The ambitious series about Superman’s grandfather will not return after ending its second season this week. SyFy wanted Krypton canceled after its ratings fell by more than half for the sophomore season. Interestingly, they first planned to expand the franchise by spinning off a series based on the Lobo character, which we reported in June. Krypton became a surprise hit for SyFy in its first season, scoring the highest ratings numbers the network saw in years. Still it came at a high cost, with licensing fees going to Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, and David S. Goyer. With exotic, alien settings and lots of digital effects, the show also costs quite a bit to produce. This all plays into why they canceled Krypton, and it has very little to do with the quality of the show.
Streaming Wars at Play?
Image via DC Entertainment
The parent companies of both SyFy and Krypton will soon compete on the digital field of battle in the streaming wars. Warner Bros.’ HBO Max and an NBC/Universal streaming service will are both forthcoming. In fact, because Warner Bros.’ strict streaming policies led to how Krypton got canceled. The first season of the show streams on DC Universe. The second season premiere ended up on the streaming app, but only for a limited time. Meanwhile, SyFy only keeps the streaming rights for the five most recent episodes. This means that at a time when people like to binge series like these, there is no way for fans to do it. This is why live ratings are so important to networks like SyFy, as it is the only way for them to profit from the series.
SyFy’s Trouble With Keeping Series Afloat
Of course, SyFy’s troubles with keeping their shows going isn’t fixed now that Krypton is canceled. The network takes chances on plenty of original programming, only for them to end up not performing as they should. Critical darling The Expanse did not earn enough ratings to justify the cost, though Amazon Prime stepped into save the series. So, it’s possible that DC Universe or HBO Max, or both, will step in to resurrect the series on their platforms. Fans are likely angry SyFy wanted Krypton canceled, because they just introduced General Zod. A series about Superman’s grandfather may not seem interesting, but Krypton told very compelling stories.
As the streaming wars heat up, we’ll likely see fewer and fewer series like these. Not space-epic, superhero series, but rather shows from one large media company on the network of another competitor. Once every mega-studio has its own streaming service, these boutique shows are ideal. They come with a baked-in fanbase that a streaming company can leverage better than a traditional network.
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Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.