HomeEntertainmentWhy Netflix Keeps Canceling 'Lesbian' TV Shows

Why Netflix Keeps Canceling ‘Lesbian’ TV Shows

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It seems Netflix has a bad habit of canceling television shows on their platform that feature lesbian characters or relationships. The incredible part is that many of these shows have great ratings and loyal fan bases, leading viewers to wonder if Netflix is doing it all on purpose. Whether they are or not, it has been made more than clear that the streaming giant has something against these shows, characters, and relationships.

Indeed, it becomes unmistakably apparent that a problem is occurring when films and television programs that have received mixed reviews (Riverdale, The Kissing Booth, 13 Reasons Why) are repeatedly renewed or maintained year in and year out, much more frequently compared to any current shows with lesbian appearances. It prompts the question: Why does Netflix keep canceling lesbian TV shows?

Shows with Lesbians Canceled by Netflix

Why Netflix Keeps Canceling 'Lesbian' TV Shows

Many programs with lesbian leads have been axed by Netflix (with a single exception of Orange Is the New Black) after only a few seasons. The one-season television show Everything Sucks! followed a group of teens as they struggled with topics including coming out, growing up, and defining their sexual identities.

After three seasons, Netflix terminated the lesbian Latina main character drama One Day at a Time. The POP network later renewed it for an additional season. Last but not least, Teenage Bounty Hunters, a one-season television series about identical twin sisters who secretly start working as bounty hunters, included a lesbian romance.

After that, Netflix chose to cancel three of its own original TV programs with lesbian leads in 2020: I Am Not Okay With This, based on Charles Forsman’s graphic novel of the same name; The Society, about a group of teens who run their town after a catastrophe kills all the adults; and Atypical, about a character with autism. They all got canceled within a week of each other and featured significant lesbian primary characters. Netflix gave the excuse of “circumstances created by COVID,” yet additional series with queer representation were subsequently canceled within the next few years (Anne with an E, Warrior Nun, Uncoupled, Fate: The Winx Saga).

First Kill, a teen vampire drama starring a Black lesbian lead character, was canceled in 2022, much to the chagrin of fans. The program was terminated by Netflix, according to Deadline, because “the series did not meet thresholds for viewing and completion of episodes,” yet the publication also claimed that “the series easily cleared 100M hours viewed in its first 28 days of release,” leading viewers to question what was actually going on. And all of these are just some of the series that Netflix’s decisions have had an influence on.

Does Netflix Really Hate Lesbians?

Why Netflix Keeps Canceling 'Lesbian' TV Shows

In an interview with Bloomberg at the beginning of 2023, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos stated, “We have never canceled a successful show,” before going on to say that, “a lot of these shows were well-intended but talk to a very small audience on a very big budget. The key to it is you have to be able to talk to a small audience on a small budget and a large audience on a large budget. If you do that well, you can do that forever.”

As you would expect, Sarandos’ remarks haven’t been well received by LGBTQ+ viewers, underscoring the streaming company’s longstanding practice of axing programs with prominent LGBTQ+. Many have, in fact, taken to social media to air their frustration, pointing to the long-storied “bury your gays” trope that has plagued media history, which involves the deaths of LGBTQ+ characters (or, in this case, cancelation of LGBTQ+ series).

Does Netflix actually object to lesbian representation on their streaming service? Many people believe Netflix has an agenda against queer creators, particularly lesbian ones, or doesn’t trust them. Whatever the case, Netflix has recently made a number of odd moves. And rather than halting their declining figures, this will merely leave users of the platform even more dissatisfied.

It seems as though Netflix places a higher priority on preventing password sharing than ensuring diversity and inclusion among its viewing selections. Let’s hope the streamer figures it out as soon as possible.

The Future of LGBTQ+ Representation in Streaming Media

Why Netflix Keeps Canceling 'Lesbian' TV Shows

While we’re calling out Netflix on their multitude of cancelations of lesbian shows, the streamer is not the only source of the issue. 140 LGBTQ+ characters have been lost as a result of the cancelation of 54 LGBTQ-inclusive programs during the previous viewing season, according to GLAAD’s 2022–2023 report. Additionally, fandoms are forming (and in many cases experiencing heartbreak) more rapidly than ever before as full seasons of numerous shows arrive at streamers’ platforms all at once.

The consequent thirst for LGBTQ+ programming is about more than simply wanting more of a beloved show; it’s also about preventing a return to a time when LGBTQ+ representation was less diverse than it is now. The bottom line: uncertainty surrounds representation in streaming media, and viewers will forever be concerned that their favorite program may be canceled for featuring certain demographics.

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