We know that Hulu had some sky-high expectations for their space drama The First, hoping that it could be a major foray into that world that could make them enormously successful, especially with someone like Sean Penn in the lead role.
Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Today, the streaming service decided to cancel the series after just one season on the air. Much of the buzz leading into the show centered around the presence of Sean Penn, making his first major foray into the world of TV after years of great success at the box office. Yet, this show could never get liftoff (pun intended), as it was the subject of some fairly negative reviews and the audience didn’t turn out to watch it.
Do we consider this a huge failure for Hulu? Not too much, largely because we feel like they are figuring some things out elsewhere. They’ve got an enormous hit at the moment in The Handmaid’s Tale, and they are bringing Veronica Mars back following the crowd-funded movie a little bit later this year. There are a lot of different, exciting things that they have coming up down the pipeline and they shouldn’t feel too bad about taking on such a high-octane drama. We’re not sure Penn was ever the right actor for the series, but the idea itself conceptually, made sense given the near-constant interest Americans tends to have in outer space.
What Hulu needs to do moving forward is continue to take some more big swings and make sure that they are making programming with potential to stand out. We don’t think they are in a sort of Netflix place just yet where they can put up a show and it’ll become a social-media hit within days. It takes a little bit more time for some of their programming to get to that next level.
Will The First land somewhere else?
We’re not altogether optimistic, mostly because there’s not a big precedent for canceled shows going from one streaming service to another, or back onto linear television. Also, add to this the fact that this was probably not a cheap show to make — you’re paying an Oscar-winning actor for starters, and then telling a story that requires a good bit of technical expertise.
If you enjoyed the first season, we’d just say to be grateful for its existence at all. Unfortunately, that is probably all we are going to have when it comes to this show. Sometimes, even streaming shows in this new era of TV don’t get the audience that many diehard TV fans probably wish that they would.
What do you think about The First being canceled after just one season? Be sure to share right now in the attached comments. (Photo: Hulu.)