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First Kill Showrunner Says Netflix Failed to Properly Market the Supernatural Show

The series' marketing primarily focused on the show's teenage lesbian love story.
  • Imani Lewis as Calliope and Sarah Catherine Hook as Juliette in <i>First Kill</i> (Photo: Netflix)
    Imani Lewis as Calliope and Sarah Catherine Hook as Juliette in <i>First Kill</i> (Photo: Netflix)

    Felicia D. Henderson, showrunner for Netflix's First Kill, is speaking out about what she believes are the reasons behind the streamer's cancellation of the supernatural teen drama. According to Henderson, Netflix failed to market the show properly.

    In an interview with The Daily Beast, Henderson said, "I so enthusiastically signed on to this show [because] it has something for everyone. Strong women leads, supernatural intrigue, an epic, Shakespearean battle between warring families, and a prominently featured Black family in the genre space, something Black viewers crave and a general audience needs to be treated to."

    Which each of these selling points at their disposal, Henderson says she felt the marketing didn't convey the nuances of the show.

    "The art for the initial marketing was beautiful," she said. "I think I expected that to be the beginning and that the other equally compelling and important elements of the show — monsters vs. monster hunters, the battle between two powerful matriarchs, etc. — would eventually be promoted, and that didn’t happen."

    Most of the promotional materials for the show, including the trailer and images, focused on the forbidden lesbian love story between teenage vampire Juliette (Sarah Catherine Hook) and teenage vampire hunter Calliope (Imani Lewis).

    Even if the marketing was too niche, that doesn't seem to have affected First Kill's overall performance on the streamer, as Henderson points out, "We were in the top five globally and domestically for three of the first four weeks."

    After the news broke that First Kill had been cancelled, fans have flocked to social media to express their distaste for Netflix, claiming that the streamer canceled the series because the show featured lesbian leads and a black female lead.

    In the 24 hours after the announcement of First Kill's cancellation, the Google search term "cancel Netflix" soared by 250%, according to an analysis by JeffBet.com. The same analysis showed a 250% increase in the search term "why does Netflix cancel good shows?"

    For Henderson, the cancellation was a blow. "When I got the call to tell me they weren't renewing the show because the completion rate wasn't high enough, of course, I was very disappointed," she said. "What showrunner wouldn't be? I'd been told a couple of weeks earlier that they were hoping completion would get higher. I guess it didn't."

    First Kill is available to stream on Netflix.

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    Kirstie Renae is a writer, blogger, and Austin-based actress with a penchant for binge-watching TV with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter @KirstieRenae.

    TOPICS: First Kill, Netflix, Felicia D. Henderson, Imani Lewis, Sarah Catherine Hook, Streaming TV