When The Society debuted on Netflix in May of 2019, viewers and critics alike compared it to the William Golding novel, Lord of the Flies. The series takes place in West Ham, Conn. and it picks up after a group of students come back from a school trip. Upon their return, they realize that all of the other residents have mysteriously disappeared, and that they themselves are unable to leave the town.
The drama had all of the typical tropes that viewers have come to expect from teen shows — young romances, friendship feuds, and attempts at fitting in — but there was an added element of darkness since the characters were all on their own.
After the first season concluded with a cliffhanger, fans were relieved once Netflix quickly renewed The Society for a second season. But, shortly thereafter, the streaming giant backtracked and the show was officially canceled.
Why did they cancel 'The Society?'
Just two months after the first season of The Society premiered, Netflix issued a second season renewal in July of 2019. Production was set to commence in Massachusetts for Season 2 in March of 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic (also known as COVID-19) delayed filming.
Though filming for The Society was going to resume in September of 2020, Netflix revealed a few weeks before that the show would not be returning at all.
The drama was canceled at the same time as fellow freshman series I Am Not Okay With This. A representative for Netflix told Deadline in August of 2020 that restrictions resulting from the pandemic made it impossible to allow these two shows to continue.
"We've made the difficult decision not to move forward with second seasons of The Society and I Am Not Okay With This," the statement read.
"We're disappointed to have to make these decisions due to circumstances created by COVID, and we are grateful to these creators, including: Jonathan Entwistle, Christy Hall, Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Dan Cohen and Josh Barry at 21 Laps Entertainment for I Am Not Okay With This; Chris Keyser, Marc Webb and Pavlina Hatoupis for The Society; and all the writers, casts and crews who worked tirelessly to make these shows for our members around the world," it concluded.
The statement did not elaborate on the specific "circumstances" that made creating Season 2 a difficult prospect. An inside source did tell Variety that the production would have become much more expensive in order to comply with COVID protocols. If any outbreaks were to occur during filming, it could lengthen the production time and cause scheduling issues. Both of these unknown elements had the potential to make the entire Season 2 endeavor very costly.
A few days after the cancelation was publicized, The Society creator Chris Keyser told Variety that the decision was "upsetting."
"We spent the last bunch of months getting ready to go back again, dealing with all the COVID protocols," he told the outlet. "And then I got a call from Netflix saying, 'We have made this decision.' It was obviously pretty upsetting and abrupt."
Chris wasn't the only person who was devastated by the news.
There is a petition going around to renew 'The Society' for Season 2.
Devoted fans are rarely ever deterred when their favorite shows get canceled, and that's been the case for those who love The Society.
A petition was created on Change.org to demonstrate to Netflix how much fan support there is for the series. The page description also indicates that the show would do well on other streaming platforms or on networks like The CW or HBO.
As of April of 2021, the petition has been signed by more than 108,000 people.
Though thousands want The Society to return so they can see more from the teens of West Ham, Conn., Netflix has not issued another update since the show was axed.
Season 1 of The Society is available to stream on Netflix now.