It seems as though every day there’s another original series added to Netflix. And with so many new dramas, docs and comedies to binge, it’s often hard to remember which of your favorite TV shows will stick around for another season. Luckily for you, we’ve scoured Netflix’s roster for the best series that will be returning in 2021. Still, for all the renewals, there are just as many shows that will never see the light of day again. So, will you be mourning or cheering?
20. Anne with an E
In November 2019 Netflix announced the cancellation of its literary adaptation Anne with an E – and fans were not pleased, to say the least. Outraged followers of the series bombarded the streaming site and co-producers CBC with in excess of 13 million tweets and even erected billboards calling for the show’s reinstatement. Alas, their efforts proved fruitless, and Anne with an E remains sadly shelved for now.
For a series that focuses on a clan of bankers, Medici was fittingly expensive to produce. And that may be one of the reasons why Netflix decided not to renew this series – which featured costly location shooting in Italy – in 2020. Other factors could include falling ratings as well as the departure of Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden.
18. AJ and the Queen
Despite helming arguably Netflix’s premier reality series, RuPaul hasn’t been as successful when it comes to scripted content. To wit, the Drag Race host’s on-the-road drama AJ and the Queen met an unfortunate end just two months after its debut on the streaming service. “Netflix has decided not to extend our trip across America,” the star announced on Twitter in March 2020. “Thank you for all the love and support.”
Marianne may have received praise from horror icon Stephen King, but those plaudits sadly weren’t enough to save it. Yep, although it had its fair share of fans, the French chiller – which holds a 93 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes – got the ax in March 2020 following the release of its first season. But fans shouldn’t fret too much, as Marianne’s creator Samuel Bodin promised on Twitter, “We will see you in other stories.”
16. Turn Up Charlie
A long-time fan of DJing, Idris Elba won the gig of his life when he played a down-on-his-luck mix master in 2019’s Turn Up Charlie. Critics didn’t plug in to the show, though, with IndieWire’s Ben Travers scathingly labeling the comedy “inconsequential and unkempt.” And in April 2020 Netflix unfortunately announced that it wouldn’t be dropping the needle on another season.
15. V Wars
Featuring Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder, V Wars was poised to appeal to fans of bloodsucking fiction. And yet the series – which premiered in December 2019 – may have been too much of the same, with one critic noting its over-reliance on genre conventions. Four months after V Wars’ debut, then, Netflix hammered down the final nail in the coffin by declining to give it a second season.
14. October Faction
One of three series from Netflix’s winter IDW Publishing roster, October Faction was arguably the weakest of the trio. Lagging behind Locke & Key and V Wars, the monster-themed show received almost universally negative feedback. And as season one’s Rotten Tomatoes scores were below 50 percent, it’s understandable why a second run wasn’t ordered.
Exotic locations can certainly add to a TV show’s appeal. However, in the case of Messiah – Netflix’s supernatural CIA thriller – it seems that such globetrotting led to its cancellation. According to Variety, the streaming platform may have cut the show – which was shot in the States and Jordan – owing to its wide range of filming locations. A dismal 44 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes couldn’t have helped, either.
12. Spinning Out
Sports series are always a dependable way to bring in viewers. Just look at basketball documentary The Last Dance. But it appears that figure skating doesn’t break the ice with viewers, judging by the dismissal of Spinning Out. Newsweek has claimed that the Kaya Scodelario-led drama’s cancellation in February 2020 can be attributed to a cold reception from Netflix audiences.
A teen drama set in the middle of a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles sounds like a recipe for success, right? Well, despite having a premise that fell squarely between Mad Max and The O.C., Daybreak was still denied a second season in December 2019. And while displeased fans appealed to Netflix to change its mind, a petition calling for a second season earned only 33,000 signatures.
10. Mystery Science Theater 3000
After two seasons on Netflix, fan favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000 was dropped by the streaming site in November 2019. Yet this isn’t the first time that the B-movie-bashing comedy has been canned; in the past, it’s also survived cancellation by both Comedy Central and SyFy. And host Jonah Ray has tweeted of his hope that the show will be picked up by another service in the future.
Originally set for broadcast by Fox, Soundtrack was instead selected by Netflix after its pilot failed to impress the U.S. TV network. It seems, though, that Fox’s initial fears weren’t entirely unfounded. That’s right: following one critically panned season of Soundtrack, Netflix announced in January 2020 that it wouldn’t be interested in continuing the musical drama.
8. The OA
Halfway through a planned five-season run, The OA was unceremoniously shut down by Netflix in 2019. This decision probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the streaming service – which had started marketing the series just four days before its 2016 premiere – seemingly had little faith in the critically acclaimed psychological thriller from the outset. Still, fans – who started petitions for the show’s reinstatement – were devastated nonetheless.
7. Santa Clarita Diet
Given that it’s all about suburban flesh-eating zombies, Drew Barrymore’s Santa Clarita Diet was always an acquired taste. And yet the dark comedy gained a rabid following upon its 2017 debut, with one season earning an incredible 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Sadly, for all its admirers, Santa Clarita Diet proved too divisive for mainstream appeal, and this may have led to its cancellation in 2019.
6. One Day at a Time
It’s common to find shows canceled by regular TV networks earning a new home on Netflix. But to see a revival happening the other way around is a rarer thing indeed. This is exactly what happened with sitcom One Day at a Time, which – after getting the boot by Netflix over dwindling viewers – was picked up by Pop TV in 2019.
The finale of Traveler’s 2019 third season appeared to set up a new storyline for its next run. Unfortunately – as star Eric McCormack revealed via Twitter soon afterwards – Netflix pulled its plans for new episodes, meaning this fresh direction will be left unexplored. Owing to the sci-fi series’ prior cancellation by original broadcasters Showcase, though, this decision shouldn’t come as a shock to many.
4. Designated Survivor
Throughout its three-season run, Designated Survivor has overcome many hardships. The political thriller went through no fewer than four showrunners in half as many years, for instance, and was also dropped from original network NBC in 2018. Alas, the Kiefer Sutherland-starring series couldn’t survive every hit, and it finally bit the dust in 2019 after one season on Netflix.
3. Friends from College
Revolving around a group of middle-aged Harvard alumni, Friends from College boasted a standout cast. Despite turns from Fred Savage and Cobie Smulders, though, the comedy was nonetheless criticized for its lack of character development. And two years and two seasons after Friends from College’s 2017 debut, Netflix shelved these graduates for good.
2. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Although its 2018 first season started strongly, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina began to lose its charm with viewers. And as ratings slowly decreased, the show – which follows Kiernan Shipka’s eponymous teenage witch – was finally cut from Netflix in July 2020. As there’s a fourth season set to air, though, Sabrina’s story should hopefully be resolved – fingers crossed…
1. BoJack Horseman
Now this truly was a surprise. Since its launch in 2014, BoJack Horseman had become one of Netflix’s most beloved original series. In 2019, however, the platform announced that the show’s sixth season would be its last, with star Aaron Paul later tweeting that the decision had come from the company itself. The real reason for the cancellation remains a mystery, but some have said that the unionization of the show’s animators may have played a part.
20. Stranger Things
Was anyone really shocked that Stranger Things was renewed for a fourth season? Since its debut in 2016, the sci-fi thriller has become one of Netflix’s most valuable shows – with a third season that attracted almost 41 million viewers less than a week after its release. But with Eleven and the Byers having left Hawkins – and Hopper apparently in a Russian gulag – the next set of episodes may have a few surprises in store.
19. Sex Education
With its first season reportedly attracting 40 million viewers within weeks of its debut, Sex Education hit the ground running. And the second run of this dramedy – which focuses on the sex-obsessed students of Moordale Secondary School – fared even better, achieving a 97 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Based on this success, a third season was ordered, and this is currently set to hit Netflix in 2021.
One of the most disturbing shows in Netflix’s roster, You centers around the dark and obsessive romantic pursuits of Penn Badgley’s sociopathic Joe. Despite its creepy content, however, the series remains one of the streaming site’s most popular. And thanks partly to its social media following, You will be returning for a third season in 2021.
17. Never Have I Ever
Following its debut in 2020, Never Have I Ever quickly won over critics. So much so, in fact, that IndieWire’s Kristen Lopez warned Netflix that it would be “foolish” to ax the show – which follows themes of diversity and discrimination – after only one season. Thankfully, the company listened, and a second season was announced shortly after the first’s release.
16. The Last Kingdom
First broadcast by the BBC, The Last Kingdom jumped ship to Netflix at the season three mark. And backed by strong word of mouth, the historical drama continued to flourish on the streaming service. In July 2020, in fact, it was revealed that a fifth batch of episodes is in the works.
15. The Witcher
Few recent shows can boast the same level of support from Netflix as The Witcher. In 2019 the streaming site even ordered a second season of the show before its first had even aired. Adapted from the popular Polish book and video game series, this Henry Cavill-led fantasy is part of 2021’s renewal roster.
14. Dead to Me
Perhaps thanks to both its Emmy nominations and consistent viewer ratings, Dead to Me was renewed for a third run in July 2020. The upcoming season will also be its finale, as star Christina Applegate revealed that the show will soon reach its natural conclusion. Still, fans shouldn’t be too sad, as creator Liz Feldman has inked a deal to create more content for the platform.
Atypical’s February 2020 renewal received a mixed response from fans. On one hand, many were glad that they’d get to see a conclusion to autistic teen Sam’s story. Others, by contrast, were appalled that the show’s next run would be its last. Whichever side of the fence you fall on, though, Atypical’s fourth season is sure to be binged upon its 2021 release.
12. After Life
Ricky Gervais may be most famous for his opinion-dividing Golden Globes gigs, but his scripted work has its fair share of fans, too. The first series of his dark comedy After Life is a case in point, as it was apparently Netflix’s second-highest viewed show of 2019. And after a similarly successful follow-up season in 2020, a third run was announced in May of that year.
11. The Kominsky Method
A Golden Globe-winning comedy from The Big Bang Theory creator Chuck Lorre, The Kominsky Method is a warmhearted story about growing old. Considering its award success, then, a third season – as announced in July 2020 – was more than likely. But the news of The Kominsky Method’s renewal is somewhat bittersweet. You see, the upcoming season will mark the last outing for Sandy and Norman, who will be retiring along with the show following its next batch of episodes.
Despite premiering to some harsh reviews in 2020, #blackAF still earned a strong number of followers on Netflix. The streaming site even announced a second season of the sitcom just two months after its debut. Judging by the reported $100 million deal that Netflix made with creator Kenya Barris, though, it seems the company is banking on repeated returns.
If you have more daring tastes in TV, then you probably watched Bonding in 2019. Centered around the world of sadomasochism, the comedy was fittingly bawdy but earned plaudits for depicting its subject – according to Metro’s Tilly Pearce – in “a bold and unjudgmental way.” Going forward, fans can expect a second helping of the series to drop in 2020.
Matt Groening has a history of creating game-changing animation – from The Simpsons to Futurama. And yet it took fans a while to come around to his latest series Disenchantment. After a lukewarm debut in 2018, the funny fantasy made a bigger impression on audiences with its second outing. So, hopefully Disenchantment’s next run – which will come in 2021 – will cement its status as a slow-burning success.
While it may be a guilty pleasure to some, high school series Elite has its fair share of critical acclaim. The Spanish-language drama’s first season even has a rare 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And if you haven’t watched this European gem yet, you still have time to binge it before season four hits some time in the near future.
6. Into the Night
Created by Narcos’ producer Jason George, Into the Night satisfied its audience’s thirst for thrillers in 2020. It’s estimated, in fact, that the apocalyptic drama was seen by up to seven million viewers – not bad for Netflix’s first TV commission from Belgium. With that in mind, the platform made the right decision in renewing the series shortly after its first season.
The last season of GLOW ended with many fans’ questions unanswered. Would Carmen rejoin the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling? Would Sam get Justine’s movie made? And would Ruth reconsider Debbie’s directorial offer? Thankfully, Netflix decided to renew the show – which has won three Emmys – in 2019. And its upcoming fourth season will also be its last, so we should expect all loose ends to be tied up.
4. Lost in Space
Much like its predecessor – which originally ran for three seasons in the 1960s – the rebooted Lost in Space will finish after its third set of episodes. But this won’t be the end for showrunner Zack Estrin. After seeing his show through to its natural conclusion in 2021, the creator is set to helm a host of original series for Netflix.
It seems that Lucifer doesn’t know when to stay dead. Following its cancellation by Fox in 2018, the comic book adaptation was picked up by Netflix before being dropped once again the following year. Yet the streaming service clearly had a change of heart, as in June 2020 it was announced that a sixth season would eventually enter production.
2. Top Boy
If anyone is a fan of Top Boy, then they have rapper Drake to thank for the show’s success. Originally seen only on U.K. TV, the British crime drama was discovered by the musician, who helped the series switch over to Netflix in 2017. And perhaps owing to Drizzy, the show will return for a fourth season some time in the near future.
A hit with audiences and critics alike, Ozark has brought critical kudos to Netflix since its 2017 debut. So far, in fact, this tale of a white-collar family turned cartel associates has racked up 14 Emmy nominations. But all good things must come to an end, and in June 2020 Netflix announced that Ozark’s upcoming fourth season will be its last.
If you enjoyed Netflix’s The King, however, then you should probably know that the 2019 film doesn’t tell you everything about Henry V. Yep, the ruler was definitely more multi-faceted than his on-screen portrayal suggests. And here’s exactly what the movie left out.
At a glitzy premiere at Venice Film Festival, an audience of Hollywood’s finest look on as Netflix’s The King unfolds on screen. Young, dark and brooding, this version of Henry V is the heir to Shakespeare’s tortured hero – a conflicted king attempting to do his duty in a bloody world. But this movie only tells one side of the story, and the real leader was a far more complex man.
Starring Timothée Chalamet as Henry V, The King premiered in September 2019 and appeared in theaters the following month. And that November it made its way to the online streaming service that had bankrolled its production. Over the following months, millions tuned in to watch the historical drama – although some have raised questions over the historical accuracy of the tale.
Many fictionalized versions of Henry’s life have been told over the years, but Netflix’s latest attempt might just be the most controversial yet. Following the English king from a misspent youth to the battlefield of Agincourt, it’s certainly a dramatic retelling of his eventful life. But as is often the case, the truth is even stranger than fiction.
Just like the modern monarch of the United Kingdom – Queen Elizabeth II – Henry V was not raised to be king. Born in Monmouth, Wales, in September 1386, he grew up with his cousin Richard II on the throne. But then everything would change just 13 years later.
In 1399 a rebellion deposed Richard II and placed Henry’s father, Henry Bolingbroke, on the throne. Crowned King of England that year, Henry IV gave his son the title Prince of Wales soon after coming to power. However, historians tell us that the pair did not always see eye-to-eye.
At first, the younger Henry was eager to prove himself, and he got his chance three years later in Wales. The rebel Owain Glyndŵr had been mustering forces against the king, and Henry joined his father on the battlefield. In the end, the crown succeeded in suppressing the uprising – although the prince sustained a near-fatal injury from an arrow in the process.
Back at court, the prince began to take a more active role in politics. However, he often disagreed with his father over matters of foreign affairs. Ultimately, in 1411 Henry IV dismissed his son from government – an arrangement that continued until his death two years later. Consequently, the young man was crowned King Henry V that April.
From the beginning, Henry V’s actions painted him as a somewhat contradictory king. At times, he took steps to be peaceful and reconciliatory. For example, he arranged for Richard II’s body to be respectfully reinterred and reinstated his father’s former enemies to power. But he could also be ruthless with those who he perceived to be a threat to his reign.
In 1414 just such a threat appeared in the form of the Lollard movement – an early group pushing for the reformation of Christianity. And three years later, Henry executed their leader Sir John Oldcastle – despite the fact that the men had once been firm friends. However, the king’s domestic troubles were nothing compared to what was happening abroad.
According to historians, Henry, like many British monarchs, believed that the lands of France were rightly his to rule. And with the French king Charles VI descending into madness, the time must have seemed ripe to make a move. So, in August 1415 the monarch led his men across the channel – capturing the fortress of Harfleur.
Buoyed by his success, Henry went against the wishes of his advisors and led his army overland to Calais. But he was intercepted by Charles’ forces before he could reach the coastal city. What followed was a brutal battle between the two sides, and it was one that it seemed the English king was unlikely to win.
Close to the French village of Agincourt, Henry and his men faced up to an army which vastly outnumbered their own. In fact, some accounts have put the difference at as many as 25,000 fighters. However, other estimates suggest that Charles’ forces were only greater than his opponent’s by some 3,000 or so.
Despite grim odds, however, Henry emerged victorious – although different tales have been told regarding the secret to his success. One belief is that the battlefield was treacherously muddy, and the advancing French soldiers soon became stuck. There, they became prime targets for a bloody slaughter that left some 6,000 of Charles’ men dead.
Henry returned home a hero after the Battle of Agincourt. But it was not long before he turned his attention to the lands across the channel once more. In 1417 he launched an aggressive attack on France – ultimately defeating Charles once and for all. Subsequently, in May 1420 the Treaty of Troyes officially recognized the English king as the heir to the French throne.
Now set to be King of France after Charles’ death, Henry cemented his power with a marriage to the French princess Catherine of Valois. But while his wife was in England giving birth to their son, the monarch remained in her homeland – stamping out the last vestiges of rebellion. Ultimately, however, he would not live to reap the rewards of his tireless campaign.
In August 1422 Henry passed away in a chateau near Paris. And although his cause of death is a matter of some debate, many believe that it was dysentery – contracted during his final campaign. With his father dead, the infant Henry VI became king at just nine months old.
After Henry’s death, Catherine remarried a Sir Owen Tudor and kickstarted a dynasty that would ultimately become one of the most powerful in England. But what about the legacy that her first husband left behind? Well, he is today remembered as one of the heroes of the Hundred Years’ War thanks to his victory at Agincourt. However, there was more to this monarch than meets the eye.
Some 170 years after Henry’s death, the playwright William Shakespeare began working on a group of plays that would become known as the Henriad. Including the three works Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2 and Henry V, this series plots the rise of the young prince from hedonist to troubled king.
Sometimes, the Henriad is also said to contain the play Richard II – as well as Shakespeare’s later works dramatizing the reigns of successive kings. But whichever definition one takes, it is clear that the Elizabethan writer meant to depict Henry as a great hero. And despite the fact that much of these works are fiction, they have come to define how the monarch is seen today.
For example, while the real Henry undoubtedly fought with his father, there is little evidence to suggest that the disagreement went beyond politics. But in Shakespeare’s plays, the rift is painted as a far more poetic showdown. In Henry IV, this reaches a peak when the future king – dubbed Prince Hal – is shown stealing the crown from his sleeping father.
Later in the play, however, the prince and his father reconcile. And on his deathbed, Henry IV happily hands the crown of England over to his son. According to Shakespeare, it is the start of a largely successful reign. And while the playwright did not gloss over the perils of war, Henry V ultimately serves as a patriotic love letter to the king.
Nevertheless, the Henry depicted by Shakespeare was certainly not perfect by any means. Throughout Henry IV, for example, a character known as Sir John Falstaff provides the grim story with much-needed comic relief. However, towards the end of the final act the king renounces his old friend – who eventually dies off-stage.
Despite these flaws, however, Shakespeare’s Henry is ultimately depicted as the hero who led England to victory at Agincourt. And over the years, it’s a story that has replayed time and again in countless adaptations. Now, Timothee Chalamet has stepped into the shoes of the titular king – perpetuating this version of events well into the 21st century.
On the surface, The King is another adaptation of the Henriad – dealing with Henry’s journey from childhood to the battlefield. However, director David Michôd has taken quite a few liberties with the source material and has depicted his protagonist as an even more conflicted soul.
In both Shakespeare and Michôd’s versions, for example, Henry is introduced as a hedonistic young man immersed in the wilder pleasures of London. However, The King seeks to add a deeper level to the future monarch’s misspent youth. According to this adaptation, the prince’s actions are done as an act of rebellion against his father’s war-mongering ways.
In fact, the Henry played by Chalamet is something of a pacifist. And while the movie does not shy away from depicting him in the throes of war, it also shows him as reluctant to join the conflict at first. Similarly, Michôd’s monarch also takes a far softer approach when it comes to his old friend Falstaff.
Although The King still shows the deterioration of the relationship between Henry and Falstaff, the two men ultimately reconcile. In fact, while Shakespeare kills off his comic relief before the start of Henry V, Michôd’s Falstaff remains a main character throughout the movie. And when his friend meets a bloody fate, Henry clearly mourns his passing.
However, the Henry depicted in The King is not always a softer and more emotional man. In the scene where his father dies, for example, there is no last-minute reconciliation. Instead, the prince lashes out at the king during his final hours – looking on in silence as he takes his final breaths.
But while the character of Henry varies slightly between adaptations, it seems, most of these iterations are cut from the same cloth. So just how accurate is this tale of a reformed prince who goes on to become one of England’s biggest heroes? According to historians, this is only part of the story, and the truth paints a very different picture of the war-hungry king.
But The King doesn’t just leave out vast chunks of Henry’s life – it also wildly misrepresents a number of historical events. For example, the hedonistic youth depicted by Shakespeare and faithfully reproduced by Michôd is part of the monarch’s legend. However, there is little evidence to suggest that it actually took place.
According to some scholars, the image of Henry as a playboy perpetuated by Shakespeare – and by Michôd in turn – is likely little more than a myth. In fact, it has been pointed out that the young prince actually had a record of being very active in his father’s affairs. But if this is the case, then why does history remember him as a cad?
Apparently, this misrepresentation of Henry could have something to do with the way in which his political enemies depicted him at the time. And interestingly, it is far from the only piece of fiction that has found its way into The King. For example, Sean Harris’ Lord Chief Justice is shown as deceiving the monarch into war. However, these actions appear to have little basis in fact, according to U.K. newspaper The Mirror.
Similarly, the scene in which the Lord Justice’s deceit is revealed – and he is subsequently murdered by the angered monarch – is apparently pure fiction, too. Entire characters, rather than just events, have been altered and invented in order to help the story along. For example, the publication added that the Shakespearean character of Falstaff – who Michôd includes in The King – did not exist in real life.
Historians have confirmed that Henry did have a friend who was involved in the Lollard movement – Sir John Oldcastle, who he’d had executed back in 1417. And in early drafts of Henry V the Falstaff character appears under this name. However, this figure – and Joel Edgerton’s brooding yet loyal friend – eventually bore little resemblance to the man who they were based on.
Another liberty taken by The King, it seems, is its inclusion of the French dauphin Louis on the battlefield at Agincourt. In real life, according to Smithsonianmag.com, the young prince was not present for the conflict that would decide his family’s future. In fact, just a few months later, he succumbed to dysentery – missing out on the humiliation of being ousted from the line of succession.
But while all of this points to several historical inaccuracies in the plot of The King, there is also a darker side to the Netflix adaptation. Christophe Gilliot of the Agincourt museum argued that Henry was nothing short of a war criminal. Moreover, he claimed that the new movie is guilty of perpetuating a damaging, anti-French narrative in turbulent times.
“I’m outraged,” Gilliot told The Telegraph in November 2019. “The image of the French is really sullied. The film has Francophobe tendencies. The British far-right are going to lap this up, it will flatter nationalist egos over there.” Moreover, he argued that Henry was a far more brutal and vicious man than The King would have us believe.
According to Gilliot, Henry presided over a band of soldiers who spent their time “raping and pillaging” across France. However, that somewhat unsavory tendency failed to make it into the final cut. Moreover, he claims that the movie does not focus enough on the king’s brutal execution of prisoners even after the battle was over.
Finally, there is one more dark truth about Henry’s life that did not make it into The King. After Agincourt and his marriage to Catherine, the monarch returned to the battlefield and ultimately spent his final days there. But rather than a hero’s death, he perished of supposed dysentery – a gruesome end for the man who had conquered France.
Critics have responded to The King with mixed reviews since its release in 2019. And while some have lauded the movie as a historical epic, others have panned its slow pacing and relentless gloom. Meanwhile, Gilliot is worried about the legacy that it will leave behind. He told The Telegraph, “The public will always prefer a film to a history book. But here there are people under this earth, people who really died in this battle, that’s what disturbs me the most.”