Netflix just canceled its best French series: a painful symbol

Series Funny sadly it ends after only one season, due to disappointing viewing figures. With it, the illusion of platforms as “creative oases” hoped for by the French creative industry definitively disappears.

It’s a decision that will disappoint viewers, but above all it sends a sad signal to the French fiction-making industry. Series Funnyput online March 18, 2022 after more than three years of development, it won’t have a season 2, the Inrockuptibles reveal this May 12.

We made the difficult decision not to renew Funny for a second season, after almost three years of working together and a fruitful collaboration with Fanny Herrero, Les Films du Kiosque and the whole team. Our subscribers could not find their account there “Netflix explained to Inrocks.

The message is very clear: the audience registered on the subscription video on demand platform (SVOD) in the last two months has not been high enough to bet on a second season. And this, even if it was already being written.

The Funny series on Netflix // Source: Mika Cotellon / Netflix

Why Netflix’s cancellation of Funny is painful

Some would say that it is the law of series, in France as elsewhere: broadcasters are constrained by audience objectives, whether it is a linear TV channel or an on-demand streaming platform. Those who hold the scholarships – Netflix was the broadcaster and co-producer here – must be able to find their own way financially.

However, the symbol is painful. One, because the decision may seem abrupt: after three years of development, leaving a project only two months to find its audience can seem concise.

The decision also stings why Funny was clearly the best French series launched by Netflix since its debut. Behind the great success is Fanny Herrero, his showrunner Ten percent, a project that had been in the French audiovisual boxes for more than a decade and that had managed to appropriate and transform into an exceptional success (we know of a dozen remakes all over the world). Three years ago, Netflix France creative director Damien Couvreur and his teams made no secret of how excited they were about developing his next production, and gave him the time and freedom to do so.

Today, according to our information, the production companies that trade with Netflix France feel rather that it is necessary to focus on lighter series, closer to the soap. The goal is probably to match the successes of the publicEmilia in Paris you hate The Bridgerton Chroniclebut far from shining for their screenplay quality.

Daphne and Simon in the Bridgerton Chronicle // Source: Netflix screenshot
Daphne and Simon in the Bridgerton Chronicle // Source: Netflix screenshot

Netflix is ​​not the “great savior” of French writers

The signal sent to the whole sector is quite severe. We have to go back to a not so distant era to understand this. Before the era of platforms, a decade ago, French screenwriters had to follow a marked path to create their works: entering a production company, which would make the connection with linear broadcasters, a few – TF1, France Télévisions, M6, the hugely popular Canal +, or the new low budget ones like OCS.

The arrival of Netflix and other Amazon Prime Videos in the French original production ecosystem has brought a wind of hope to French fiction: more potential broadcasters means more chances of seeing his project succeed. More interestingly, the platforms had a reputation for being less driven by immediate audience logic, because the content stays online forever and can benefit from headwinds.

It was, however, an error of assessment, fueled by many hopes, few fantasies and a certain dose of storytelling on the part of the platforms, always preferring to talk about creativity about what figures. But the facts are more crude: the law of numbers governs all broadcasters, linear and otherwise.

Netflix is ​​currently in a complicated patch, having lost 200,000 subscribers for the first time in a quarter. The company also plans to launch cheaper deals, but with advertising, giving up one of its founding principles. But the cancellation waves of productions that don’t attract enough subscribers aren’t new.

In 2017 the platform had suffered a lot of criticism by canceling two series in quick succession, Sense8 et The Get Down, which highlighted gender minorities and racialized people. At the time, observers seemed to find that Netflix was governed, like everyone else, by the logic of audience and profitability.

Netflix, Amazon Prime and soon HBO Max … These newcomers to the French fiction market have made it possible to multiply the number of content produced and broadcast in France. their image of “creative oasis” did not last long, however – the disappearance of Funny he should finish sealing the relationship.

Source: Montage Numerama

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