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What Is Happening At Netflix? Why Are So Many Shows Ending?

The Kominsky Method Michael Douglas Sandy Kominsky Netflix
Image by Michael Yarish / Netflix
What is going on at Netflix? On the surface, it is a head-scratcher. As much as they seem to share nothing in common at first glance, three of the steamer’s seemingly successful original series have been renewed with one giant catch. “The Kominsky Method,” “Ozark,” and “Dead to Me” will return for another season, and all of them will be their last.

As a massive fan of Netflix’s Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas starrer, “The Kominsky Method,” it was sad to hear the dramedy would be ending with Season 3. Of course, the announcement from See What’s Next came after a prolonged period of fans getting no word on the series’ status.

Creatively speaking, “The Kominsky Method,” showed no signs of slowing down. Its sophomore season had avoided any sagging quality. With the introduction of Paul Reiser’s Marty, the Netflix original had put itself over the top, pivoting Michael Douglas’ Sandy into yet another beautiful friendship that was funny, sweet, and moving.

Suffice it to say, this Netflix subscriber has been in no hurry for “The Kominsky Method” to call it curtains. There was way too much story left to explore, and having these sublime vignettes that featured Hollywood’s brightest stalwarts reflecting on mortality and writing their latest chapter proved itself as a brash and daring endeavor.

Few shows hit all of the marks as both a comedy and drama with poignant (and often disagreeable) things to say in between the laughter and the sadness. Anchored by Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin’s captivating performances and some zesty writing, “The Kominsky Method” managed to transcend the mark.

So, it will be a bittersweet goodbye when the show signs off. If it were bidding adieu to one series, that would be one thing. Certainly not enough to make alarm bells ring out for this Netflix observer and subscriber. “The Kominsky Method” seems to be another piece to a dawning trend.

Ozark Marty Byrde Jason Bateman Wendy Byrde Laura Linney Netflix
Image by Steve Dietel / Netflix
Netflix also announced that “Ozark,” which did exceedingly well with its third season per THR, is also ending. It will have a fourth season with a higher episode count released at two points, essentially bringing the crime drama to an end with a smaller fourth and fifth season.

This was another personal blow as “Ozark” just came off of its strongest season. Its third outing was massively boosted by the arresting performance of Season 3 newcomer, Tom Pelphrey. The actor captivated with a heart-rending and Emmy-worthy performance as Wendy’s mentally ill brother. 

As it ended its latest season, “Ozark” seemed poised to go further. The end did not appear anywhere near in sight, and yet it is happening. Then Netflix announced that “Dead to Me” (another ratings success) would be ending with its third season, and you have a big question. Why is Netflix ending all of these shows?

It would be one thing if it was two shows or even three, but it is not. “The Crown”  had announced it would be ending sooner than planned (with Season 5 instead of Season 6), per CinemaBlend. Interestingly, Netflix later reversed its decision. Netflix did cut ties with the cult favorite, “Lucifer,” which it recently confirmed will return for one more season that will be its last.

Are all of these shows really having a creative epiphany? Do they all genuinely want to go out on top...within the same time frame? If it is one big coincidence, it is an interesting one. Calling it quits “early” in the name of maintaining a series’ artistic integrity has become a trend in recent years. Not everyone has succeeded in doing so, though.

For every “Bates Motel,” there has been a “Game of Thrones.” The latter of which wrapped way too soon considering the scope of story it chose to close. Six episodes to end nearly 10 years. “Lost” sort of started the trend of knowing when the end would come well ahead of time.

Dead to Me Linda Cardellini Judy Hale Netflix
Image by Saeed Adyani / Netflix
However, it did so as its grip on pop culture was not where it was when it began. I doubt “The Kominsky Method,” “Ozark,” or “Dead to Me” shared the ABC series’ reasons for concluding so early into their respective runs. From the outside looking in, it seems like Netflix is trying to wrap up its most significant projects, but why?

It seems in no hurry to end “Stranger Things,” even though an end is in sight for the series. “Ozark” may not have been pulling in the views of the sci-fi favorite, but it certainly captured the water cooler buzz of adults.

While Netflix has robust offerings like “White Lines” to take its place, it makes no sense to end “Ozark” now. Perhaps, I do not like a good thing to end early, but it seems odd. Unlike some Netflix cancellations, its recent spate of “exits” does not seem to be related to poor turnout.

People watched. The same goes for the recently wrapped up “Full House” spinoff, “Fuller House.” It’s last half premiered this summer, and it appeared on Netflix’s self-admitted Top Ten for a while. So, why the hurry to get rid of its hits?

Is there something that I am missing? Does everyone who has a hit show want to move on that badly? Is Netflix so hipster it does not want to have a successful show continue at the risk of being too successful? Or is the expense of these shows not worth the reward? Salaries both in front of and behind the camera have to be a factor, right?

Whatever is happening at Netflix with all of the non-cancellation cancellations, I hope it stops. “Game of Thrones” demonstrated what happens when there is a rush to leave the audience wanting more. You literally leave the audience wanting more, and that is not always a good thing.

PS: I have speculated about how “Ozark” will end and if you want to check it out, you can head on over to CinemaBlend. Thank you!

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