I recently just finished up Lockwood and Co, a show I might not have given a shot, were it not for its high placement in Netflix top 10 list, and its stellar critic and audience scores.
I liked it well enough (perhaps not 95% audience score level, but it was fine), but the entire time I was wondering about the future of the series, whether I should be bothering investing my time and energy into these characters if this was going to be the dozenth YA Netflix series cancelled in the last couple years alone.
The problem that’s been created here is that these shows cannot really be structured the way they want to be, as it’s just too much of a risk with how vicious Netflix has been with cancelations. To explain, I’m going to have to get into spoiler territory for the end of season 1 of Lockwood and Co.
While I understand a certain amount of mystery leading into future seasons, like the identity of the gold sword-wielder who keeps fighting Lockwood, it seems decidedly unwise to structure a season of your show to end on a truly massive cliffhanger like what we’re seeing here.
For the entire first season of Lockwood and Co. we know Lockwood himself is harboring secrets. Namely secrets locked in a very specific room in his house that no one, not even his best friends, are allowed to enter. At the end of the season after the current crisis is resolved, Lockwood decides it’s time to be fully honest with his friends, and goes to open the door. The act of the door opening into a black void is literally the last shot of the season, before the credits roll. The ultimate mystery tease with absolutely zero answers given.
The fear is obvious, that Netflix will cancel the show and we’ll never know what’s behind that door. In this case, I suppose there are source material books we can go read, but it’s not quite the same. I felt this exact same thing recently with Copenhagen Cowboy, a series that I could tell was heading toward an unresolved ending to bait out a season 2, but one it would assuredly not get.
I don’t know whether or not Lockwood and Co. will get a second season. I do know that I can name a dozen shows just like it that Netflix has cancelled, so the odds do not seem great. It may peak at #2, unable to unseat Ginny and Georgia, and it’s clear Netflix takes essentially no stock in critic or audience scores. They factor in things like completion rate and budget, and with the CGI ghosts it has to animate, Lockwood and Co. may not be the cheapest of series compared to others. So it seems like at best, a coinflip.
It sucks, but my genuine message to showrunners is that if you are writing a first season for Netflix, you cannot end it on something like the door opening cliffhanger. I get that being restricted like that is annoying, but even if there are more stories to tell, you would be wise to provide at least some level of closure in the likely event your series is killed off. I understand that this is a departure from how many traditional TV storylines are structured, as cliffhangers are big hooks to tune in next time. But with Netflix there usually is not a next time, and what you have created and released already will suffer for it.
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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.
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