Culture Editor Ash Sutton shares viewers’ outrage at the cancellation of hit series, which has left creators and fans devastated

first year Digital Media and Communications student, culture editor and general geek

It is all mourners, no funerals as Netflix announces the cancellation of hit series Shadow and Bone. The show, which only ran for two seasons, was adapted from the first trilogy in Leigh Bardugo’s infamous Grishaverse novel series. The author herself took to Instagram last Wednesday to share the news stating she was ‘heartbroken and deeply disappointed’. 

The news follows the end of The Screen Actors Guild –American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike. 118 days where screen actors would not work or market their own projects until an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) union were reached to provide actors with better pay, better working conditions and to cease the threats of replacing actors with AI.The AMPTP consists of a lot of the streaming services that we live on, including Netflix itself, so as the news broke, Shadow and Bone fans were livid as the platform axed yet another good TV original, of which, in my opinion, there are very few.

Shadow and Bone fans are probably one of the strongest communities that I have witnessed

It has been said that these strikes, along with the Writers Guild of America strike that ended only two months ago, were one of the main reasons as to why Shadow and Bone has been jacked. Ironic, really. Another reason has been stated to be that the viewership levels were not quite enough to cover the budget spent on the second season. I cannot dispute this, as I know very little about viewership analytics, however both seasons charted at number one on Netflix, with season two even debuting at second on the ‘popular’ tab. Shadow and Bone fans are probably one of the strongest communities that I have witnessed considering the novels concluded barely ten years ago. For months following the release of the second season, various tags referring to the show were trending daily on Twitter, now X. 

Rightly so, the news has caused a raucous. I, along with millions of other fans, am devastated. So much so, Leigh Bardugo has already picked up on the online petition that is circulating the internet on for another streaming platform to pick up the fantasy series, and the promised spin off Six of Crows, which I had been anticipating more than anything else. Though I think only Hulu/Disney+ could do this spin off enough justice. 

It was not just fans that had taken the news hard, every cast member has taken to their social media to share memories and behind the scenes of the series, thanking the fans for their support and the showrunners for their experiences. Calahan Skogman, who plays Matthias Hevlar, posted one of the most heartfelt and upsetting posts I have ever read as he states ‘Matthias has been the only real constant in my professional acting life’. 

All of these actors were just as passionate and found just as much comfort in the series as the fans did

I think that one of the worst aspects of this is that for a lot of actors, Shadow and Bone was their first big on-screen success, with the exception of Ben Barnes who became known for his role as Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia and later his roles in The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Punisher. All of these actors were just as passionate and found just as much comfort in the series as the fans did. Watching their dream die right in front of them stings more than the cancellation itself.

The death of the show leaves a lot of story lines unfinished. We will never see Nikolaj Lantsov (Patrick Gibson) become the King of Scars, we will never watch the bubbling romance of Kaz Brekker and Inej Ghafa (Freddy Carter and AmitaSuman), we will never actually see all six of the crows on screen together. While I pray for Hulu to take this story that shaped most of my quarantine and finish it off, I will bid a bittersweet goodbye to Ravka, Ketterdam and the Grisha. To the universe I fell in love with: I hope to meet you in the meadow. 

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