The Netflix Curse: Will These Shows Fall Victim?

Netflix is cursed. No, really, it is. How else would you explain an original series that has an amazing first season, but the second season fails to deliver on that promise? Tell me if this sounds familiar: you fall in love with a show after season one. After your binge watch, you wait and wait for a second season until it finally arrives. You soon realize that the show you love has changed, and not for the better. You also discover that your disappointment is echoed in tons of negative reviews from disgruntled fans who feel betrayed. Welcome to the “Netflix Curse.” It’s a thing, and I hope it doesn’t affect the new seasons of Derry Girls, GLOW, and Mindhunter.

The Biggest Victim of the Netflix Curse Was…

Stranger Things. If you’re a regular reader of this column, you probably knew I’d say that. Yes, I’m a Stranger Things geek but I can admit that the show’s first season was its best. It really reached out and grabbed me by my nostalgic heartstrings. I was mildly disappointed with the Chicago story arc in season two, and more than a little disappointed with season three’s bloated storyline. Here were my biggest problems:

  • The cast has gotten too big and couldn’t be all together in the same scenes until the last episode.
  • There were WAY too many last-minute saves, which diminished the feeling that the characters were ever at risk.
  • Some of the new characters were stereotypical and didn’t add much to the plot.
  • Will Byers’ character was largely relegated to grabbing the back of his neck and saying, “It’s here.”
  • We didn’t really learn any more about the Upside Down this season, which was disappointing.

During my pre-teen years, I was a lot like Mike, Dustin, Will, and Lucas. I was a social outcast who spent most of his free time riding his bike and playing Dungeons & Dragons. The latest season focused on the kids navigating teenage life while also battling monsters and saving Hawkins, Indiana. I can’t say I wasn’t warned though. Character Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) said, “We’re not kids anymore. What did you think? We were just going to sit in my basement all day playing games for the rest of our lives?” Can’t say it doesn’t hurt, though.

Derry Girls, Season 2

Being Irish on my mother’s side, I had an immediate interest in Derry Girls. The series is set in 1990s Derry (Northern Ireland). Season one was a hilarious, fun-filled romp that dealt with the disastrous results from the characters’ sometimes stupid decisions. (Art imitates life, right?) It was just the kind of mental palate cleanser I needed after watching heavier shows such as Dark.

After a one-year hiatus, Derry Girls is back for a second season on August 2. Will it be as funny as the first season? Will I care about the characters’ collective and individual fates like I did during season one? I honestly don’t know, but Mrs. Buckler and I will surely find out during a weekend-long binge. Until then, we can try to get an idea of season two from the teasers in this trailer:

GLOW, Season 3

GlOW’s much-anticipated third season premieres on August 9. For those who don’t know, GLOW is the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. It was a short-lived phenomenon that gripped many hearts, minds, and eyeballs in the latter years of the 1980s. Netflix’s GLOW is more than just a nostalgic ’80s romp. It tells a very compelling story of this entertainment franchise from the perspectives of its dynamic female characters.

As you can see from the GLOW season three trailer, there will be plenty of high-cut leotards, big hair, and other iconic ’80s cheese:

To be honest, I doubt this show will become the victim of “the curse.” It’s based on a true story that documents GLOW’s 15 minutes of fame and its sudden disappearance from the airwaves. The reason why the franchise ended is touched upon in a 2012 documentary, and I suspect the Netflix series will offer a fictionalized version of this tragic demise. My prediction: the story and performances are so compelling that GLOW doesn’t fall victim to the Netflix Curse.

Mindhunter, Season 2

The first season of Mindhunter aired on October 13, 2017. Nearly two years later, we’re finally getting the second season of this darkly compelling series. Season two airs August 16 and true crime fans are doing backflips. (Yes, I’m one of them.) This series tells the story of how the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit and its serial killer profiling was created. I’d love to show you a season two trailer, but Netflix hasn’t released one yet. Sorry!

I don’t think Mindhunter will fall victim to the Netflix Curse. Why? The same reason why I think GLOW is safe: it’s based off a powerful true story. This means there’s very little guesswork involved for the writers. I don’t expect to see any distracting and uninteresting tangents like we saw in Stranger Things season two. (Did you read that, Duffer brothers?) I’m hopeful that the Mindhunter writing team will deliver another compelling and curse-free season.

Did the “Netflix Curse” Scare Off Subscribers?

In case you didn’t hear, Netflix recently lost about 130,000 subscribers in the United States. On top of that, it only gained about 2.7 million subscribers worldwide. This fell far short of the company’s rather hopeful projection of adding five million viewers. (Ouch!) Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, blamed the company’s woes on recent price hikes and a “lack of original content.” Well, he’s half right.

I don’t think any streamer would say that Netflix has a lack of original content. If anything, the streaming service provider has more original movies and TV series for any one person to see. The real problem is that Netflix’s original content is weak on the follow-through. The magic of the first season rarely carries over to the next, and that’s likely the result of too many people involving themselves in the writing process. (It’s called “design by committee” and it’s a creativity killer.) Fix that, Mr. Hastings, and you might see your numbers go up.

What Do You Think, Netflix Customers?

Is the “Netflix Curse” really a thing? Or am I being too harsh on subsequent seasons of some of my favorite shows? I’d like to hear what fellow Netflix viewers think about these things. I think bouncing these ideas off fellow streamers… anyone except Stuart Sweet, that is. He took one look at the GLOW season two trailer and said, “It looked sloppy and boring, and season one is way better.” That falls in line with my “Netflix Curse Theory” (I’m calling it that now.), but I think grumpy Mr. Sweet is just being a grump. What do you think?

Speaking of Streaming Service Providers…

…What’s up with Disney Plus? When this streaming service was announced, I expected it would offer literally every Disney movie in existence right from the get go. Not so, according to a more recent announcement. When the streaming service does launch, it will do so with a handful of Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars titles, plus several shows from its iconic Disney brand.

Sure, that’s a respectable amount of content, but it’s hardly the be-all-end-all Disney destination I thought it would be. I’m left with a few questions, the first being is Disney Plus’s initial bid enough to justify the service’s $70 annual price tag? Secondly, how long will it take for the service to get more content? So, what say you, Disney fans? Can we expect a subscriber and earnings loss statement in the “Mickey Mouse network’s” future, much like Netflix? I’d like to know.