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First Kill’s Cancellation Continues A Netflix LGBTQ+ Problem

First Kill’s Cancellation Continues A Netflix LGBTQ+ Problem Image
  • Posted on 05th Aug, 2022 20:14 PM

First Kill has been added to an unfortunately long list of shows starring female LGBTQ+ characters to be canceled by Netflix after just one season.

First Kill was canceled after just one season, joining a growing list of Netflix Originals with female LGBTQ+ lead characters that never saw a second season. The reported reason for the cancellation was that the first season lacked in viewership and episode completions. Yet, First Kill recorded over 100 million streaming hours within the first month of release, far more than renewed Netflix originals like Heartstopper, leaving viewers questioning whether it was truly a viewing issue or part of perceived lesbophobia on Netflix's end.

Season 1 of First Kill, based on the short story of the same name by V.E. Schwab, revolved around the Burns, a Black family of monster hunters whose youngest daughter Calliope was looking for her first kill, and the Fairmonts, a family of Legacy vampires whose youngest daughter Juliette was also looking for her first kill. Throughout the eight-episode arc, Juliette and Calliope not only achieve their first kills but fall in love against the wishes of their families and communities. The cliffhanger finale would have opened up Savannah, Georgia to even more monsters and drama in First Kill season 2 had the show been renewed.

Related: Netflix's LGBTQ+ Rep Is Great (But We Can't Ignore The Problem)

Prior to the release of First Kill, LGBTQ community members urged subscribers to stream the series and for Netflix to provide more promotion for the show on social media in order for it to be a hit. After a string of one-season cancellations with leading LGBTQ female characters from Gypsy to Teenage Bounty Hunters, many community members anticipated First Kill following in their footsteps and attempted to save the show via viewership numbers. Due to this following, many had hoped for a second season, but following the cancellation, First Kill showrunner Felicia D. Henderson argued that the show's marketing was too reductive, focusing almost exclusively on the relationship between Calliope and Juliette when there was so much more to the story to highlight. "I think I expected that to be the beginning and that the other equally compelling and important elements of the show -- monsters vs. monster hunters, the battle between two powerful matriachs, etc. -- would eventually be promoted, and that didn't happen," Henderson said. It highlights a recurring issue with Netflix and its original TV shows, especially featuring women and girls in the LGBTQ+ community.

Netflix's Sapphic Representation Needs Work

Netflix's list of prematurely canceled shows is a long one, and shows revolving around sapphic characters have not fared well on the platform, even with perceived streaming success. Due to this history of cancellation after one season that also includes I Am Not Okay With This and Everything Sucks!, community members have gone as far as to call Netflix lesbophobic and claim that First Kill never stood a chance. A petition to renew the show already has almost 6,000 signatures and #CancelNetflix trended globally alongside #RenewFirstKill on Twitter following the cancellation news. Viewers have also pointed out that there are potential added layers to First Kill's cancellation as it featured a Black lesbian in one of the leading roles, creating a potential intersection of discrimination.

While female LGBTQ+ characters can be found in other successful Netflix originals, such as lesbian Robin Buckley in Stranger Things and Maxine from Ginny & Georgia, they are featured/side characters. Ola and Lily from Sex Education were also featured/side characters, but will not even be returning for the show's upcoming fourth season. Netflix's future with shows that star and highlight LGBTQ+ characters, their relationships, and experiences are unknown, but the cancellation of First Kill and many that came before it prove that Netflix has an LGBTQ+ problem and it needs solving.

More: Why LGBTQ Representation Is So Important In Media

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