There are times when it feels like Netflix isn't trying to replace a single channel like HBO, but the very notion of television itself. The streaming service's offerings run the gamut from PBS-like shows such as The Crown to Food Network-style series like The Final Table. It even has broadcast-like series, with the Norman Lear revival One Day at a Time. Or, well, it did. On March 14, Netflix announced it was canceling the show, and fans are up in arms about it. These tweets about One Day at a Time being canceled are proof the news is heartbreaking for everyone who ever watched.
One Day at a Time doesn't sound much like a show that would have such a devoted following. The original show premiered on CBS back in the mid-1970s and ran until 1984. Starring Bonnie Franklin as a single mom, the show launched the careers of both actresses who played her daughters, Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli.
However, the Netflix revival made smart decisions from the beginning, casting Justina Machado as a single mom and army veteran Penelope de Alvarez and her extended Cuban-American family. As one of the few wholesome shows depicting the everyday concerns of a Hispanic family, One Day at a Time stood out from the pack both for its diversity and the realistic way it handled family drama.
It was also a show always on the verge of being canceled. Finally, after three seasons, the streaming service decided to pull the plug.
Mike Royce, who helped develop the show, tweeted out a letter to fans from himself and partner Gloria Kellett.
Fans did not react well. One of the blowbacks from Netflix's concentration on developing in-house productions is that when they decide one isn't working, it feels like a betrayal. It's not something that can be easily explained away as "corporate fighting," like with the Marvel cancellations these last few months.
Fans also expressed frustration with the shows that Netflix does keep. For fans of a little show that could like One Day at a Time to lose its spot, while shows like Insatiable, for instance, land a second season despite a wall of negative reviews, can feel inexplicable to those watching at home.
More than one noted how unfair it was.
For some, there was also anger at the loss of a show that was showing diverse voices. Representation matters, today and every day. When one of the few shows out there trumpeting Latinx stories and giving work to actors and actresses of color goes under, it feels like a personal affront.
Netflix attempted to stem the tide, but that only seemed to make things worse. Moreover, being told "not enough people watched" isn't very helpful when there's no way to judge the numbers. Netflix doesn't give out their ratings, for love or money, and while Nielsen has a semi-workaround, it's not the full picture. As long as Netflix keeps those cards close to the vest, trying to cite those invisible numbers will not help its case.
RIP One Day at a Time. Though one fan held out hope it's not over.
Here's hoping Amazon or Hulu steps in to pick it up.