“I thought that the estimate of success would protect us”

Critically acclaimed, the new comedy from the creator of “Ten Percent” embodied a revamp for Netflix. It was clearly canceled on Thursday 12 May. Meeting with its creator, “disappointed. Is sad”.

“Fanny Herrero signs (finally!) The first good French Netflix series”, titled Telerama on March 18 when the release of Funny. A topic in step with the times – the stand-up -, captivating characters, an original social subtext, dramatic promises for the future … Almost the entire press had welcomed this bet by the American platform, which until now had accustomed us to both tasteless projects, like Lupineor done quickly, like Marianne. Netflix would finally exploit its popularity to offer even more atypical series, works of authors. To do what we had hoped for since its launch, to play a role not only economic but also artistic in the world of French series. The rapid cancellation of Funny, that we learned on Thursday 12 May that he would not have a second season, after less than two months online, without having the slightest chance to settle for the duration, makes us fear the opposite: pure accounting logic. Fanny Herrero returns to this disappearance, its causes and consequences.

Did you expect this cancellation?
It’s hot and cold. At the launch of Funny, we were elated, and so were the Netflix teams, who kept telling us how much they loved this project. We felt very warm in this house at that time. The press was enthusiastic, the feedback from the spectators numerous and very positive. I’ve received tons of messages from people who have finally felt represented, who have emphasized the singularity of the series … As a result, I’m disappointed. Is sad. It is such a commitment to create a series, to project yourself in time, to dream of its sequel! Seeing it suddenly canceled, my legs are a bit crooked. I knew that Funny it was not designed to be a success. It is a series of characters, without leading actors, but with artistic ambitions. We remain artists, even on Netflix. Since their French series rarely met with unanimous critical acclaim, I thought this critical success might perhaps protect us, allow us to last a while …

But that wasn’t enough, of course …
We have not met the expectations of the Netflix audience, according to their standards and their algorithm, which nobody really knows. I got access to the figures of Funny, but I cannot communicate them. All I can say is that it is still busy! It is sad to think that all these people will be deprived of the rest, as if we owe them nothing. But it is certain that we do not do as many visualizations as Lupine or Family business. An editorial line can be more than the idea of ​​performance …

“The series still has time to live […] but what matters most, it seems, was its beginning.

How did you find out about this cancellation?
Netflix kept us up to date while it went. A week after its launch, we had the first trends, which are not numbers but indications, a feeling, on the progress of the series. Twenty-eight days have passed since then Funny he was online when we were told he would not continue. Which is extremely fast. Maybe their decision was made earlier. The series still has time to live, it’s still available online, but what matters most, it seems, was its beginning.

In your opinion, what signal does this decision send to the authors of the French series?
Funny it’s a little textbook case. When Netflix comes for me, they expect me to take artistic risks, to do creative work, to surround me with talented people. But all this is taken away by a single marker: did it make the “volume” expected by Netflix? Series is an industry, of course, but also an art that conveys ideas, a vision of society, etc. From this point of view, I thought so Funny it belonged to Netflix. There are boxes like Lupine, and it is very beautiful, with an emblematic character carried by a great popular actor, an effective but sometimes predictable dramaturgy … and at another point on the spectrum there is Funny, more modest in appearance, offering the appearance of an author. It is troubling to think that there is no room for both.

Isn’t that a little naive in today’s highly competitive world of series?
Sure, but you have to be idealistic! Otherwise, what do we need it for? A first season is a prototype. We did it, it touched people, and it’s a good thing. But we might have needed more time to impose ourselves.

Where were you writing the second season?
We had made good progress, two thirds of the episodes were written and validated with great enthusiasm, once again, by Netflix. It is common in the world of series not to wait for the broadcast and to move on with the writing, in order to create an anniversary without waiting two years between one season and another.

Will these episodes end up in the trash?
It is too early to tell. Funny belongs to Netflix. In the United States it is customary to resell a series to another broadcaster because the market is wider. I don’t think so in France.

Will you continue to work with Netflix?
I got engaged to them only in this series. I tend to see the glass as half full, to draw positive lessons from this experience. I will take the time to analyze all of this, including my relationship with the platform. This cancellation shuffles the cards. Now things are very open …

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