This Bites! Why Was Netflix's Lesbian Vampire Saga 'First Kill' Canceled After Just One Season?

Despite the love from its hardcore fandom, Netflix's lesbian vampire series 'First Kill' got the ax after one season. Why was it canceled?

Bianca Piazza - Author

Aug. 4 2022, Published 6:42 p.m. ET

'First Kill'
Source: Netflix

First, we want to say that we're thinking about all the lesbians during this drastically difficult time. Y'all must be tired. Lesbian shows get the ax left and right. From Everything Sucks! to Sense8, Netflix has been known to cancel shows that prominently feature lesbians and female queer characters — and Victoria "V.E." Schwab's series First Kill is the latest to get canceled.

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"Falling in love is tricky for teens Juliette and Calliope because one's a vampire and the other's a vampire hunter — and both are ready to make their first kill," the show's synopsis reads. With nods to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Shakespearean love tales, First Kill — based on the short story by New York Times best-selling author V.E. Schwab — aired its first and only season on June 10, 2022.

Not only are fans angry that Juliette (Sarah Catherine Hook) and Calliope's (Imani Lewis) love story has come to an end, but so is the series' showrunner. So, why exactly was it canceled?

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'First Kill'
Source: Netflix

‘First Kill’ showrunner Felicia D. Henderson blames shallow marketing for the series' cancellation.

“I so enthusiastically signed on to this show [because] it has something for everyone,” showrunner Felicia D. Henderson relayed in an interview with the Daily Beast, “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.”

And while she loved the first marketing materials presented to her, they simplified the show to nothing but a teen lesbian vampire romance.

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"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," she continued.

“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. What showrunner wouldn’t be? I’d been told a couple of weeks ago that they were hoping completion would get higher. I guess it didn’t.”

First Kill was in Netflix's Top 5 both globally and domestically for the first three weeks after its premiere.

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There's a controversy surrounding what shows Netflix chooses to renew and cancel.

While First Kill's cancellation may simply have to do with numbers, superfans of the show — who've been holding on for dear life waiting for a Season 2 renewal — beg to differ.

"Netflix is weird as hell for cancelling First Kill. A successful WLW [woman-loving woman] show with a Black female lead being canceled after outperforming SEVERAL Netflix originals?" wrote Twitter user @korysverse.

Half-jokingly, they continued, "Clearly the show didn’t cost too much to make. We all saw the effects."

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Another heartbroken fan compared First Kill to another popular gay series: Heartstopper.

"Renewing Heartstopper for two more seasons and canceling First Kill when it pulled in over 2.2 million more views than Heartstopper in the first two weeks… I'm so unbelievably tired of this," tweeted user @troianns.

Many people believe that lesbianism isn't quite as normalized in the Western world as love between two men, but perhaps that's a far reach for a lesbian Netflix show getting canceled.

Don't mind us. While we mourn, we'll be rewatching Season 1 of First Kill with vampire fangs glued to our teeth.

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