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Live-action ‘Cowboy Bebop’ canceled by Netflix after one season

By Kara Santos Published Dec 11, 2021 12:02 pm

Netflix will not be moving forward with a second season of Cowboy Bebop, the live-action adaptation of the classic Japanese anime series.

The news of the cancelation comes less than a month after the much-hyped series dropped on the streaming service.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the big budget, buzzy 10-episode space Western had a rough reception and generally unfavorable reviews from critics and fans alike, despite being one of the top TV shows globally since it premiered on Nov. 19.

Viewership data on Netflix’s Top 10 site shows that season one of Cowboy Bebop was among the Top 10 TV shows on the service the week after its debut and has spent three weeks in the Global Top 10 for English TV shows. 

It's currently the Top 10 in TV in 17 countries on Netflix, including Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand, and France, to name a few.

While the series managed to rack up almost 74 million viewing hours worldwide since its debut, it posted a steep drop in viewership the following week, plummeting to 15.26 million hours for the week of Nov. 29-Dec. 5.

The series reportedly garnered only a 46 percent positive critics rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and a 56 percent positive audience score from fans on the site.

Netflix Top 10 TV shows for Nov. 29 - Dec. 5, 2021.

Insiders have pointed out that Netflix’s decision to renew their original series is made by balancing the show’s viewership and cost of production. The streamer has many other genre shows on the air and currently in the works.

Cowboy Bebop is the latest attempt to reinvent Japanese anime as a live-action series that failed to draw viewers following titles such as 2009’s Dragon Ball Evolution, 2017’s Ghost in the Shell, and Netflix’s 2017 movie Death Note.

The live-action series stars John Cho, Mustafa Shakir and Daniella Pineda as three bounty hunters, aka “cowboys,” all trying to outrun the past. The trio form a scrappy, snarky crew ready to hunt down the solar system’s most dangerous criminals—for the right price. 

The series, which Netflix first ordered back in 2018, is based on the popular 1998 Japanese anime TV series and the 2001 anime film.

While the original anime ran for 26 episodes and had a firm conclusion, the live-action adaptation teased a potential second season with the arrival of fan-favorite character Radical Ed in the last scene to offer Spike a bounty. 

Cast members and producers of the show shared their reactions to the cancellation on social media, with Cho posting a head-bobbing gif of Tom Selleck from a scene in Friends, and the simple message: “I’m Okay.”

Co-Executive Producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach penned a more heartfelt message, following the news.

In case you haven’t had time to catch up on your TV viewing, the 10-episode live-action series and the original anime of Cowboy Bebop are both currently streaming on Netflix.