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Netflix cancels one of its biggest new shows of 2020

(Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

Netflix has cancelled Away, the space travel drama starring Hilary Swank. No reason has been given for the cancellation, which was reported on the site Deadline – the show seemed to have moderate success, appearing in Netflix's own top 10, and performing well in Nielsen's streaming ratings

The series was certainly set up for a season 2 – but now it's another Netflix one-and-done, like I Am Not Okay With This  and The Society.

Netflix seems to be on a bit of a cancellation spree this year, with wrestling drama GLOW getting canned before its already-ordered final season, and the acclaimed Teenage Bounty Hunters also getting the chop. 

While it's usually transparent when most TV shows on major channels and networks get cancelled, Netflix doesn't release performance data for all of its shows – only what it chooses to share. So it can be unclear how certain shows actually perform, and how much international viewership factors into the decision-making. 

Away is about an astronaut who leaves her family behind at a difficult moment to join a mission to Mars, with the show shifting focus to the stories of the other crew members, too. 

Hilary Swank is one of the few actors to win the Best Actress Oscar twice – so she was quite a get for Netflix.

Why does Netflix cancel shows?

Netflix's reasons for cancelling some of its recent series are Covid-related – but otherwise, it's generally accepted that shows are cancelled or renewed based on their potential cost versus the likely audience returning for the next season. 

Still, this year does underline that getting too invested in a new Netflix show is risky – GLOW was already confirmed for a fourth and final season before the renewal got reversed, which is harsh. At least The Witcher season 2 is a dead cert.

As mentioned, Netflix tends to only release numbers for shows when it wants to. Ratched, for example, is the service's biggest first season performer of the year – 48 million subscribers watched it in its first month.