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What do These Amazing Cancelled TV Shows Have in Common?
Wynonna Earp, One Day at a Time, Kim’s Convenience, Teenage Bounty Hunters, Good Witch, The Wilds, First Kill all have something in common, apart from getting canceled despite being popular.
Wynonna Earp champions representation on-and-off screen and has a tremendously loyal fandom because of it. The cast’s tables at Comic Con are always packed, even after the show has been cancelled, twice. The fans keep fighting to #BringWynonnaHome even as networks keep going back on renewing the show for new seasons. Syfy picked this show for season 4 after it was first cancelled but went back on its promise of renewing it for season 5.
'One Day at a Time' highlighted the important narratives of immigrants’ issues and coming-of-age as a young queer. It showed the struggles and joys of single motherhood, the determination of a stubborn abuela to be open and accepting, exploration of gender and sexual identity, and wanting to fit in while staying true to one’s roots. It also introduced a non-binary character in a sensitive way where the representation was limited. Even when there was representation, it could be quite negative but this show ensured that never happened. It was canceled by Netflix, picked up and then canceled by Pop.
"A show that always emphasised the lives of immigrants and people of color would suddenly become about a single, white woman with a hunger for life. Ah-ma-zing!"
'Kim’s Convenience' made leaps and bounds when it came to POC representation. It is quite a concerning coincidence that as soon as Janet tries to explore her sexuality, 'Kim’s Convenience' is canceled and Simu Liu’s commitment to Marvel is put forth as the reason despite him vehemently denying it. While Simu Liu mentioned that the show wasn’t giving his character room to grow, he stated that he would always make time for it because the message they were sending was important to him. However, not only was the show canceled, the network announced a spinoff with the only white recurring character in the lead Shannon. A show that always emphasized the lives of immigrants and people of color would suddenly become about a single, white woman with a hunger for life. Ah-ma-zing!.
"The lack of consideration that people need to see more people like themselves or their friends on screen wasn’t considered."
Another queer character was represented in the show 'Good Witch'. People were concerned it would send the wrong message to children. The lack of consideration that people need to see more people like themselves or their friends on screen wasn’t considered. 'Teenage Bounty Hunters' was the first show tackling the various nuances of being queer, seeing white privilege and questioning religion in the South. It focused on a beautiful relationship between two sisters, in an era where most plots revolve around romantic relationships, and was canceled after ending on a major cliffhanger. 'The Wilds' had good LGBTQ+ representation. 'First Kill' had a lesbian person of color (POC) and was canceled after just one season.
"Maybe Netflix could benefit by focusing on stories that people who have been alienated for being ‘different’ can connect to."
Why is it that networks can’t find the funds for these shows? What do these canceled shows have in common? Being fearlessly true when it comes to stellar representation. It is high time networks invested in important stories instead of the fifth part of some movie equivalent of a fluff piece. Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in Q1 and 970,000 in Q2. Do we really need another 'Kissing Booth' movie or should we bring shows that tell oppressed people they are not alone, back to our screens? Maybe Netflix could benefit by focusing on stories that people who have been alienated for being ‘different’ can connect to. Diversity, equity and representation is what all networks need to fund, on and off screen. The difference it makes to a person who has grown up without ever seeing themselves on screen is quite palpable.
Udita Mukherjee (she/they)
Edited by Rhea Sam (she/her)
Udita is the author of 'From A To Z' with features queer leads. The book was published globally during pride month 2021. Udita's writing has appeared in around 80 magazines, blogs, newspapers and anthologies. She is passionate about positive representation, pizza, dogs and screaming through horror movies!