deserved to get their ending and finally find happiness. And I would have loved to been able to share what was in store with you all to everyone who watched.”

Back to Busuttil’s tweet and the tweet that it quote-tweeted. (No, I have no idea who Happy Moo Year is.) When you think of Netflix, what do you think of?

Stranger Things?

Maybe the streamer’s library of standup specials?

Maybe Ozark, but that show is done — and good luck finding people who recommend the final season.

As Busuttil points out, Netflix is littered with single-season shows, many of them with the unfulfilled hook of future seasons. With a million shows to watch across a dozen streaming services, why invest your time in a series that Netflix is likely to cancel?

We’re a long way from the glory days of Netflix’s exclusive programming. House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black — there was a time when Netflix gave its shows season after season after season, as if they were an NBC drama set in Chicago. (Guys, did you know that there’s an honest-to-God real show on Fox called Alert: Missing Persons Unit? It’s only in its first season, but I’m sure we’ll still be seeing commercials for it during NFL games in 2032.)

Networks have always canceled shows. This isn’t new. And it isn’t specific to the streaming services. (Remember when ABC ran ads asking viewers to save Happy Endings — even though ABC was the only thing that posed a danger to Happy Endings?) But Netflix’s passion for killing shows — especially if they have a woman or POC as the lead — is unparalleled.

When Happy Endings was canceled by ABC, there was a ton of hope that Sony would find a new network or streamer for the series. It should’ve been a no-brainer (as was not canceling the show). Why start from scratch with an unknown series when you already knew that Happy Endings had an audience of any level? At some point for these networks and streamers, isn’t the constant cancel/greenlight churn more expensive than letting an established show (even a show with a single season) run for a few more seasons?

A promo for Inside Job. / Netflix

It’s even worse if you’re an animated show like Inside Out. Not only do you have Netflix’s single-season curse working against you, there’s the whole “we fired our animation executives and canceled a ton of animated projects” problem. (I can’t forgive the streamer for killing its adaption of Jeff Smith’s Bone graphic novel series. Someday we’ll get the adaption of Bone that the series deserves.)

As Netflix gets ready to begin its post-Stranger Things future, what is the streamer doing to encourage subscribers to stick around? To make subscribers trust that the show they invest a weekend in will actually return for its promised second season?

The streaming service needs to figure that out before the subscribers are the ones doing the canceling.

Happy Thursday, and thanks for reading Popculturology. I love writing about pop culture, and I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter. If you do, please subscribe. It’s the easiest way to make sure you get every edition of Popculturology. Tapping the ♥️ at the bottom of each post also helps the newsletter. Now let’s get to the news.

The News
Adam DeVine, Blake Anderson and Anders Holm in Workaholics. / Comedy Central

‘Deeply butt hurt about this decision’

Speaking of canceled projects, add the Workaholics movie to the pile of castaways during the streaming era.

“Welp, Paramount+ decided to cancel the Workaholics movie,” Adam DeVine revealed on Instagram. “Obviously, this news is the loosest butthole. We were supposed to begin filming in 5 weeks! P+ told us we don't fit their new ‘global’ strategy … We are deeply butt hurt about this decision because we were so excited to bring the weird one last time. I'm butt hurt that I don't get to work with my best friends again. I'm butt hurt for the fans, and l'm butt hurt for our loyal crew, and other cast members who are now going to have to scramble to find new jobs.”

I probably didn’t need to include that entire quote, but this is probably a record for the number of times “butt hurt” has been part of a statement like this.

Here’s what Vulture had to say about the Workaholics movie and its potential when they first reported on it in February 2021:

The original cast of Workaholics are set to return for a movie about “what it’s like to work through the pandemic,” [MTV Entertainment Group president Chris McCarthy] said. The film is being made with an eye toward a sequel series to the original. “You may begin to see the seeding of a next generation of cast for what a new Workaholics could look like,” the exec added.

There’s still a chance that the Workaholics movie could find a new home.

“We are out to other streamers, and hopefully we will get to make this insanely fun movie somewhere else,” DeVine added in his post.

Cecily Strong and Seth Meyers on Weekend Update during an episode of Saturday Night Live. / NBC

Seth Meyers knew Cecily Strong was leaving SNL

News that Cecily Strong was leaving Saturday Night Live came as a shocker. The announcement was made just hours before the show’s Christmas episode. Strong later said that she “didn't want the extra pressure” that would’ve come with making the announcement sooner.

It turns out one key member of the SNL alumni community did know about Strong’s imminent departure.

“I will admit that I was aware she was going to push off that night,” Seth Meyers told Andy Cohen during a recent What What Happens Live segment.

Meyers and Strong are obviously close friends, so it’s no surprise that the Late Night host was aware of the latter’s decision to leave SNL.

That said, it’s interesting to see Meyers continue to hold an elder statesman role in this universe. I don’t believe for a second that SNL will end when Lorne Michaels eventually steps down, which means someone will have to fill his role. Who better than the guy who once held the record for longest Weekend Update tenure and still works under Michaels (with several former and current SNL staffers) in the same building?

William H. Macy joins Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

First off, I love these Planet of the Apes titles. The deeper we go into a series, the better they get. War for the Planet of the Apes. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. And, yes, I’m considering the upcoming installment part of the same series as the Andy Serkis trilogy. Nothing I’ve heard or read makes me think that the Disney-owned 20th Century Studios is hard rebooting the franchise.

Anyways, we got a new bit of casting news for Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes on Wednesday, with Deadline reporting that William H. Macy had signed on for an unknown role.

Macy joins Owen Teague, Freya Allan, Peter Macon, Eka Darville and Kevin Durand. The Maze Runner trilogy director Wes Ball is helming the film.

Abbott Elementary renewed for a third season

Abbott Elementary, which is probably the only network show besides SNL that I watch, has been renewed for a third season. Creator/star Quinta Brunson made the announcement on Wednesday.

Abbott Elementary is currently in the middle of its second season.

‘Absolute madness’ for Coppola’s Megalopolis

Did you know that the Coppola wine you see in (and have probably purchased from) the grocery store was legitimately Francis Ford Coppola’s winery?

Or, it was until the director sold the winery in 2021 and then decided to pour the proceeds into his passion project: Megalopolis.

Coppola began plotting Megalopolis in the 1980s, and now he was actually going to make the film, casting Adam Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Jon Voight, Talia Shire, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Schwartzman and Dustin Hoffman.

Things don’t seem to be going well for Coppola and Megalopolis, according to a new story from The Hollywood Reporter.

Francis Ford Coppola’s latest movie, the sci-fi-tinged Megalopolis, has descended into chaos, according to multiple sources. The movie, currently halfway through shooting in Atlanta, has in the last week lost key creative talent including its production designer and supervising art director. That’s on top of losing the entire visual effects team in the first part of December.

That doesn’t sound good.

The director is now in too deep, trying to switch from a StageCraft-esque tech (what they use on The Mandalorian) to more traditional special effects.

“[Coppola] is going to spend a lot more money than he intended,” a source told THR. “You can imagine how much he’s already got invested. It would be a very bitter pill not to finish it.”

Sounds like Coppola could use a drink. If only he still had a winery.

Danai Gurira and Andrew Lincoln in The Walked Dead. / AMC

They’re still making more Walking Dead shows

Remember when The Walking Dead was the biggest show on TV? It’s been a long time since the show held that place in our pop culture universe, but AMC is still pumping out spinoffs. The network offered new information on a few of those spinoffs this week.

“It’s a truly exciting year for The Walking Dead Universe, as we conclude an epic journey on Fear the Walking Dead, which became one of the most successful shows in the history of cable television,” Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios at AMC Networks said in a statement. “And now we are set to bring forth the next iteration of the franchise — two new and anticipated series featuring the beloved characters of Maggie, Negan and Daryl. Along with that we begin production on the next chapter in Rick and Michonne’s unforgettable love story, which we look forward to sharing next year.”

  • Fear the Walking Dead: The original Walking Dead spinoff will begin its final run on May 14.

  • The Walking Dead: Dead City: The spinoff starring Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan will premiere in June. The series will follow Maggie and Negan as they travel “ into a post-apocalyptic Manhattan long ago cut off from the mainland. The crumbling city is filled with the dead and denizens who have made New York City their own world full of anarchy, danger, beauty, and terror.”

  • The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon: The spinoff starring Norman Reedus will premiere later this year. The series follows Daryl after he finds himself “in France and struggles to piece together how he got there and why. The series tracks his journey across a broken but resilient France as he hopes to find a way back home.”

  • Untitled Rick and Michonne series: The spinoff starring Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira will go into production this year and premiere in 2024.

Sydney Sweeney, Glenn Powell teaming up for R-rated romcom from Easy A director

It’s not easy out there for R-rated comedies. Unless you’re a superhero movie, an Avatar sequel or a Tom Cruise film, it’s been hard to find box office success.

Easy A director Will Gluck will try to break that curse with his next project, an untitled romcom that is set to star Euphoria’s Sydney Sweeney and Top Gun: Maverick’s Glenn Powell (maybe the Cruise connection will help). Deadline broke the news on Wednesday.

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Trailer Watch
Jonathan Majors in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. / Marvel Studios

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

We’re living in a world where while DC Studios is still trying to figure out how to make a Superman film, Marvel Studios is not only on its third Ant-Man film, but they’ve made the film the centerpiece of the next phase of their cinematic universe.

A new trailer for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania debuted on Monday, and Kang is coming.

There’s been some chatter online over whether Scott Lang will die in this film. I think he’s going to die. And maybe die again. And again. It won’t be the end of Ant-Man, though, since we’re dealing with the multiverse.

Ant-Man the Wasp: Quantumania opens on Feb. 17.


I’m a huge fan of Harley Quinn, so I’m optimistic that Velma, HBO Max’s reimagining of the Scooby Doo gang, will be another hit in the same vein.

While Scooby himself is missing from this series, Velma boasts an impressive voice cast that includes Mindy Kaling (executive producing too), Constance Wu, Sam Richardson and Glenn Howerton.

Velma premieres today.

Lucky Hank

Bob Odenkirk begins the post-Better Call Saul phase of his career with Lucky Hank. The AMC show, formerly called Straight Man, is based on a book by Richard Russo. From Amazon, here’s the synopsis for that book:

William Henry Devereaux, Jr., is the reluctant chairman of the English department of a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt. Devereaux's reluctance is partly rooted in his character — he is a born anarchist — and partly in the fact that his department is more savagely divided than the Balkans.

In the course of a single week, Devereaux will have his nose mangled by an angry colleague, imagine his wife is having an affair with his dean, wonder if a curvaceous adjunct is trying to seduce him with peach pits, and threaten to execute a goose on local television. All this while coming to terms with his philandering father, the dereliction of his youthful promise, and the ominous failure of certain vital body functions.

Lucky Hank will also star Mireille Enos, Diedrich Bader, Sara Amini, Cedric Yarbrough and Suzanne Cryer.

Lucky Hank premieres on March 19.

A scene from the Bob’s Burgers episode “Cheaty Cheaty Bang Bang.” / Fox

Bob’s Burgers

I didn’t have a chance to watch much in the way of new shows and movies the past few days. (Too much YouTube and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia rewatching.) I did catch the newest episode of Bob’s Burgers. The dream/hallucination manifestation of Accountability Billy is one of my favorite recent characters, reminding me a lot of the various forms of Kuchi Kopi that Bob and Louise have dealt with over the years.

The Links

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Odds and Ends

Titanic returning to theaters for its 25th anniversary

I’ve been trying to figure out what movie could stand in the way of Avatar: The Way of Water winning every weekend at the box office until Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania hits theaters, and it looks like the likely film that can stop another film by James Cameron … is a James Cameron film.

Paramount Pictures announced on Tuesday that Titanic will return to theaters on Feb. 10 to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The film, which was once the all-time box office champ, currently has a worldwide haul that stands at just over $2.2 billion. There’s roughly half a billion between Titanic and the next film in the rankings, Avengers: Endgame, so this isn’t a play by Paramount to recapture the crown.

Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Holt and Mark Mylod break down a scene from The Menu

The more time I’ve had to think about The Menu, the more I realize how much I enjoyed it. I can’t believe how well I timed my watch of the movie to the news that Noma was closing too.

“This movie is absolute insanity, and I love it so much,” a friend of mine who owns a restaurant texted me after jumping into his own The Menu viewing.

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