Netflix’s spree on killing shows continues with the cancellation of the TV show “First Kill.” Even with the show having huge numbers in its first two weeks, The streaming giant effectively put a stake through its heart and shoved it out to sunlight to char the remains, giving it no more legs and no more episodes.
Debuting during Pride Month, the lesbian vampire/vampire hunter romance show was viewed more than 30 million hours in its first week. Meanwhile, the British romantic comedy “Heartstopper,” was watched for only nearly 15 million hours in its first week in April.
The cancellation shocked many people due to “First Kill” being very popular in the LGBTQ+ sphere, particularly the WLW/Lesbian demographics. While the show debuted with criticism based on the writing, sexualization and the paltry CGI, this is the first show that gave lesbians a corny show to call their own.
One reason fans believe the show was canceled for was due to the main vampire hunter protagonist being a dark-skin Black woman, Calliope ‘’Cal’’ Burns played by Imani Lewis. Some believe that there is colorism involved against the show due to the character not only being Black, but also dark skinned. Another theory fans have about the cancelation is that even though it did huge numbers when it first premiered, people thought that Netflix valued more gay relationship shows compared to lesbian shows, with “Heartstopper” leading the fray and being confirmed for a second season.
As a Black bisexual woman, I truly was interested in “First Kill” and how it had a dark-skinned woman as one of the leads. One of my favorite shows on Netflix was the lesbian lead “I Am Not Okay With This,” which was also canceled by Netflix after its first season. Sadly, many people and I see a pattern with this being the third show that Netflix has canceled with a lesbian lead. The first of these shows being “Everything Sucks,” and then “I Am Not Okay with This,” and now “First Kill.”
The show’s showrunner, Felicia D. Henderson, blamed the cancellation on bad to non-existent promo and the little promo of the show being highly sexualized images of the protagonists instead of showing the more fantastical elements of the show such as the monster hunting, powerful leaders, and the mythical creatures of the show.
In contrast, some say that “Heartstopper” was expanded more due to it being a part of series of graphic novels, but that is no excuse for this show to be canceled even if it had a shorter span of source material as a part of an anthology book, a collection of stories focused on vampires by multiple authors including V.E. Schwab who wrote the story that inspired the show.
“First Kill” deserved better, not just for lesbian representation, but also for Black representation. I want to see a badass vampire hunter that looks similar to me, cut through the creatures of the night while also having a forbidden tryst with one of the creatures she is destined to kill. Netflix is playing a dangerous game with its subscribers, and this game may be deadly to their company.