Netflix unceremoniously canceled its teen vampire drama “First Kill” Tuesday, after the show aired just one season on the streamer.
The decision was met with outright confusion by diehard fans, who couldn’t help but wonder why “Heartstopper,” another teen show focused on a young LGBTQ couple, got a two-season renewal – especially considering it pulled weaker viewing numbers.
Within the first week of its release on June 10, “First Kill” sunk its teeth in as one of Netflix’s top TV shows. It peaked at No. 3, sitting only behind “Stranger Things” and “Peaky Blinders,” with 48.8 million hours viewed in its first full week. It remained in the streamer’s top 10 shows for its first two weeks of availability, and it flirted with 100 million hours viewed in that time.
Meanwhile, “Heartstopper” saw 14.5 million hours viewed in its first week, and 23.9 million hours in its second week, falling well below the benchmarks of “First Kill.” Fans were quick to point out the discrepancy online.
“Renewing heartstopper for two more seasons and cancelling first kill when it pulled in over 2.2million more views than heartstopper in the first two weeks… im so unbelievably tired of this,” one person tweeted.
renewing heartstopper for two more seasons and cancelling first kill when it pulled in over 2.2million more views than heartstopper in the first two weeks… im so unbelievably tired of this https://t.co/l25z8Eh0I2
— katie ♡’s alex (@troianns) August 3, 2022
this is crazy… wdym first kill got cancelled ??? pic.twitter.com/1Ks1GxL39u
— ceo of kory • JAYVAN DAY (@korysverse) August 3, 2022
Of course, it’s worth noting that “First Kill” is a genre show, with more special effects involved than “Heartstopper,” making it more expensive to film. But, fans addressed that, too, arguing that Netflix didn’t actually give “First Kill” a large budget to work with.
“Netflix saying first kill’s cancellation was bc of views not being enough for the cost when they literally gave them a budget of 5 dollars and a juice box and got 100 million viewing hours in return…” one person ruefully joked.
netflix saying first kill’s cancellation was bc of views not being enough for the cost when they literally gave them a budget of 5 dollars and a juice box and got 100 million viewing hours in return…
— ria. tea’s wife (REAL) (@lgbtzenin) August 3, 2022
first kill did infinitely better in numbers than heartstopper but yk what the difference is? that its a lesbian show and netflix didnt even give it a budget or a chance just like the other shows they’ve cancelled
— CLOSED. (@mjpcters) August 3, 2022
When making renewal decisions, however, it’s also known that Netflix looks at completion rate of its series, not just hours logged. “Heartstopper” is only four hours long, compared to “First Kill” releasing eight hours, which makes completion rate an easier bar to clear for the former series.
But for many, the frustration wasn’t mean to disparage “Heartstopper.” The consensus was that it deserved its two-season renewal. Frustration from the “First Kill” fanbase was more about the treatment of a show focused on a young lesbian relationship – specifically an interracial relationship – compared to one about a relationship between two young, white men.
“We’re not comapring first kill with heartstopper we’re comparing how netflix treats mlm-centric [male-loving-male] shows to how they treat their wlw [woman-loving-woman] shows,” one fan wrote.
“If you’re having a conversation about why First Kill was cancelled don’t forget to mention that Calliope is a darkskin black lesbian lead and nonblacks can deny all they want but Calliope being black especially darkskin plays a huge role its not just bc FK is a lesbian show,” another tweeted.
if you’re having a conversation about why First Kill was cancelled don’t forget to mention that Calliope is a darkskin black lesbian lead and nonblacks can deny all they want but Calliope being black especially darkskin plays a huge role its not just bc FK is a lesbian show
— calliettes quotes bot (@calliettequotes) August 3, 2022
we're not comapring first kill with heartstopper we're comparing how netflix treats mlm-centric shows to how they treat their wlw shows
— kay! (@KlTKATKAY) August 3, 2022
okay sorry we need to address this. there's a trend this year of cancelling shows with black lesbian rep. first batwoman and now first kill? why are black people specifically black lgbtq+ people existing such a problem?
c HSMTMTS SPOILERS (@cvsmicfilm) August 3, 2022
You can check out more responses to the cancelation of “First Kill” below.
i am BEGGING for lesbians to have one thing there was no reason for first kill to be cancelled?? why do y’all hate lesbians so MUCH. One show with representation is all we ask and it hits all the marks of being renewed, and netflixs excuse is that we weren’t watching-
delulu era (@IHE4RTROBIN) August 3, 2022
there was literally no reason to cancel first kill. it had more than 30 million views in its first week and more than 40 million it’s second, it was trending on twitter for weeks before and after it’s release and it was in the top 10 shows in over 80 countries for several weeks
misses em (@GEORGlAWARRSTAN) August 3, 2022
netflix never wanted to renew first kill… they never cared about the views or the fact that it reached top 2 next to fucken stranger things! they didn’t care that it trended on twitter almost everyday since it released. and they especially never cared about a wlw show
— bree (@topazgotjuice) August 3, 2022
maybe first kill wasn’t perfect ( remember their low budget ) BUT the two main characters were lesbians and one of them was black + their queerness was completely normalised and coming out wasn’t the plot. this show was so important!! #savefirstkill
(@lovingxwomen) August 3, 2022
netflix renewed heartstopper for two more seasons but not first kill ?? WHEN FIRST KILL HAD WAYYY MORE STREAMS ? does anyone see the issue here or…
(@isalored) August 3, 2022
this isn’t even about whether you liked first kill or not, it’s the fact that netflix has consistently cancelled every show with a wlw couple as the main focus, regardless of how well the show performs #RenewFirstKill
— freya (@lesbiandarcys) August 3, 2022