Executives at Prime Video and Hulu have been busy over the weekend, with both streaming services announcing the cancellation of one of their marquee debuts of 2022.
Prime Video’s top team has axed Paper Girls, a sci-fi drama that only began its run on August 4. The show, which had a decidedly Stranger Things vibe, was set in 1988 and followed four girls who, while out delivering newspapers the morning after Halloween, become caught in a conflict between warring factions of time-travelers.
The show features a largely unknown cast, with the only established presence coming from comedian Ali Wong. Set over eight episodes, Paper Girls was adapted from the comics by Y: The Last Man and Marvel’s Runaways creator Brian K. Vaughan.
Despite positive reviews and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 90%, the show failed to find an audience on Prime Video, perhaps overshadowed by the launch of the studio’s giant new arrival, The Rings Of Power.
According to Deadline, after Prime Video’s decision, the show, which is made by Legendary Television, will now be shopped around to other networks and streaming services in the hope it can continue.
It wouldn’t be the first time a show has been resurrected by a rival. Netflix stepped in to save Lucifer from the axe and it did the same with Manifest, though those were done in times were cash felt rather more readily available. It remains to be seen if Paper Girls can find a new home.
What was the other cancelation?
Maggie, Hulu‘s slick new comedy. It launched on July 6 and won’t be back for a second season.
Led by Rebecca Rittenhouse, best known for her roles in The Mindy Project and the TV spin-off of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Maggie followed the titular character, a psychic who is suddenly given a glimpse of her own future when David Del Rio’s Ben comes to her for a reading and she sees herself married to him in years to come.
When Ben then moves into the house next door, with his current girlfriend, Maggie is left in something of a bind.
Based on Tim Curcio’s short film, the show was supposed to debut on ABC, but ABC’s owners Disney ended up moving the show to Hulu, where sadly it didn’t pick up enough of an audience to earn a second run.
Reviews for Maggie were less kind than Paper Girls, with a rating of 62% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the first trailer attracted over 10 million views, indicating that the show had a chance of flourishing when all episodes dropped on July 6. Sadly it didn’t pan out that way.
Unlike Paper Girls, there’s no suggestion the show’s creative team are looking for a new home.
Analysis: Two shows stuck in the shadows
Traditionally, summer is a dustbowl for prestige television. Families are either away on holiday or taking their children to see the array of blockbusters stuffing movie theaters. Often, you’re competing with a big summer sporting event like the World Cup or the Olympics, and schedulers tend to keep their powder dry.
Not this year though. In August alone, you saw the likes of Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon, hugely-acclaimed Predator prequel Prey, Neil Gaiman’s epic The Sandman and the MCU’s latest hero, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, all arriving on streaming services.
July was a little quieter, but you still had the epic finale of Stranger Things’ fourth season, hugely expensive action-thriller The Gray Man and Hulu ushering in the return of Only Murders In The Building on June 28. That’s a lot of big TV and a lot for Maggie and Paper Girls to compete with.
In the end, it seems the competition just proved too much and neither were able to attract enough buzz or eyeballs to demand a second run.