Should Netflix revive the Cowboy Bebop adaptation?

John Cho as Spike Spiegel (Image via Netflix)
John Cho as Spike Spiegel (Image via Netflix)

Despite the cancelation of Cowboy Bebop on Netflix, some fans are begging the streaming platform to bring it back in 2022.

Unfortunately, it seems the Netflix version of Cowboy Bebop was doomed to fail. Many fans of the original anime were not happy with the creative direction of the show. After much critical backlash, Netflix decided not to renew it for another season and pulled the plug less than a month after its release.

Interestingly, the show is still in demand by some. Over 100,000 fans have signed a petition asking to give it another chance. At the very least, it does prove that Cowboy Bebop has a loyal following. Unfortunately for these fans, a revival looks very unlikely right now.


A look back at Cowboy Bebop 2021, and whether Netflix should revive it

The Cowboy Bebop adaptation is certainly not for everybody. There is a clear divide in its critical reception. As such, it's important to consider both perspectives when discussing a potential revival.


Arguments in favor

Some may argue that the adaptation was never meant to live up to its anime counterpart. Rather, fans wanted the Netflix series to be its own entity.

The final episode had a major plot twist that completely separates it from the source material. Some fans wanted to see which direction this adaptation would take. They felt Cowboy Bebop needed another season for these developments to pay off.

There is still a sizeable fanbase for this adaptation, and were the series to be renewed, they would be the target audience. It wouldn't have to be remade for its detractors, since they are not going to watch it anyway.


Arguments against it

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Netflix pulled the plug after only a few weeks, which immediately sent up red flags about the show's future. There are two main factors that caused its cancelation.

First and foremost, it lost viewership over the course of a few weeks. Hollywood Report had written about how the show dropped 59% within a week-and-a-half.

Netflix tends to cancel shows with subpar viewership. 100,000 petition signatures isn't enough for them to reconsider, especially when they have 214,000,000 subscribers. The company needs to balance its budget with better investments, particularly those with higher views.

Speaking of which, the show definitely worked with a huge budget. It featured a wide variety of set pieces, costumes, and props. Along with multiple production delays, it's likely that Netflix didn't want to continue with this burden. Low viewership certainly wouldn't justify the high costs incurred.


Ultimately, it's best to just leave it alone

More than a few viewers will be sad to see it go, especially those that prefer to look at the adaptation as a different take on the anime.

However, Netflix is still a business, and as such, is fueled by results and profits. The adaptation needed to be a hit on release, considering its high production costs. What transpired instead was viewership decline and poor audience reception.

Summed up, it was a recipe for disaster. While the cast and crew are no doubt disappointed, there's really not much else that can be done. Like so many other shows, Cowboy Bebop only had one season to prove itself, and it unfortunately failed at that.

Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.