‘First Kill’ Showrunner Speaks Out After Series Canceled: Netflix Failed to Market ‘Compelling Elements’

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First Kill” showrunner Felicia D. Henderson held Netflix accountable while talking to The Daily Beast about the streamer’s decision to cancel her lesbian teenage vampire series after only one season. Netflix announced the cancellation on Aug. 2, nearly two months after the eight-episode first season debuted. Sources told Variety that Netflix axed the series because its low viewership didn’t warrant the price tag of making a second season.

“When I got the call to tell me they weren’t renewing the show because the completion rate wasn’t high enough, of course, I was very disappointed,” Henderson said. “What showrunner wouldn’t be? I’d been told a couple of weeks ago that they were hoping completion would get higher. I guess it didn’t.”

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According to Henderson, Netflix’s marketing for “First Kill” wasn’t exactly ideal. She explained, “The art for the initial marketing was beautiful. I think I expected that to be the beginning and that the other equally compelling and important elements of the show — monsters vs. monster hunters, the battle between two powerful matriarchs, etc. — would eventually be promoted, and that didn’t happen.”

However, Henderson still tipped her hat to Netflix because “they licensed the IP, paid for a pilot script, and gave it a healthy production budget.”

“The creative team was very supportive when we were shooting the show under harrowing conditions— before there were ‘vaccines for all’ in Atlanta, a very overcrowded production hub,” the showrunner added.

“First Kill” quickly gained a passionate social media following, and as Henderson noted, “The show is kick-ass and we were in the top five globally and domestically for three of the first four weeks. I was very hopeful [we’d get a second season].”

“I so enthusiastically signed on to this show [because] it has something for everyone — strong women leads, supernatural intrigue, an epic, Shakespearean battle between warring families, and a prominently featured Black family in the genre space, something Black viewers crave and a general audience needs to be treated to,” Henderson concluded.

The first and only season of “First Kill” is now streaming on Netflix.

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