Why Did Netflix Cancel 'First Kill' After Season One? | The Mary Sue
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Why Netflix’s Premature Cancellation of ‘First Kill’ Sucks

first kill is gone

Last night, it was announced that Netflix had cancelled the vampire teen lesbian drama First Kill after one season. I found out the news while sitting on the couch with my girlfriend—the same couch where we watched the series together.

The explanation given by Deadline’s sources on the issue is that the series “did not meet thresholds for viewing and completion of episodes.” While we do not know the numbers, per the issue with most streaming service shows, what Deadline notes is that “First Kill cracked into the streamer’s weekly Top 10 for English-language TV series with its first three days of release, ranking No. 7 (No. 3 non-Stranger Things title) with 30.3M hours viewed. It peaked at No. 3 in its first full week of release with 48.8M hours viewed, only behind Stranger Things 4 and Peaky Blinders Season 6, and spent one more week in the Top 10 before falling off. The series easily cleared 100M hours viewed in its first 28 days of release.”

This all looks good, especially for a show with such a shoestring budget.

I first got to watch First Kill through my podcasting gig at Netflix Geeked, and while I, like many, saw the small budget it had, I ended up loving it a lot more than expected, especially because it was one of the few series within the supernatural drama that didn’t make me choose between my representation as a Black woman and as a queer woman.

As someone who has watched a lot of shows with no Black women, but good LGBTQ representation, it meant a lot to me to see a dark-skinned female lead be totally and completely adored not just by their love interest, but embraced by fandom.

It is sometimes easier to not put into words how the anti-Blackness and misogynoir in fandom have just wrecked me at times, to see the little bit of representation we get treated with distain. From Gwen to Tara to Bonnie, and beyond, it is a constant battle to be present in a community that seems to think that killing off Black leads on shows is a normal occasion. Hell, even when we get a Black lead ,we have to worry about them getting Sleepy Hollowed.

I am a 30-year-old woman. Yet, the representation that is making me feel the most is mostly in children’s media. First Kill was an exception, and it’s gone. Was it a perfect series? No. But I also grew up in the era were shows were allowed to have growing pains. The Vampire Diaries lasted 8 seasons and the first 13 episodes were filled with things that would be retconned. Remember the voiceover there? I sure do. When I started watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, everyone told me, “Skip the first three seasons.” Buffy fans will tell people that the first season is rough.

More than anything, I’m disappointed by the lack of intersectional understanding and pop cultural literacy when it comes to shows in supernatural urban fantasy and Blackness. We don’t get this often. We don’t get to be at the forefront, and when we are, racist fandoms are still something we have to contend with.

When I saw the news about First Kill, I thought of The Owl House on Disney, which has been unapologetically Afro-Latina and queer and is getting cancelled early because of it. I thought about how Adventure Time couldn’t make Bubbline canon until the end and Steven Universe, which had to fight tooth and nail for every bit of great representation it had. Those shows are gone. Pose is gone. Batwoman is gone. Heartstoppers is a great show, but the two leads are two white cis boys. Where is the lead representation for the rest of us?

If you didn’t like First Kill, that’s fine, but I do want folks, especially non-Black queer fans, to recognize that we have had to fight for this—and that, at times, we’ve had to fight in our own fan communities when they didn’t support ships with dark skinned or non-white people because they wanted two white people to be together. (You know who you are.) Progress can be lost faster than people think, and when we are talking about the cancellation of First Kill, the intersection between Blackness and queerness needs to be at the forefront.

I’m gonna end by saying that Cal on First Kill was one of the few times I saw people make fan art and celebrate a Black woman to this level. I reposted a fan art of Cal and Juliette, and a friend of mine wrote, “I thought this was you and [partner’s name] before I saw the fangs.” I had never had that feeling before with wlw ships, and it felt good to finally, truly be seen.

(via Deadline, featured image: Netflix)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.