Netflix Cancels Promising Horror-Drama After Just 1 Season

Netflix canceled the promising horror series Archive 81 after just one season. The series debuted on Jan. 14 and starred Mamoudou Athie and Dina Shihabi. Aquaman director James Wan was among the show's executive producers. It was based on the podcast of the same name by Daniel Powell and Marc Sollinger and developed by Rebecca Sonnenshine.

Archive 81's cancelation is surprising since the show got off to a hot start. It was briefly the top show on Netflix in the U.S. until Ozark returned, and also earned spots in Nielsen and Netflix's weekly Top 10 ratings for original programming, reports Deadline. However, Netflix must have decided that the early excitement for the show did not hold up well enough to keep the series going based on its budget.

Athie starred in the series as Dan Turner, an archivist who takes a job restoring damaged videotapes from 1994. He soon finds the work of documentary filmmaker Melody Pendras (Shihabi), who was investigating a dangerous cult. As Dan becomes more interested in Melody's life, he believes he can somehow save her from the death she met 25 years ago. Other members of the cast included Evan Jonigkeit as Samuel Spare/Alexander Davenport, Julia Chan as Anabelle Cho, Ariana Neal as Jessica Lewis, Matt McGorry as Mark Higgins, and Martin Donovan as Virgil Davenport.

Rebecca Thomas, who worked on Stranger Things, directed four of the eight episodes and served as an executive producer. Athie has starred in two other Netflix projects, Uncocked and The Get Down. He has a starring role in Universal's upcoming Jurassic World Dominion. Shihabi has already found another job on Netflix, as she will star in the series Painkiller.

Archive 81 earned critical acclaim. In January, Sonnenshine told Variety she had plans for a second season. "I think there's a lot of story that we didn't get a chance to tell in that eight-episode first season," she said. "But we do know what Davenport is up to and so that is very much a part of Season 2. That's great that, hopefully, we leave people with questions. I definitely try not to answer questions before people ask them as an audience. You don't want to frontload information. We have a lot of cool stuff planned for Davenport."

In the same interview, Sonnenshine said she and the writers "talked quite a bit" about the show's future. "So we're ready to go, should we be so lucky to get a Season 2, we have some really cool stories to tell," she said. Unfortunately for Sonnenshine and fans, it looks like those cool stories will not be told unless fans can convince Netflix to reverse its decision.