Netflix has earned critical acclaim for its original TV lineup, which includes highly praised dramas like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards. But not all of its series have fared quite as well. Despite the company’s best efforts and — in some cases — a hefty price tag, these five Netflix shows failed to take off with either critics or audiences.
Below, check out five of the streaming company’s biggest television flops.
1. Hemlock Grove
Based on Brian McGreevy’s novel of the same name, the horror thriller series examines the strange happenings in Hemlock Grove, a fictional town in Pennsylvania. Starring Bill Skarsgard and Landon Liboiron, the show follows Roman Godfrey (Skarsgard), heir to the town’s wealthy Godfrey family, and the town’s newcomer, Peter Rumancek (Liboiron) as they work together to shed light on a series of brutal murders.
Hemlock Grove was one of Netflix’s earliest original titles, premiering just a couple of months after the acclaimed House of Cards, and it proved to be a big misstep. The show was universally panned, with critics slamming the series for its poor acting and painfully slow pace. Time Magazine even named it one of the worst 10 shows on television in 2013.
Though the freshman season was widely criticized, the show was renewed for two more seasons — which isn’t entirely surprising, as Netflix has a reputation for giving many of its series multiple chances. Despite its best efforts, the series never really took off and officially ended its run in 2015.
2. Bad Samaritans
You’ve probably never even heard of this Netflix comedy and there’s a reason for that. The show, which starred Brian Kubach, Julianna Guill, Tommy Snider, Alice Hunter, Robert LaSardo, and David Faustino, was one of Netflix’s earliest original TV entries. It focused on a community service parole group and their parole officer, and debuted in in 2013 to dismal reviews.
How bad exactly? The show isn’t even available to watch on Netflix anymore, which should tell you pretty much everything you need to know.
3. Marco Polo
Netflix shelled out a whopping $90 million for the 10-episode freshman season of this historical drama, marking one of its costliest and most ambitious projects ever. But the series failed to live up to its impressive price tag. Critics called the show, which follows Venetian explorer Marco Polo (Lorenzo Richelmy) through his adventures in 13th-century China, “lifeless,” “sluggish,” and “emotionally empty” — basically the opposite of its obvious inspiration, Game of Thrones.
Despite the not-so-well-received freshman season, Netflix renewed the show for a 10-episode second season. Season 2 of Marco Polo kicked off in July 2016 and though it earned a more positive response, the show has since been canceled.
This sci-fi drama, created by Michael McGowan, stars Jennette McCurdy as Wiley Day, a pregnant teenage daughter of a minister living in the small town of Pretty Lake. The town is plagued with a mysterious disease that has killed everybody who is over 21 years old.
The series, a co-production with the Canadian network, City, marked a change in format for Netflix. The show aired episodes on a weekly basis instead of its standard all-at-once release model. But critics didn’t seem to think it was worth the extra wait. Though McCurdy earned some praise for her performance, reviewers critiqued the series for lacking depth and a compelling hook, with Variety calling it “an utterly ho-hum addition to Netflix’s original lineup.”
Regardless, the series aired a second season in 2016. There has been no confirmation of a third season.
Chelsea Handler made her return to TV in Netflix’s first ever talk show, which was widely promoted as a one-of-a-kind series that will do away with the conventions of traditional broadcast’s late night shows. But despite it’s “anti-talk show” billing, Chelsea doesn’t feel particularly different. The comedian still kicks off every episode with a monologue (although she refuses to call it that), followed by an interview with a celebrity or other public figure.
Critics and audiences alike have panned the anything-goes structure, which often feels awkward and clumsy. And there’s been some trouble behind the scenes as well: Only three weeks and nine episodes into its run, executive producer and showrunner Bill Wolff opted to exit the series.
Though the show improved slightly throughout its first season, it has yet to fully to live up its potential. Despite the bad reviews from both critics and viewers, Netflix brought Chelsea back for a second season in 2017 — although Handler has since announced it will be its last.
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