1899 Was Cancelled Despite Strong Viewership
New year. Same old Netflix. Unfortunately, the series to get the axe this time is 1899. This is somewhat a surprise as the show was loved by both fans and critics, but more importantly, it was a success in viewership. 1899 skyrocketed upon its debut on November 17 and got over 250 million views. The official synopsis of the series is below:
1899. A migrant steamship heads west to leave the old continent. The passengers, a mixed bag of European origins, united by their hopes and dreams for the new century and their abroad. But their journey takes an unexpected turn when they discover another migrant ship adrift on the open sea.
Creators Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar announced the disappointing news on their Instagram account:
“With a heavy heart we have to tell you that 1899 will not be renewed. We would have loved to finish this incredible journey with a 2nd and 3rd season as we did with Dark. But sometimes, things don’t turn out the way you planned. That’s life. We know this will disappoint millions of fans out there. But we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts that you were a part of this wonderful adventure. We love you. Never forget. Bo & Jantje.”
The Viewership Isn’t The Main Factor For Renewal
The series only survived with one season. Usually, when Netflix cuts a show that has seen some type of success, it’s mostly due to the production costs. 1899 was not a cheap show. However, this shouldn’t be a surprise given the time period and effects that the show had to recreate. Rumor has it that the German series is one of the most expensive shows to ever be made on the streaming service. The budget was reportedly estimated at around $60 million.
Now, this number pales in comparison to the fourth season of Stranger Things, as the Wall Street Journal revealed that the latest season was $30 million per episode. That means the total was around $270 million. A crazy amount, but Stranger Things turned out to be a huge success and is currently No. 2 as the top-viewed English-language series on the service by garnering over 1.35 billion views. The show was just beaten by Wednesday, but the point is that it had a massive viewership to justify its insane budget.
Another show that was in a similar situation was Sandman. Surprisingly, the DC adaptation was heavily praised by both fans and critics and was watched by over 328 million viewers. Reportedly, the budget for the series was $15 million per episode, so that’s around $165 million in total. Sandman was a huge success, too; however, it was largely on the bubble since the budget was so high. With Netflix opting to renew the series for a second season, the streaming service likely didn’t have the budget to order another season of 1899. That’s just pure speculation on my end.
So Why Choose The Sandman Over 1899
Let’s go with the notion that Netflix had to choose between both series. For Netflix, what’s most important isn’t viewership per se but how many subscriptions the streaming service gets from said series or movie. Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, and other streaming services are far different from regular television as viewership isn’t the end factor on whether a series is renewed or canceled. Sandman has a far better outreach than 1899. It’s a classic DC property that has been praised universally, and it’s possible that Netflix felt that the show had more name value outside of their streaming service than in 1899. Again, this is pure speculation on my end.
For now, the journey is over, though that doesn’t mean that 1899 can’t return. It’s possible that the co-creators are shopping the series around to another network, though that’s not even a rumor at this point. Whatever the case may be, 1899 left on a huge cliffhanger, and sadly, fans will never get to see Kerberos finish his epic journey.
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