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Why Was ‘Inside Job’ Canceled?

Netflix please, I'm so tired of your bad taste, just let the good ones stay.

Lizzy Caplan as Reagan and Adam Scott as Ron in the animated series 'Inside Job'

Y’all already know how pissed I was to hear that Inside Job was canceled. The news was announced by showrunner Shion Takeuchi on January 8, only a couple months or so after the acclaimed first season wrapped up:

This news was certainly unexpected, considering the fact that Netflix had renewed the show for a second season in June 2022. Of course, network execs have been pulling the rug out from many animated shows lately, but it does raise a lot of questions. Inside Job was the collaborative effort of many talented writers and animators, and Shion herself was involved in a plethora of high-profile animated projects.

So, you know, what the hell? Who do I have to shake my fist at, and to what end?

Predictably, there’s no “clear” answer, with major outlets only stating that an unnamed Netflix rep confirmed the cancellation. Some outlets theorize that it has a lot to do with “completion rates,” i.e., the ratio of people watching a show to people finishing a show. But if that’s the case, then that’s just plain dumb, because even consistently renewed shows (like Big Mouth and Stranger Things) have large numbers of people falling off and not finishing them. Even major shows on other networks, like Warner shows on HBO Max, are getting axed, often quietly and without much explanation. But in those cases, it sometimes has to do with the production companies getting their own streaming networks.

Carina Adly Mackenzie, a producer on Roswell, had an interesting take to explain why these sorts of things are happening so frequently now. The short answer is: tax breaks. These networks are greedily ordering all sorts of shows and then axing the ones that aren’t immediately bringing in the level of viewership they want—because of tax breaks.

The sad thing is, it’s believably insidious, because media and capitalism go hand in hand. You want to believe the people in charge of giving your project visibility are in it for the art, for the joy of creation and distribution, but at the end of the day, if it ain’t Eddie Munson, it ain’t worth the extra stones. And it’s just so cruel to give these talented people a chance to really create something out of love, and then get rid of it as quickly as it came. It’s also just baffling—like, why give it a try at all if there’s a reasonable expectation that you’ll end up canceling it before its second season?

Of course, there could be things behind the scenes that we don’t know about, so we can’t definitively give an answer as to “why.” All the same, these are compelling arguments, even though they only make me angrier. Shion created a fantastic show and clearly cared about it a lot. It shouldn’t have to be this hard, at the professional level she’s at, to see your baby take its first steps.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Madeline (she/her) is a writer, dog mom, and casual insomniac. Her prior experiences with media have taken her down many different roads, from local history podcasts to music coverage & production. Niche interests include folk music, elves/wizards, and why horses are cool actually.