Another great Netflix sci-fi adventure has been axed too soon

the midnight gospel
(Image credit: Netflix)

In the early months of 2022, it felt like not a day went by without Netflix canceling something. 

Superhero drama Raising Dion got canned, so did acclaimed horror Archive 81, and the streaming giant's animation slate was decimated, with Meghan Markle's in-development adventure among the casualties.

Things have been quieter in recent weeks, though, with Netflix-related news instead seeming to focus on the rollout of adverts on the platform and its planned crackdown on password-sharing. Now, however, it's back to canceling things, and, it's critically-acclaimed animated adventure Midnight Gospel which has been given the chop. 

Midnight Gospel was an adult animated show, created by Adventure Time mainman Pendleton Ward and comedian Duncan Trussell. The series followed a spacecaster by the name of Clancy Gilroy, who lives in a malfunctioning multiverse simulator and decides to leaves the comfort of his home to interview beings living in dying worlds.

Each being was voiced by a different guest, with comedian Pauly Shore and musician Bonnie Prince Billy among the guests. 

The series debuted in April 2020 and picked up scores of good reviews, with a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but word had been quiet on a second season, despite Trussell expressing an interest in doing more. 

The show's cancelation was then confirmed by Trussell over the weekend in a tweet. 

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Trussell went on to express his gratitude to Netflix for taking a chance on the show to begin with, and added that, in his mind, "...there’s one more season, but the sentient glass 'deciding' cube [Netflix] keep in their catacombs vibrated 'No more.' And it’s hard to argue with a cube."

Analysis: Another one bites the dust

Netflix's belt-tightening isn't confined to animated projects, with layoffs, canceled film sequels and big-name dramas being culled, but it does feel like animation has been hit particularly hard. 

All of this can be traced back to the announcement that Netflix has lost 200,000 subscribers since the start of 2022. That drop has seen $70 billion fall off the company's market value and was accompanied, at the time, by news that Netflix had stripped back its animation slate. 

Netflix's Director of Creative Leadership and Development for Original Animation, Phil Rynda, was let go, alongside many of his staff, and several projects were shelved. 

Among the canceled animation projects were a high-profile adaptation of Roald Dahl's The Twits, a new series based Jeff Smith's beloved comic book series Bone, Lauren Faust's Toil and Trouble and Wings Of Fire, which was being overseen by Selma's Ava DuVernay. 

As well as that, the streamer also canned a lot of its more-education orientated animated programming with Antiracist Baby, an animated series aimed at very young children, and, With Kind Regards From Kindergarten, which was a movie pointed towards the same demographic, both canceled before they left development. 

Netflix still has quite a few animated projects on the go, mind, with the likes of Big Mouth and Human Resources proving major hits for the streamer, not to mention its large anime slate, but a quick glance at the list on Wikipedia and you'll see 'pending' next to quite a few shows that are awaiting news of their fate.

Midnight Gospel won't be the last to go, sadly. 

Tom Goodwyn
Freelance Entertainment Writer

Tom Goodwyn was formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He's now a freelancer writing about TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in East London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two small children…