Netflix's Latest Cancellation Of A One-Season TV Show Makes Sense, But Is Still A Bummer

Trevor stressing about bee in Man Vs. Bee
(Image credit: Netflix)

In recent years, as the booming streaming bubble began to slowly deflate, Netflix gained a sub-reputation for canceling its original series after only a single season aired, from the lore-building horror mystery Archive 81 to the sci-fi wackiness of 1899 to Neil Patrick Harris’ adult dating comedy Uncoupled to many other examples. (The latter was luckily rescued by Showtime after it was first axed.) That trend hasn’t exactly stopped, with the news that Rowan Atkinson’s hilariously cringe-friendly comedy Man vs. Bee will not be returning for Season 2, and while this latest one-and-done cancellation reveal probably does make sense, it’s still quite dour to hear about for those with Netflix subscriptions.

Having premiered back in June 2022, Man vs. Bee marked Rowan Atkinson’s first large-scale TV comedy arguably since The Thin Blue Line in the mid-’90s, admittedly not accounting for Mr. Bean: The Animated Series or the series of Handy Bean shorts from 2018-2020. Not to mention his first TV co-creation since Blackadder. The series gained a sizable number of viewers and fans from the jump, with CinemaBlend enjoying the show’s stressful hilarity as much as any. 

Unfortunately, since its premise hinged almost entirely on Atkinson’s physical comedy prowess opposite a CGI insect, it was a very specific mood that clearly didn’t meet or exceed whatever Netflix’s expectations were. During its first month of release, which is the all-important metric for Netflix’s decision-making, Man vs. Bee was watched for 25.4 million hours, which is far lower than many of the service’s noteworthy hits. As such, The Sun announced that the show isn’t moving forward with a second season.  

Admittedly, that decision does make sense from a couple of perspectives. Had more people turned in right away, there would be more reason to complain about the show meeting an arguably too-soon end. And so, objectively, it’s hard to knock Netflix for making data-sourced business decisions, at least in a case like this. 

As well, while Man vs. Bee wrapped up its first season in a way that could have set up a Atkinson’s character Trevor going through another 8-10 episodes of setting-destroying mayhem, the finale’s capper was really more of a wink as opposed to a serious cliffhanger or something of that sort. So do we really need to see what would happen next? Probably not. 

But still! We’re talking about Rowan Atkinson, who created two infinitely timeless comedy classics with Mr. Bean and Blackadder. So it inherently feels wrong for anyone but the UK legend (or co-creator William Davies) to say when Man vs. Bee should end. Even if Atkinson himself didn’t seem like he was 100% pleased with the show, in as much as he’s a perfectionist who’s always aiming for the next best thing, I’d still rather have him back away voluntarily than to have Netflix once again be the source of a creative entity meeting its end too soon. Relive the trailer below for a bite-sized bit of angst.

If there’s a silver lining to be found, perhaps not having to write and film a second season of Man vs. Bee will allow Atkinson to put his attention to some kind of celebration special for Blackadder’s 40th anniversary, with co-star Tony Robinson hinting in April that the era-jumping comedy could be returning in some way. 

Even if Man vs. Bee’s second season isn’t one of the shows coming soon to Netflix, there is still plenty of excellence to be found as we wait to hear which show will be(e) the next to have its plug pulled. 

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.