Netflix axes Cowboy Bebop after just one season

Cowboy Bebop
(Image credit: Netflix)

Sorry, Cowboy Bebop fans – Netflix has canceled the show after just one season. 

The live-action series, based on the jazz-inspired anime show of the same name from the 1990s, had taken years to reach the screen, but ultimately performed poorly with critics and audiences. 

Cowboy Bebop wasn’t without viewers, mind – to date, it’s garnered a respectable 74 million viewing hours since its debut – but that interest didn’t translate into positive reception. 

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the 10-episode series only managed to rack up a 56% positive audience score, with an even lower critical equivalent of 46%. The move to axe the show comes less than three weeks after its Netflix debut on November 19.

Responding to the cancellation on Twitter, Cowboy Bebop writer and producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach said: "I truly loved working on this. It came from a real and pure place of respect and affection. I wish we could make what we planned for a second season, but you know what they say, men plan, god laughs. See you, space cowboy..."

As per The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix took pride in commissioning a risky project like Cowboy Bebop, with insiders noting that the streamer’s renewal rate for scripted series with two or more seasons stands at 60% (widely considered the industry average).

Jupiter’s Legacy, a Netflix show based on equally unfamiliar IP, was also seemingly cancelled after a single season earlier in the year, while FX axed the hotly-anticipated Y: The Last Man despite similar hype for its arrival. 

In that sense, then, major streamers are clearly willing to produce left-field projects that aren’t guaranteed to prove critical and commercial successes – but their tolerance for poor performance often stops after one bad run. 

Arcane, by contrast, is on track to become Netflix's next big hit, having accumulated over 38 million hours of viewing time in the last seven days alone. 

As such, it's already received the green light from upstairs for a second season – further proof that new shows really do live and die by their audiences. 

Axel Metz
Phones Editor

Axel is TechRadar's UK-based Phones Editor, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest AI breakthroughs as part of the site's Mobile Computing vertical. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.  Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.