Netflix has cancelled the supernatural teen drama series First Kill—an unabashedly campy show that follows star-crossed lovers Juliette (a teenage vampire) and Calliope (a teenage monster hunter) and fully leans into its Romeo and Juliet-esque extravagance—less than two months since it premiered on June 10. The cancellation, reported by Deadline on Tuesday, prompted immediate outcry from fans.
First Kill, while not a critical hit, found a large audience among people who tuned in for a queer vampire storyline that centered Black characters. So why was it cancelled after just one season—and why is the internet up in arms about it?
What Netflix has said about First Kill’s cancellation
Deadline, citing unnamed sources, reported that Netflix cancelled the fan favorite after one season because it “did not have the staying power of most Netflix hits.”
Historically, viewership to cost ratio has driven Netflix’s decisions about cancellation versus renewal. First Kill picked up a sizable fan base: although Netflix doesn’t share many of its metrics, First Kill was in its global Top 10 TV list for three weeks, racking up 97.66 million hours watched in that time alone.
First Kill fans criticize Netflix for a pattern of cancelling queer-led shows
Fans immediately criticized Netflix for axing First Kill, noting that it is far from the first show featuring romantic relationships between women to be cancelled by the streamer. Other titles that have met the same fate include Everything Sucks, I Am Not Okay With This, Teenage Bounty Hunters, One Day at a Time, and Sense8.
Let’s see. Everthing Sucks? Canceled after 1 season. I Am Not Okay With This? Canceled after 1 season. Teenage Bounty Hunters? Canceled after 1 season. First Kill? Canceled after 1 season. @netflix This is not a good look. https://t.co/Lmdw2gAKuj
— Shaun Stacy (@slayerangel78) August 3, 2022
First Kill‘s cancellation led to the hashtag #CancelNetflix, which was trending on Wednesday morning.
— Becca (@Becca817) August 3, 2022
First Kill fans were quick to point to the recent renewal of Heartstopper, a British coming-of-age gay rom-com series, also on Netflix. Heartstopper, which amassed 53.46 million hours watched while it was on the global Top 10 TV list—almost half that of First Kill—was renewed for two more seasons. As one fan put it, “we’re not comparing First Kill with Heartstopper we’re comparing how Netflix treats mlm-centric shows to how they treat their wlw shows.”
How First Kill‘s creators have responded
On Instagram, show creator Victoria Schwab called the day she found out her first TV project would be picked up for a whole season one of the best days of her life.
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“But that doesn’t mean this—the day it got cancelled—is the worst,” Schwab wrote. “Because the lack of a second season doesn’t erase the first. It happened, I got to see a great group of writers spin the thread, got to see an amazingly talented group of actors bring my characters to life.”
Hook and Lewis, for their parts, shared tender tributes to their characters, on Instagram too.
“So many of you connecting with Juliette means more to me than words can say,” Hook wrote. “Thank you to all who loved & supported our special show. Love you forever, Jules.”
“Forever honored. Forever grateful,” Lewis wrote. “To know that this show has touched so many of you is all I could ever ask for. Thank you for letting me portray so many of your beautiful truths through Cal.”