Its a dark day for alleged dick-drawers and poop pranksters everywhere. Despite being one of the few nearly perfect series currently airing on television, American Vandal is no more.
On Friday, Netflix announced that it would end the series after two seasons: “Were very grateful to the creators, writers, cast, and crew for bringing their innovative comedy to Netflix, and to the fans and critics who embraced its unique and unconventional humor,” the streamer said in a statement. According to Vulture, CBS Studios, which produces the series, has already received calls from multiple parties interested in snapping up the rights—and theres always the possibility that CBS itself could keep the show alive on its own streaming service, All Access.
But whatever fate American Vandal ultimately meets, its cancellation says more about the platform that let it go than it does about the shows quality, or the viability of additional seasons. Dan Perrault and Tony Yacendas faux docuseries was always much better than it had any business being. The concept was simple: two high-schoolers solve the mysteries behind a pair of immature, at-times-disgusting pranks, with one per season. But its execution was genius. American Vandal was a Making a Murderer riff that aired on the platform that made Making a Murderer—one that lovingly sent up the true-crime drama while simultaneously designing engrossing whodunits of its own. It was an honest and consistently insightful depiction of what high school is really like for teens. And, yes, it was hysterically funny.
As with any Netflix series, its impossible to know how many people were watching American Vandal—but both seasons ignited plenty of buzz on social media, and critics were similarly enamored. The first season even won a Peabody Award. So, why did Netflix cancel the show? Perhaps the answer has less to do with viewership and more to do with ownership. Studios are currently working to own as much of the programming they air as possible—all the better to control every possible revenue stream. But CBS Studios produces American Vandal, a factor that likely worked against it when renewal time came around.
Even so, this cancellation stings. American Vandal was Netflixs best series, and now its gone. Meanwhile, the streaming service is replete with recently renewed shows that dont hold a candle to Perrault and Yacendas creation.
Still, we should try to put that frustration aside and appreciate American Vandal for what it was and is: a sensational comedy that, if no one picks it up for a third go-round, will have gone out on top. In just two seasons, American Vandal delivered one of the most memorable party scenes of all time; made complex heroes out of outcasts; and, at every turn, proved itself to be more than the sum of its parts—the “parts” being dick and poop jokes.
One could even argue that American Vandal can and should end here. After all, with Season 2, Peter Maldonado and Sam Ecklund have finished their senior project—and everybody knows how quickly shows about teens tend to deteriorate once everyone moves to college. Then again, its hard to blame anyone for wanting to spend just a little more time with these two, their video camera, and their dry-erase board. At least well always have Priceless Moments.
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