See Ya, Space Cowboy: Netflix Cancels Cowboy Bebop After First Season Flop

Bad, but not entirely unexpected news for fans of the Netflix "Cowboy Bebop" adaptation. Despite the fact that showrunner André Nemec was only getting warmed up, Netflix has canceled the audacious adaptation only a month after the first season was released on the streaming service. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the live-action "Cowboy Bebop" is no more after a lackluster reception by critics and fans alike. It turns out that Netflix just won't carry that weight.

A Big Swing and a Miss for Netflix

I'll be honest, this news is a real bummer for folks who appreciated the intensely weird experiment for what it was, and I was among the series' staunch defenders. I was in the minority, however, as critics panned the series overall and audiences felt about the same. Social media was tough on this little-adaptation-that-couldn't, with many fans decrying its release as if someone had burned their childhood photo albums. While nostalgia and reverence for the original series certainly factored into its harsh reception, the series was a messy, sometimes frustrating ride that didn't quite deliver what it promised. Some of the changes made to the series' overall plot were risky, especially regarding Spike (John Cho) and his former lady love, Julia (Elena Satine). The adaptation, much like the ragtag crew it depicts, just couldn't quite get the job done right. 

The lengthy, much-hyped marketing campaign probably hurt "Cowboy Bebop" a bit, too. It gave people plenty of time to think about what their ideal live-action "Cowboy Bebop" would look like, and when those expectations weren't met, they were more sorely disappointed than if they hadn't been geared up for months on end. 

THR reports that while the series did pretty well in its first month streaming on Netflix, it plummeted once initial interest had worn off. With a series as big and expensive as "Bebop," the streamer has to make sure that people are going to stay subscribed for additional seasons. With the anime adaptation's rough reception and streaming numbers flagging, it just didn't make sense for them to finance another season. 

The Future of an Ill-Fated Adaptation

It's unlikely that any other streaming services will try to revive "Cowboy Bebop," so fans who did enjoy this 10-episode run of jazzy space cowboy mayhem will just have to imagine what the second season might have looked like. While the series didn't always work, the chemistry between the main cast made for some truly fun episodes in the middle section of the season, and it's a shame we won't get to hang out with John Cho's Spike, Daniella Pineda's Faye, and Mustafa Shakir's Jet on the Bebop any longer. At least we'll always have season 1, and who knows? Maybe in time, the series could become a cult classic. Now wouldn't that be something?

See you later, space cowboy. The ride was a little rocky, but it was fun and all too brief.