‘First Kill’ Showrunner ‘Disappointed’ by Cancellation, Wishes Netflix Marketed ‘Compelling Elements’

Netflix has attracted plenty of negative attention for its content strategy lately, with many accusing the streaming giant of relying too heavily on algorithms and not giving creators enough space and resources to thrive. While much of that commentary has come from outside the company, one of its former employees has joined the chorus of critics.

Felicia D. Henderson, who was in charge of the Netflix series “First Kill” before it was canceled after one season this week, aired her grievances about the axing in a new interview with The Daily Beast. She explained that Netflix canceled the vampire series just two months after it premiered on the service, citing insufficient performance on key viewership benchmarks. She claims that Netflix had previously expressed hope that early stumbles would not be permanent setbacks, but that the series was swiftly canceled when numbers did not improve.

“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.”

While anyone would be disappointed to see their show canceled, Henderson was especially bothered by the fact that she never felt like Netflix promoted the aspects of the show that could have made it a hit.

“The art for the initial marketing was beautiful,” she said. “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.”

In the end, what Henderson regrets the most is that she can’t develop the unique story elements that drew her to the project in the first place.

“I so enthusiastically signed on to this show [because] it has something for everyone,” she said. “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.”

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