Netflix cancels a promising big-name show before it's even finished

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Netflix, once infamous for its tendency to green-light almost anything, has canned a sizable comedy property before it had the chance to see the light of day.

Titled Bad Crimes, the show is described by Variety as a "dark comedy procedural following Kara (Nicole Byer) and Jennie (Lauren Lapkus), two FBI agents who travel across the country to solve grisly crimes while juggling their friendship, career ambitions, and as many men as possible."

Lauren Lapkus has previous appeared in Big Bang Theory and Jurassic World, while Nicole Byer has appeared in Brooklyn 99 and hosts Netflix's own criminally underrated Nailed It! baking show. The animated comedy was reportedly mid-production when Netflix executives decided to pull the plug. The streaming giant confirmed a series order of the show back in January 2022.

The outlet also reports that Netflix cited “creative” reasons behind the cancellation, which suggests company high-ups weren’t confident in the show's chances – though it sounds like the Bad Crimes production team is shopping around for another TV streaming service to finish the job.

There was certainly a lot of comedy royalty attached to the project, with Greg Daniels (The Office, Upload), Mike Judge (King of the Hill) and Erica Hayes (Big Mouth) all involved. And given Netflix’s fondness for adult animated comedies – BoJack Horseman, The Midnight Gospel, Big Mouth, and the like – it’s a shame to see a potential contender scrapped before viewers got a chance to see it.

Closed for business

It hasn’t been the rosiest year for Netflix. The streaming service has been laying off staff, coping with falling subscriber numbers, and seeing investor confidence in the stock market tumble.

We’re a long way from the early days of online streaming, when Netflix was a byword for the sector, and it seemed impossible for any challengers to catch up. Now, though, Disney Plus is soaring ahead, eating into Netflix’s business and hosting the biggest franchises of the day: Marvel, Star Wars, Disney-Pixar, and now even the classic British export Doctor Who.

The return of mega-hit Stranger Things has helped to stabilize Netflix’s fortunes for now, seeing the service add 2.4 million subscribers after months of consistent decline. But it’s clear that, between Netflix’s crackdown on account sharing and the imminent introduction of an ad-supported subscription tier, the company is having to be a lot more calculating with where it spends its resources. 

Regardless, let’s hope Bad Crimes finds a home elsewhere. I hear Disney Plus has some cash to spend?

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.