The loss of TV shows centered around LGBTQ+ female characters in 2022 has been truly staggering, and fans of Netflix’s teen vampire romance First Kill are the latest lining up to grieve as the streamer canceled the show after just one season. Now, the showrunner is weighing in on what she thinks went wrong.
First Kill, which is based on a short story by V. E. Schwab, centers around a vampire (Sarah Catherine Hook) tasked with making her first kill to join a powerful family of vampires. However, she ends up falling for another teen (Imani Lewis) who turns out to be a vampire hunter.
Despite not performing that well with critics, the series meant a lot to fans who were excited to revisit a teen soap drama with a sapphic romance as the focal point, especially one with a Black lead.
Showrunner Felicia D. Henderson praised Netflix for greenlighting the show at all, noting in conversation with The Daily Beast that they “licensed the IP, paid for a pilot script, and gave it a healthy production budget.”
Alas, sources told Deadline that First Kill didn’t hit the numbers Netflix hoped to see, something seemingly reiterated by Henderson saying she was told that “the completion rate wasn’t high enough.”
Generally, Henderson believes that the reason for that might have to do with the marketing of the show. She explained:
“The art for the initial marketing was beautiful. 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.”
Fans had felt similarly, with many pointing out that they hadn’t even seen much marketing leading up to the premiere of First Kill.
Attention has also been drawn to how the show pulled nearly double the numbers as Heartstopper, the LGBTQ+ teen drama centered around white male characters. And yet, the latter was immediately renewed for two more seasons.
Overall, the cast and crew of First Kill have come out to express their disappointment over the show’s cancelation as well as their gratitude that it ever got to exist at all. But fans are still frustrated that investing in a show with queer female leads has once again ended in swift heartbreak.