The Wachowskis’ Sense8 has been canceled by Netflix after two seasons and one holiday special. Cindy Holland, VP of original content at Netflix, confirmed the cancelation in a statement published on the platform’s press blog.
This marks Netflix’s second major series cancelation in as many weeks, with Baz Luhrmann’s incredibly expensive musical drama The Get Down (season 1 had an estimated budget of $120 million) canceled last week. Luhrmann cited a personal conflict between his status as showrunner and a preexisting film directing contract with Sony for that cancelation, but Netflix CEO Reed Hastings implied at Code Conference yesterday that the show had also fallen short of viewership expectations. There has also been speculation that the relationship between Netflix and Sony Pictures Television has somewhat soured.
Sense8’s budget was also pretty massive, estimated at about $9 million per episode for its second season. (For comparison, Game of Thrones’ early episodes were estimated at $6 million, and it wasn’t until season 6 that it broke an average of $10 million per episode.) The statement from Netflix does not cite a specific reason for the cancelation, stating only “[Sense8] is everything we dreamed it would be: bold, emotional, stunning, kick ass, and outright unforgettable. Never has there been a more truly global show with an equally diverse and international cast and crew[.]”
Though unexplained, the cancelation doesn’t come as a total surprise, as fans have speculated about the lack of a season 3 pickup announcement for weeks. Until recently, however, cancelations of Netflix original series were few and far between, with the only notable examples being Hemlock Grove, Marco Polo, and Bloodline. It seems Netflix is getting more aggressive about cutting its losses when shows don’t become major hits, in keeping with Hastings’ comment yesterday that he has been personally pushing Netflix’s original content team to take bigger risks and let things fail.
We’ve reached out to Netflix for comment and will update if we hear back.