STREAMING SATURDAY: Sometimes Netflix Sucks

Your friendly neighborhood Netflix cheerleader thinks that the streaming giant sucks at the moment. And it all has to do with Gypsy

Are you a fan of Netflix’s original series Gypsy? If so, be prepared for a sucker punch straight to the gut! Netflix recently announced that it cancelled this amazingly unique series. This happened just six weeks after its premiere, which makes it the quickest cancellation in Netflix’s history. While the streaming service hasn’t given an official reason for cancelling the show, we can take a good guess as the streaming giant’s thought process behind the decision.

A Short-Lived Series
So why am I’m so upset about the cancellation of Gypsy? Because Mrs. Buckler and I streamed the first four episodes over Labor Day weekend. Needless to say, we quickly in love with this intense and compelling psycho-drama. Its premise – a psychologist who secretly infiltrates the lives of her patients – is rather unique. Naomi Watts was great as Jean Holloway, the psychologist who lived a double, triple, and even quadruple life. The supporting cast also did a good job of playing their characters and adding more depth to the story.

A “Maturing” Streaming Service
Netflix hasn’t announced its reason for cutting Gypsy. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why this series had such a short life. As we’ve reported before, Netflix execs believe it has too much original content. To remedy this, Netflix actively seeks shows to cut. Its criteria for keeping or ridding itself of shows boils down to one simple question: Does the series have the numbers? We can assume that Gypsy wasn’t getting the viewership that Netflix deemed necessary to keep it alive.

This was the case for the ill-fated Sense8The Get Down, and Marco Polo. As reported in my July 1, 2017 Streaming Saturday column, I lauded Netflix’s decision to ax these series. I considered it a sign that the streaming service is maturing. That was easy for me to say because I didn’t watch Sense8 or The Get Down. I did enjoy Marco Polo and I was rather impressed that it lasted as long as it did. Series that are set in historical times are notoriously expensive to produce and often don’t acquire more than a small but loyal cult following. (Remember when HBO axed CarnivaleRome, and Deadwood?) It came as no surprise, to me at least, to hear that Marco Polo was cancelled.

I’m more than a little upset to hear that Gypsy has gone the way of the dodo. In some ways, I don’t understand how this unique series didn’t garner more viewers. It’s plot was unlike anything seen in a long time, and Watts’ acting was superb. The more I think about it, Gypsy likely had many qualities that might alienate the average viewer, such as:

  • At times, Jean can be a neglectful mother and wife, which provided more than a few cringe-worthy moments in the series.
  • The personality disorders suffered by the characters are given a nuanced and subtle portrayal that requires viewers to figure things out for themselves.
  • The events unfold at a slow pace, almost to the point of it appearing that the show is “going nowhere.”
  • The characters and situations present plenty of moral ambiguity rather than the typical good-guy-versus-bad-guy dichotomy.
  • Gypsy hinges on the viewer’s ability to identify with Naomi Watts’ morally-flawed Jean Holloway character. For those who can’t, Gypsy could make for some difficult viewing.

I’ll Get Over It, When I Get to the Upside Down
The axing of Gypsy isn’t my first rodeo. But if there’s one thing this ol’ cowboy would like to see, it’s a built-in clause that requires networks and streaming services to create a movie to wrap up every series they plan to cancel. I would love to see Gypsy, a Netflix original movie. It would be a great way to conclude this creative and intriguing storyline. Ironically, I said the same thing when Netflix cancelled Marco Polo, but no such movie was ever made. So, I still think Netflix sucks, at least for now. With the second season of Stranger Things right around the corner, I’m sure I’ll get over it.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.