Netflix’s cancellation of its live-action Cowboy Bebop adaptation after only one season is a bit surprising, leaving fans of the series looking for answers. The show premiered in full on November 19th with ten episodes, to the great anticipation of viewers who have enjoyed Cowboy Bebop since the original, iconic anime version was released in 1998. The announcement that Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop had been canceled after one season thus comes as a bit of an unexpected tragedy, although the show was not without its detractors.
Cowboy Bebop follows the quirky adventures of an unlikely group of bounty hunters as they travel the solar system desperate for cash. The anime’s primary characters are ex-mobster Spike Spiegel, ex-cop Jet Black, grifter Faye Valentine, child hacker Radical Edward, and Ein the Welsh Corgi. All but Ed are regulars in the live-action version as well, with Spike being played by John Cho, Jet by Mustafa Shakir, and Faye by Daniella Pineda in Netflix’s adaption. Cowboy Bebop‘s anime is legendary for many reasons, including its highly stylistic aesthetic and expertly paced, soulful story-telling. With such distinctive, strong material to draw on, expectations for Netflix’s live-action take were expectedly and enormously high.
Ultimately, Netflix has canceled the possibility of a Cowboy Bebop season 2 because the show simply didn’t meet its expectations well enough. Though the series did perform fine when viewed objectively, the response wasn’t as positive as it should have been given the hype, with less-than-incredible viewership stats and ratings, and a mixed audience response that even included significant backlash. Netflix may be a production powerhouse at the moment, but some of these problems are hard even for the streaming giant to look past.