Netflix's The Brothers Sun runs out of fuel as highly-rated show is cancelled after one season

TK, Eileen, Bruce, and Charles sit down to eat in Netflix's The Brothers Sun
The sun has set on Netflix's The Brothers Sun after a single season. (Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix fans are mourning the loss of another hit show following The Brothers Sun's cancellation.

Per Deadline and numerous other outlets, Netflix has wielded the cancellation ax once more, this time bringing it down on the Michelle Yeoh-led series after one season. The action comedy-drama only premiered on January 4, meaning it's one of the quickest TV show cancellations in Netflix history. The current record holder is Gypsy, which was canned by the world's best streaming service just six weeks after its only season aired in 2017.

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The Brothers Sun starred Yeoh as Eileen 'Mama' Sun, a Taiwan native who moved to California with her youngest son Bruce (Sam Song Li). However, when her oldest child Charles (Justin Chien) unexpectedly shows up, Eileen is forced to tell Bruce about a long-held family secret: their relatives are some of the most renowned gangsters in the East Asian nation. After an assassination attempt is made on Charles and Bruce's father, Eileen fled to the US – with Bruce in tow – to start her life anew. As the saying goes, though, the past always catches up with you.

Brad Falchuk (American Horror Story, Glee) and Byron Wu (The Getaway) were the brainchilds behind The Brothers Sun, but the duo will be seeking work elsewhere after their latest TV endeavor was consigned to the Netflix scrap heap. Falchuk and Wu, plus the show's main cast, are yet to comment on its cancellation.

Why was The Brothers Sun cancelled by Netflix?

Mama, Bruce, and Charles make dinner as they see someone off camera in Netflix's The Brothers Sun

"Wait, you're cancelling our show? Why?" (Image credit: Netflix)

Simply put, it struggled to draw in a big enough audience. That might seem strange, considering it spent five weeks in the English language section of Netflix's Top 10 TV chart following its January 4 launch. On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, The Brothers Sun is also one of the most highly-rated shows of 2024 so far, with critics (84%) and general audiences (91%) loving what they saw. That critical acclaim helped it land a spot on our best Netflix shows list.

As I mentioned, though, The Brothers Sun wasn't as popular as its acclaim and Netflix chart performance suggest. Indeed, in its first three days on the platform, it only accrued 30.2 million hours viewed – a figure that placed it fifth on Netflix's most-watched TV chart behind the likes of limited series You Are What You Eat: A Twin Experiment and controversial comedian Dave Chapelle's latest comedy special Daydreamer.

The Brothers Sun started to gain traction in its second week on the service – amassing 50.5 million hours streamed in the process – but that's as good as it got. Its final three weeks in Netflix's Top 10 TV show table saw its viewership figures dwindle from 19.7 million to 14.2 million to 11.5 million hours. In total, Netflix's 260 million-strong userbase only watched 126.1 million hours of The Brothers Sun in its first five weeks post-release.

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When you consider some of the most-streamed Netflix TV Originals of all-time have chalked up 500 million-plus hours in their first 28 days on the platform, it's easy to see why Netflix has pulled the plug on The Brothers Sun. As reported by What's on Netflix, too, The Brothers Sun was only completed by 12.4 million subscribers. When you lag behind other Netflix TV cancellations of varying quality, including Obliterated, Archive 81, and Resident Evil, you know things aren't looking good for your renewal chances.

It wasn't streamed enough times, meaning it wouldn't be cost effective for Netflix to greenlight another season, which led to its cancellation. Despite being Netflix's first big TV hit of 2024, then, The Brothers Sun won't shine again on the world's most popular streamer.

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