All hail Netflix, resurrector of beloved television shows ripped from us in their prime. A super short season of your favorite show is never a good sign, especially if the program already has a troubled air history. But by now, fans of rainy Seattle dramas know Netflix picked up The Killing for a micro-season after its abrupt second cancellation cancellation. But why is The Killing's final season so short?
Back in 2011, The Killing was a promising drama. It was based on a Danish crime show, Forbrydelsen, and it managed to nab an Emmy nomination for writer and executive producer Veena Sud. But across the internet, viewers didn't take too kindly to a series of cliffhangers and disappointing wrong turns and a decline in viewership was apparent by the time the show addressed its "Who is Rosie Larsen" enigma. AMC gave the show the boot in 2012, but Fox (The Killing's production company) decided to find its investment a new home.
But the boot didn't stick and AMC took the show back on in 2012 once Netflix started sniffing around their former property. As reported by Deadline, since Fox was in final negotiations with Netflix, the final deal had Netflix taking on some production costs for the right to air the show, with AMC maintaining first-run of new episodes. However, that cable network love was short-lived, and even new blood via guest star Peter Sarsgaard couldn't convey The Killing's value to AMC and so it got the cable axe again.
And that brings us to where we are now: with Netflix streaming The Killing's last six episodes, which they partially paid for. TVLine quoted Netflix's VP of Original Content Cindy Holland as saying the move in part was to give The Killing and its characters a "proper send off," and implied they believe the show will service fans old and new with some good old fashioned binge viewing potential.
The short length of the new series confirms that this revival really does signal the end. For real this time. While it might seem like a short run for a show that spent its history weaving some pretty involved mysteries and cliffhangers, it is still better than nothing, and certainly a smart move for Netflix given that they've already been plugging money into the project's production. Money is probably another factor attributing to the short season; six episodes are definitely cheaper to produce than twelve or thirteen.
However, the jury is still out whether the truncated timeline to wrap up all of the show's plot was worth it. More fan reactions will bubble up in the next few days as the internet sloughs through the sextet of episodes. The biggest takeaway from this whole affair is perhaps the knowledge that when a network closes the door, Netflix opens a window.