It seems as though every day there’s another original series added to Netflix. And with so many new dramas, docs and comedies to binge, it’s often hard to keep track of which of your favorite TV shows will stick around for another season. Luckily for you, we’ve scoured Netflix’s roster for the best series that will be returning in 2021. While some made the cut, however, others weren’t so fortunate. And for all the renewals, there are just as many shows that will never see the light of day again.
20. Stranger Things
Was anyone really shocked that Stranger Things was renewed for a fourth season? Since its debut in 2016, the sci-fi thriller has become one of Netflix’s most valuable shows, one whose third season attracted almost 41 million viewers upon release. But with Eleven and the Byers moved out of Hawkins – and Hopper apparently in a Russian gulag – Season Four may have a few surprises in store.
19. Sex Education
With its first season attracting 40 million viewers in its week of release, Sex Education hit the ground running. And the second season of this comedy drama – which focuses on the sex-obsessed students of Moordale Secondary School – fared even better, achieving a 97 percent rating on website Rotten Tomatoes. Based on this success, a third season – set for 2021 – was ordered just one month after Season Two’s release.
One of the most disturbing shows in Netflix’s roster, You centers on the dark and obsessive romantic pursuits of Penn Badgley’s sociopathic Joe. Despite its creepy content, however, the series remains one of the streaming site’s most popular. And thanks partly to its social media following, You will be returning for a third season in 2021.
17. Never Have I Ever
Following its debut in 2020, Never Have I Ever quickly won over critics. So much so, in fact, that IndieWire’s Kristen Lopez warned Netflix it would be “foolish” to axe the show – which follows themes of diversity and discrimination – after only one season. Thankfully, the site listened and a second season was announced shortly after the first’s release.
16. The Last Kingdom
First broadcast by the BBC, The Last Kingdom jumped ship to Netflix at the Season Three-mark. And backed by strong word-of-mouth, the historical drama continued to flourish on the streaming service. Now on its fourth season, The Last Kingdom announced in July 2020 that a fifth season is in the works.
A hit with audiences and critics alike, Ozark has brought critical kudos to Netflix since its 2017 debut. To wit, this tale of a blue-collar family turned cartel money-launderers has so far racked up 14 Emmy nominations. However, all good things must come to an end and Netflix announced in June 2020 that Ozark’s upcoming fourth season will be its last.
14. Dead to Me
With Emmy nominations and consistent viewer ratings, Dead to Me was naturally renewed for a third run in July 2020. However, the upcoming season will also be its finale as star Christina Applegate revealed the show will soon reach its natural conclusion. But fans shouldn’t be sad as creator Liz Feldman has inked a deal to create more content for the platform.
Another series returning for one last season, Atypical’s February 2020 renewal received a mixed response from fans. On one hand, many were glad they’d get to see a conclusion to autistic teen Sam’s story. But on the other, some were appalled the show was coming to an end. Whichever side of the fence you fall on, its fourth season is sure to be binged upon its 2021 release.
12. After Life
He may be most famous for his opinion-dividing Golden Globes gigs, but Ricky Gervais’ scripted work has its fair share of fans too. A case in point, the first series of his dark comedy After Life was Netflix’s second-highest-viewed show of 2019. And after a similarly successful second season in 2020, a follow-up was announced in May 2020.
11. The Kominsky Method
A Golden Globe-winning comedy from The Big Bang Theory creator Chuck Lorre, The Kominsky Method is a warmhearted story about growing old. Considering its award success, then, a third season – as announced in July 2020 – was more than likely. Sadly, though, this will be the last outing for Sandy and Norman, who will be retiring along with the show following its next batch of episodes.
Despite premiering to some harsh reviews in 2020, #blackAF gained a strong number of followers on Netflix. As a result, the streaming site announced a second series just two months after its April release. Judging by the reported $100-million-dollar deal it made with creator Kenya Barris, though, it seems the company is banking on repeated returns.
If you have more daring tastes in TV then you probably watched Bonding in 2019. Centered around the world of sadomasochism, this comedy was fittingly bawdy but earned plaudits for depicting its subject – as opined by Metro’s Tilly Pearce – in “a bold and un-judgmental way.” Going forward, fans can expect a second helping of the series to drop in 2020.
From The Simpsons to Futurama, Matt Groening has a history of creating game-changing animation. And yet it took fans a while to come around to his latest series Disenchantment. After a lukewarm debut in 2018, the series made a bigger impression on audiences with its second season. And later seasons – which will be released until 2021 – will hopefully cement Disenchantment’s status as a slow-burner.
While it may be a guilty pleasure to some, high school series Elite has its fair share of kudos. In fact, this Spanish-language drama’s first season has a rare 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.And if you haven’t watched this European gem yet, you still have time to binge it before Season Four hits some time in the near future.
6. Into the Night
Created by Narcos’ producer Jason George, Into the Night satisfied its audience’s thirst for thrillers in 2020. Indeed, it is estimated this apocalyptic series – which is also Netflix’s first TV commission from Belgium – was seen by up to 7 million viewers. With that in mind, the platform made the right decision renewing the series shortly after its first season.
The last season of GLOW ended with many fans’ questions unanswered. Would Carmen rejoin the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling? Would Sam get Justine’s movie made? And would Ruth reconsider Debbie’s directorial offer? Thankfully, Netflix decided to renew the show – which has won three Emmys – in 2019. However, its upcoming fourth season will also be its last, so we should expect all loose ends to be tied up.
4. Lost in Space
Much like its predecessor – which originally ran for three seasons in the 1960s – the rebooted Lost in Space will finish after its third outing. But this won’t be the end for showrunner Zack Estrin. After seeing his show through to its natural conclusion in 2021, the creator is set to helm a host of original series for Netflix.
It seems that Lucifer doesn’t know when to stay dead. Following its cancellation by Fox in 2018, the comic book-adaptation was picked up by Netflix before being dropped once again the following year. Nevertheless, the platform clearly had a change of heart. And in June 2020, it was announced that a sixth season would in fact enter production after Season Five’s upcoming premiere.
2. Top Boy
If anyone is a fan of British crime drama Top Boy then they have rapper Drake to thank for the show’s success. Originally seen only on U.K. TV, Top Boy was discovered by the musician, who helped the series switch over to Netflix in 2017. Thanks to Drizzy’s tutelage, the show will return for a fourth season some time in the near future.
1. The Witcher
Few recent shows can boast the same level of support from Netflix as The Witcher. Indeed, the streamers tossed a coin to showrunners in 2019 by ordering the show’s second season before its first had even aired. Adapted from the popular Polish book and video game series, this Henry Cavill-led fantasy completes 2021’s renewal roster.
20. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Although its 2018 first season started strongly, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina began to lose its charm with viewers. And as later season ratings slowly decreased, the show – which follows Kiernan Shipka’s titular teenage witch – was finally cut from Netflix in July 2020. With a fourth season still set to air, Sabrina’s story should hopefully be resolved.
19. Anne with an E
In November 2019, Netflix announced the cancellation of its literary adaptation Anne with an E – and fans were not pleased. In fact, outraged followers of the series bombarded the streaming site and co-producers CBC with 13 million Tweets and even erected billboards calling for the show’s reinstatement. Alas, their efforts proved fruitless and Anne with an E remains shelved.
For a series that focused on a family of bankers, Medici was fittingly expensive to produce. And that may be one of the reasons why Netflix decided not to renew this series – which featured costly location shooting in Italy – in 2020. Other factors could include falling ratings as well as the departure of stars like Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden.
17. AJ and the Queen
Despite helming arguably Netflix’s premier reality series, RuPaul wasn’t as successful when it came to scripted content. To wit, the Drag Race host’s on-the-road drama AJ and the Queen met an unfortunate end just two months after its premiere. “Netflix has decided not to extend our trip across America,” the star announced on Twitter in March 2020. “Thank you for all the love & support.”
It may have received praise from horror icon Stephen King, but plaudits weren’t enough to save Marianne. Although it had its fair share of fans, the French chiller – which holds a 93 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes – got the axe in March 2020 following its first season. However, its creator Samuel Bodin promised followers on Twitter that “we will see you in other stories.”
15. Turn Up Charlie
A long-time fan of DJing, Idris Elba got the gig of his life when he played a down-on-his-luck mix master in 2019’s Turn Up Charlie. Alas, critics like IndieWire’s Ben Travers didn’t plug in to the show, calling it “inconsequential and unkempt.” Consequently, Netflix announced in April 2020 that it wouldn’t be dropping the needle on another season.
14. V Wars
Featuring Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder, V Wars was poised to appeal to fans of bloodsucking fiction. And yet the series – which premiered in December 2019 – may have been too much of the same, with some critics noting its over-reliance on genre conventions. Four months after V Wars’ debut, Netflix hammered the final nail in the coffin by declining to give it a second season.
13. October Faction
One of three series from Netflix’s winter roster based on IDW Publishing comics, October Faction was arguably the weakest of the trio. Lagging behind Locke & Key and V Wars, the monster-themed show received almost universally negative feedback. And with Season One’s Rotten Tomatoes scoring below 50 percent for fans and critics alike, it’s understandable why a second season wasn’t ordered.
Exotic locations can certainly add to a TV show’s appeal. However, in the case of Messiah – Netflix’s supernatural CIA-thriller – it seems that globetrotting led to its cancellation. According to Variety, the streaming platform may have cut the show – which was shot in the States and in Jordan – due to its wide range of filming locations. A dismal 44 percent on Rotten Tomatoes couldn’t have helped, either.
11. Spinning Out
Sports series are always a dependable way to bring in viewers – just look at basketball documentary The Last Dance. But it appears that figure skating doesn’t break the ice with viewers judging by the dismissal of Spinning Out. As theorized by Newsweek magazine, the Kaya Scodelario-led drama’s February 2020 cancellation can be attributed to a cold reception from viewers.
A teen drama set in the middle of a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles sounds like a recipe for success, right? Despite having a premise pitched between Mad Max and The O.C., nevertheless, Daybreak was still denied a second season in December 2019. Displeased fans appealed to Netflix to change their mind, but a change.org petition calling for Season Two fell 5,000 short of its required signatures.
9. Mystery Science Theater 3000
After two seasons on Netflix, fan favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000 was dropped by the streaming site in November 2019. However, this isn’t the first time this B-movie-bashing comedy has been canned. In fact, the series has survived cancellation from Comedy Central and SyFy in the past. Consequently, host Jonah Ray tweeted his hope of getting picked up by another streaming service in the future.
Originally set for broadcast by Fox, Soundtrack was instead picked up by Netflix after its pilot failed to impress the network. It seems, though, that Fox’s initial fears weren’t entirely unfounded. Indeed, following one critically-panned season, Netflix announced in January 2020 that it would be pulling this musical drama from its future roster.
7. The OA
Halfway through a planned five-season run, The OA was unceremoniously shut down by Netflix in 2019. But this decision shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the streamers – who started marketing the series four days before its 2016 premiere – seemingly had little faith in it from the outset. Still, fans of this critically acclaimed psychological thriller – who started petitions for its reinstatement – were devastated nonetheless.
6. Santa Clarita Diet
Considering its plot based around suburban flesh-eating zombies, Drew Barrymore’s Santa Clarita Diet was always an acquired taste. And yet, the dark comedy gained a rabid following upon its 2017 debut with one season earning 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. For all its admirers, Santa Clarita Diet proved too divisive for mainstream appeal, leading to its cancellation in 2019.
5. One Day at a Time
It’s common to find shows canceled by linear TV stations gaining a new home on Netflix. But to see a revival happening the other way around is a rarer thing indeed. This is exactly what happened with sitcom One Day at a Time which – after getting the boot by Netflix over dwindling viewers – was picked by Pop TV in 2019.
The finale of Traveler’s 2019 third season appeared to set up a new storyline for Season Four. Unfortunately – as star Eric McCormack revealed via Twitter soon afterwards – Netflix pulled its plans for new episodes, meaning this new direction will be left unexplored. Owing to the sci-fi series’ prior cancellation by original broadcasters Showcase, though, this decision shouldn’t come as a shock to many.
3. Designated Survivor
Throughout its three-season run, Designated Survivor has overcome many hardships. In fact, the political thriller went through no less than four showrunners in half as many years and was dropped from original network NBC in 2018. Alas, the Kiefer Sutherland-starring series couldn’t survive every hit and finally bit the dust in 2019 after one Netflix-helmed season.
2. Friends from College
Revolving around a group of middle-aged Harvard alumni, Friends from College boasted a standout cast. Despite turns from Fred Savage and Cobie Smulders, however, the comedy was nonetheless criticized for its lack of character development. And two years and two seasons after Friends from College’s 2017 release, Netflix shelved these graduates for good.
1. BoJack Horseman
Now this truly was a surprise. Since its 2014 debut, BoJack Horseman had become one of Netflix’s most beloved original series. However in 2019 the platform announced the show’s sixth season would be its last, with star Aaron Paul later tweeting that the decision had come from the company itself. The cancellation remains a mystery, but some say the unionization of the show’s animators may have played a part.