Netflix made a mistake when it canceled this show, it was just hitting its stride

(Image credit: Netflix)

When stories have been written over the past few months about Netflix's spate of cancelations, focus has been on the sheer number of them, rather than which shows have been chopped. 

There was some mild sadness over Archive 81, which horror fans had enjoyed, and disappointment that hugely acclaimed family-drama The Baby-Sitters Club wasn't get more time, but the likes of sci-fi epic Another Life, superhero drama Raising Dion and a swathe of animated cancelations  didn't raise too much protest. 

That hasn't always been the case. When Netflix axed The OA, the outcry was deafening. One fan was so angered by the decision that she went on a hunger strike outside Netflix's Los Angeles HQ, and there are not one, but two active petitions willing Netflix to change its mind and order one more season. It was the same with Sense8, the big-budget drama from Lana and Lilly Wachowski, which had fans up in arms when news of its cancelation came. In the end, fans were placated somewhat when a two-hour special episode was released in 2018. 

Personally, I was very disappointed by the end of GLOW, the Alison Brie-led show about the scrappy origins of a female wrestling show, which had found its feet as a quirky, big-hearted comedy-drama with a great ensemble. But it had enjoyed three seasons, and, while it deserved a fourth, I can live with that outcome. 

But there's one show's premature end that really got my goat, a show that was just hitting its stride and could have developed into something very special, only for Netflix to cut it down after just one season...

A Cursed decision...


Katherine Langford's Nimue in action (Image credit: Netflix)

That show is Cursed. It had so much potential. It was a big-hearted fantasy drama with a fresh twist on a classic story, a charismatic star and a world that I wanted to see expanded. Then Netflix canceled it after just one season. 

Led by 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford, the show respun the Arthurian legend, focusing on Nimue, a young woman with magical powers who teams up with Arthur, then a young mercenary. The two unite in a quest to find the magician Merlin and deliver an ancient sword to him. 

Their quest is interrupted, however, by a terrifying group known as the Red Paladins, religious zealots on a mission to wipe our magic from the world, who have managed to make the spineless King Uther complicit in their actions. 

The show's first run was dynamic, pacy and full of great performances, particularly from Langford, and Devon Terrell, who played the young Arthur. The pair's chemistry grew as the season went on as they went up against Peter Mullan's terrifying Father Carden, the leader of the Red Paladins. 

To make matters worse, the series ended with a proper cliffhanger, just as the Knights of the Roundtable were beginning to show themselves and form a real gang.

While the cost of making the show was no doubt expensive, Cursed's reviews were good, and this young cast, most of which were largely unknowns, had gelled into something special. As the world expanded and more familiar Arthurian tales would be told, I was excited to see how things developed, and was sure it would build a bigger audience. 

It also felt like the kind of show that everybody from young teenagers to retirees would enjoy, with clear storytelling and themes that treated everybody like adults, even the viewers who weren't there yet. 

Given a second season, it could have grown into something very special. 

Was it Cursed from the start?


Peter Mullan as Father Carden in Cursed (Image credit: Netflix)

Maybe. As he toured fancy hotels and TV studios to talk his grossly-overlong restored cut of Justice League, Zack Snyder revealed he was working on a new take on the legend of King Arthur, one that would be set during the gold rush of the 19th century. The first announcement of such a project would have yielded a chorus of wails from movie studio executives everywhere, because, try as they might, nobody can seem to get King Arthur right and the list of expensive failures is piling up. 

Guy Ritchie tried and cost Warner Bros. over $200 million in doing so, Antoine Fuqua’s 2004 effort was a bomb and Starz’ expensive TV adaptation, Camelot, was nixed after one season. 

Cursed was different from those attempts. One, it was actually coherent, and, two, it felt agile and creative, feeling faithful to the Arthurian legend at the same time as trying to push it in a new direction. It was also brilliant fun and deserved to grow into a five-season drama. 

What a shame. 

Want to catch up on everything canceled by Netflix in 2022 thus far? We've compiled all the shows here.

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…