Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Cancel This

Well, shit. Shit shit shit and shit. Granted, “First Kill” was not a great show. But getting axed as one of the few new shows this season on cable or streamers to center queer female characters as its stars, well, it hurts. And, honestly, it’s bullshit. THIS IS BULLSHIT.

If you’ve been paying attention to entertainment media, you’ll know we’re in the midst of The Great Diversity Purge of 2022. Do you have a show that appeals to underrepresented minorities? People of color, LGBTQ+ people, women, people who know Trump lost the election? Too bad. Would you like another show with Chris Pratt instead?

So gone are, in no particular order, “Gentleman Jack,” “Batwoman,” “The Wilds,” “The Motherland: Fort Salem,” “Legends of Tomorrow,” “Betty”... I could go on.

Part of this is new, fierce competition between the bazillion streamers out there now. And part of this is consolidation of major media companies. Indeed, the Warner Bros/Discovery merger looks to be about to tank possibly the best streamer out there, HBO Max. If they take away my “Hacks” and my “Somebody Somewhere” and my “Harley Quinn” I will cut a bitch. And, of course, by bitch, I mean rich straight white male studio executive.

Indeed, the recent purge of inclusive titles shows how shallow the efforts to bring marginalized voices into the fold often are. As soon as things start to go a little sideways, it’s bye queers and POCs and women. Don’t worry, the men are still in charge to straighten this ship, literally and figuratively, based on their perceived place at the center of the universe. I mean, again, it’s already happening at Warner/Discovery where the new boss has hired a raft of new department heads who are also white dudes just like him. Gosh, whodathunkit?

Also, what kind of a company spends $90 million on a movie with the first Latina Batgirl on screen and then just shelves it entirely and refuses to release it on any platform? Holy tax write off, Batman, I guess.

One of the nice things about the proliferation of streamers is more content has also meant more diversity. But if they are going to cut back on that kind of content then how are they different from basic/premium cable? It is simply not enough to offer a couple “diverse” shows yet give them almost no marketing or publicity and then immediately cancel them if they somehow don’t meet expectations.

In fact, the murkiness of streaming viewership data (and metrics targets that seem to change at whim) makes it hard to discern whether “First Kill” and other more diverse shows like it were actually meeting those expectations or not. Netflix told the “First Kill” showrunner Felicia D. Henderson the series did not meet “thresholds for viewing and completion of episodes.”

Yet the series made Netflix’s Top 10 for English-language TV series in its first three days, ranked No. 7 with 30.3M hours viewed. And in its first full week it shot to No. 3 with 48.8M hours viewed. During that time it was just behind “Stranger Things” and “Peaky Blinders” — two shows with zero renewal problems. But I guess 100 million hours viewed in its first four weeks simply isn’t enough for a show with queer characters and prominent POC stars. What a joke.

Real diversity efforts means providing support, promotion and time. Real diversity efforts means hiring POC, LGBTQ+, women and other marginalized people to fill the C-suites. Real diversity means giving more people from underrepresented groups a place in front and behind the camera.

I wish there was a way to swoop up all the canceled diverse shows and find them a place together. But instead they’re going to the great streaming cemetery in the sky, I guess. RIP, “First Kill.” You weren’t a perfect show. But I could have watched hot women kiss/bite each other and Elizabeth Mitchell vamp around for several more seasons, at least.


Carmen San Diego said...

Is the L word the only mainstream lesbian show left once again?

Panty Buns said...

I have been re-watching my favourite scenes from 'First Kill' while it is still on NetFlix.
There is something very, very wrong when lesbophobic white male billionaires can simply buy up media
and through reinstatement of glass ceiling bias cause a NetFlix searches for 'Bechdel' diversity crumbs to be increasingly sparse.
Tucker Carlson is probably gleeful about it.
Warner Brothers Discovery SUCKS.