Netflix — the largest online streaming provider — has cornered the market on original content. Thanks to its monthly subscription (which was hiked up this past month, losing the service almost 500,000 subscribers), Netflix can afford to pump money into new ideas and fresh talent. Shows such as Narcos, Orange Is The New Black, House of Cards, Daredevil and Jessica Jones only exist on Netflix because they're risks for the networks — but in a world where ratings are no longer everything, Netflix is free to do what it wants.
Not only this, but Netflix has also been able to take some of the most beloved TV shows and bring them back to life, effectively flipping the bird at the networks, who no longer have a say in what airs based on what does and doesn't make them money. Canceled TV shows are prime real estate for streaming sites, but Netflix did it first.
A Winning Formula
Netflix has reaped the benefits of resurrecting canceled TV shows such as Arrested Development and Fuller House. And while the ratings on the site vary, the viewing figures for each are high — reports indicated that Fuller House achieved an average of 14 million views per episode over 35 days after it aired. When you're competing with shows such as Game of Thrones on HBO, The Walking Dead on AMC and The Big Bang Theory on CBS, this is a pretty solid figure for a show that ended in 1995.
But is it really about the viewing figures? Not really. It's about the fact that Netflix is offering fan favorites a second chance at life. Star Wars: Clone Wars ran for five seasons on Cartoon Network, was canceled in 2013 and resurrected by Netflix for a sixth season. Wet Hot American Summer, a cult movie from the early days of Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd and Elizabeth Banks returned with the hilarious 8-part series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day At Camp. We will also be seeing Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later in 2017. The Killing also saw a new lease of life after it was canceled by AMC in 2013.
How Does A Canceled TV Show Get Picked Up By Netflix?
This is the catch. There is no single way in which a show can be picked up. It takes time, negotiation and co-operation from actors, networks, writers and showrunners. The shows Netflix has resurrected so far have been an eclectic mix of comedy, animation and drama but the reasons why they got a second chance and not others is still unclear.
An active fanbase might help. Take Agent Carter — after it was canceled by ABC, a change.org petition was started demanding the show be resurrected on Netflix alongside other Marvel original series' Daredevil and Jessica Jones. The petition currently has over 120,000 signatures, but needs 150,000. Netflix has yet to comment, but it seems like a pretty solid investment with Luke Cage and The Defenders on the way.
Young Justice has also had a similar push from fans who loved the show and were upset when it was canceled by Cartoon Network in 2013. In an interview with Comicbook.com, producer Brandon Vietti said:
I'd be happy to do another one; Greg [Weisman] would be; Phil Bourassa, the character designer. We'd all in a heartbeat come back to do a third season if the Powers-That-Be feel they want to do that."
Once again, there is no word from the Netflix camp, but if the creators want it, the fans want it and other networks are showing interest in it, then what's Netflix waiting for?
What's Next For Netflix?
Well, a whole lot. In the next few years we have a lot to look forward too — along with regular addition of movies both new and old, we will be seeing the Netflix adaption of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Marvel's Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. A second season of Fuller House is on the way and more series' of Orange Is The New Black, House of Cards, Bojack Horseman, plus The Office UK is getting a movie, Black Mirror Season 3 is in the works PLUS a whole avalanche of Netflix original comedy, drama and movies to keep you from ever having to go outside.
And all the while, there are so many TV shows from years gone by that are ripe for resurrection, so the question is...