Netflix’s cancellation of its live action Cowboy bebop it reflects a company that follows the data. While the show, which was first announced in 2018, launched with a bang in the service’s top 10, data from What’s On Netflix shows a dramatic change soon after. And both Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes display a rare alignment between critics and fans, with the scores of both groups closing in on each other in their general disgust.
Without critical acclaim, a vocal fandom, or a sustained interest in keeping the show a smash hit, it’s easy to see what the game, setting, and combination went like for John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, and Daniella Pineda. But the output is still surprising, simply given how much Netflix invested in its promotional efforts. On Netflix’s YouTube page, you can find Cowboy bebop Steve Aoki remixes, behind-the-scenes clips with actors showing off the custom set and musicians doing their thing, and even a four-hour, 40-minute broadcast of the soundtrack titled “Space Jazz to Chase Bounties and Cook Beef and Broccoli for.”
Compare all that hype to Netflix’s biggest hit of the year: Red notice. While it is just a metric, all that appears on the company’s YouTube page is a live event from Red noticethe gathering of the stars. The only promotional effort made by Ryan Reynolds doesn’t even focus on the movie, but instead talks about his recent purchase of a football club. Of course, it helps when Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson, and Gal Gadot are walking, breathing, promo machines with millions of followers on every possible platform. A tech company like Netflix knows it Red notice it is promoted. Cowboy bebop, a strange program based on a strange program, not so much.
The quality of Bebop it certainly could have played a role in Netflix’s decision. Polygon’s review offered some praise for the show, noting its “annoying attention” to the physical details of the original anime, and that when it made an alteration, it could often provide “interesting developments and dimensions.” Rather than issues related to acting, plot, or setting, the problem seemed structural: the show “feels like a decision by showrunner André Nemec to interpret the idea of how a cartoon would feel in live action rather than create a version of Cowboy bebop. ”
Another problem: unlike the original Bebop, the show aired in one go. The complete execution of the original Bebop Broadcast from October 24, 1998 to April 24, 1999 on the Wowow satellite network. He then slowly built an audience around the world, first in Italy, then the United States through Adult Swim, then Australia, and so on. His reputation flourished thanks to strong criticism and word of mouth among international anime fans. While anime Bebop It can certainly be caught, each episode feels like an event. From Spike’s daring tactic with the space shuttle Columbia to Jet’s learning about feng shui on Mars, these episodes are completely self-contained. Certain plot points move forward, but each session really feels unique.
When all the episodes are presented together, it’s hard for that feeling to feel explosive with each round. The Netflix Bebop tried to recreate the magic, but creating a binge show can put pressure on the writers to connect each episode with the other, forcing a sense of unity that may not necessarily exist. What works in the writer’s room bubble may not resonate in real life.
Of course, a program with strong ideas and weaker execution can correct course. Lost was able to get rid of characters not connecting, The good wife character arches changed based on fan response, Sleepy hollow began to focus more on monster episodes of the week and despite being sold as the first Marvel Cinematic Universe TV show, Agents of protection stopped responding to all events in the older MCU.
The average length of a show these days is between three and four seasons, with less and less time to figure out what’s wrong. Regardless of what happened to BebopThat’s a problem: it gives writers, actors, and creators less time to figure out what works and what doesn’t, leading to less creativity overall. A show like Hulu’s High Fidelity, which received rave reviews, did not have a chance to find its audience.
Remodeling a mid-season show, especially an expensive one, is rarely considered a good thing. And it would not have been in the case of 2021 Bebop. But if the data could tell Netflix to, say, drop the Vicious stuff or hold back on the “blackmail” / “black man” puns, then the show may not have been stuck trying to recreate the 90s anime, but finds its own balance. John Cho kept his promise to lead. The rest of the cast delivered energy with each round. The raised tone appeared in some places. There was probably a good show there, which will be reconsidered in season 2. But that’s not happening.
See you next time, space cowboy.