Archive 81 DESERVES Another Season – Here’s Why…
Despite scoring an impressive 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, Netflix’s Archive 81 was canceled by Netflix, leaving fans of the show in limbo. But is there hope for an Archive 81 season two?
Netflix’s quality control has been all over the place for years now. It has produced some remarkable content in the last couple of years, for instance, but also plenty of totally forgettable movies and TV shows as well. With its subscriber base decreasing, Netflix is now more militant than ever when accessing the shelf lives of its original programming.
Not so long ago, a show getting canceled after its first season on Netflix was rare. It simply didn’t happen. The company, with its constantly growing subscriber base, was happy to throw money at projects and see which stuck. In 2022, this is no longer the case. The stream dream – or bubble – appears to have burst. Nowadays, shows musty deliver or else face the chop. And by deliver, we mean drive subscriber rates and generate hundreds or thousands of hours of viewing.
One of the first MAJOR cancellations by Netflix that really upset a lot of people was the show Archive 81, a brilliant horror TV series. The show was truly original, brilliantly acted, and exceptionally well paced and written. The first season – which is still available to stream – was utterly captivating, taking viewers down rabbit hole after rabbit hole into the dark and mysterious world of the occult.
Of course, season one of Archive 81 ended on a cliffhanger. And then Netflix canceled it…
Why Was Archive 81 Canceled?
Netflix never confirms why it cancels shows. But we do know that Netflix is not the same company it was five years ago – subscriber rates are waning, its share price is down, and the company is now pickier than ever about what it invests in. Anything that doesn’t deliver is canceled. Life at Netflix is now closer to network TV than ever before.
With Archive 81, the most likely reason it was canceled was that it simply didn’t generate high enough viewing numbers. Netflix has analytics on ALL of its shows, analytics that it is constantly analyzing to spot trends, see what works, and also see what isn’t working. Archive 81 clearly didn’t pass these stress tests and was canceled. And that’s a damn shame too because it was one of the best horror TV series I, as a life-long horror fan, have ever seen.
Netflix hardly promoted the show, however, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to the company that viewing numbers were so low. I only happened across it one night by complete accident. I’d been drinking red wine, I wanted to watch some horror, and I saw Archive 81. Six hours later, I was still watching, completely enthralled by archivist Dan Turner as he delved into the dark and creepy world of a dangerous occult group.
Was Archive 81 Popular?
Archive 81 did appear at first to be very popular. It made Netflix’s Top 10, for instance, before being dethroned by Ozark, and it was also featured in Neilson’s charts for new, original TV content. Archive 81 was also, briefly, the number Netflix show in the US too.
But even with all this working in its favor, as well as its star-studded production team that included James Wan and Stranger Things director Rebecca Thomas, Archive 81 just failed to live up to Netflix’s expectations.
Is Archive 81 Worth Watching?
For me, Archive 81 had every element that makes for a good horror TV show: it wasn’t stupid, it had a basis in a plausible reality, the acting was brilliant, the story was seriously engrossing, and there was plenty of mythological world-building happening as the series progressed, opening up so much potential for season two of Archive 81.
But then Netflix canceled the show. And I only found this out AFTER I’d watched the first season. And if you’ve seen the first season of Archive 81, you’ll know how it ends. This show NEEDS a second season.
Archive 81 is definitely worth watching. But just know this: there will not be a second season, so there will be no closure on the events that take place in season one. If you can handle that, Archive 81 is well worth watching. It is one of the most inventive, well-shot, original horror shows I’ve seen to date. The only awful thing about Archive 81 is that it didn’t get a second season with Netflix. Perhaps Apple TV+ or Amazon could do everybody a solid and pick up the show for a second and third season?
Wishful thinking? Most likely. But you never know. Plenty of uber-popular shows were canceled and then brought back to life – hello, Family Guy and Arrested Development – so, with all the competition in the streaming space, perhaps there is hope for a second season of Archive 81 on a different streaming platform? I remain eternally optimistic…