When it comes to Netflix, nothing good (or bad, or middling) can last. First Kill is far from the streamer’s first kill, and it certainly won’t be the last. Look on the works of the algorithm, ye Mighty, and despair!
Seriously, though, the axing of the sapphic vampire romance doesn’t come as a surprise. Created by bestselling author V.E. Schwab and Felicia Henderson, the story follows the enemies-to-forbidden-lovers romance between a young vampire (Sarah Catherine Hook) and vampire hunter (Imani Lewis). The series debuted to pretty “meh” reviews, and it didn’t make the kind of cultural splash of the streamer’s other comparable teen fare like Outer Banks or Heartstopper (to say nothing of a juggernaut like Stranger Things). Still, it garnered its own devoted fanbase, one that appreciated the series’ brand of on screen representation.
As is always the case with Netflix, the cancellation was a numbers game, although exactly how the company interprets its own numbers can be mysterious. Per Deadline, First Kill cracked the Top 10 for series in its first week, peaking at No. 3 with 48.8 million hours viewed (at the time, behind only Stranger Things and Peaky Blinders). The show “easily cleared” 100 million hours viewed in its first month. And yet the show “did not meet thresholds for viewing and completion of episodes.”
Netflix can be quite ruthless even to shows with vocal fanbases–the cancellation of Julie And The Phantoms and The Society (which had its renewal rescinded) are two examples. As some disappointed First Kill fans have pointed out, it happens often to the company’s shows with queer teen girl leads (Everything Sucks, I Am Not Okay With This, Trinkets).
The streamer’s strategy of canceling shows after one or two seasons is notorious, and it seems unlikely to change with money troubles looming overhead. First Kill is simply the latest victim.