When Netflix announced it was making a sitcom about Blockbuster employees, the irony was lost on absolutely no one.
The Vanessa Ramos-created workplace sitcom was about the last Blockbuster video store in America, and Netflix was the primary reason that most of those stores shuttered. Netflix’s original business model of sending DVDs through the mail was a major obstacle for the iconic video store chain, but its eventual pivot to streaming proved to be an insurmountable death blow to Blockbuster.
To many, the sitcom was a declaration of victory, one corporation asserting its dominance by dancing on the grave of a competitor. But when the show began streaming in November, it never broke through as the nostalgia-invoking cultural phenomenon that its champions expected it to be. So Netflix decided to end “Blockbuster” for the second time.
Sources have confirmed to IndieWire that Netflix opted not to renew “Blockbuster” for a second season. The series didn’t bring in the viewership to justify its production costs, never cracking the streamer’s top 10 in any countries except Australia and Canada. Given the high cost of some of the talent involved (including Randall Park and J.B. Smoove), “Blockbuster” became a casualty of Netflix’s ruthless business model for the second time this century.
The news should hardly be surprising to anyone who followed the discourse surrounding the show, as the critical response was overwhelmingly negative. Some writers questioned the show’s strangely oblivious approach to the Internet, while others lamented that it simply wasn’t funny.
“So ‘Blockbuster’ isn’t about video rental stores, it’s not about shopping local, and its romantic subplot is an inevitable, infuriating waiting game. What is it about? Your guess is as good as mine. What’s the point of an office comedy about the last surviving video rental store that never acknowledges the intrinsic value of its workplace?” IndieWire’s Ben Travers wrote in his review of the series. “It’s as awkward a marriage of studio and subject matter as audiences likely imagined going in, and even its charming veteran comedians — Park, Fumero, and J.B. Smoove — can’t summon enough magic to make ‘Blockbuster’ worth sitting through.”