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Netflix cancels American Vandal, but there’s still hope

One of the best shows about the Internet may be coming to an end

Dylan in American Vandal Netflix
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

Peter and Sam won’t be investigating another crime — at least not on Netflix’s dime. The company announced on Friday that the, fictional, true-crime parody series, American Vandal, which ran for two critically-acclaimed seasons, will not be renewed for a third season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

American Vandal followed Peter Maldonado and Sam Ecklund, high school friends and amateur documentarians, as they sought the real answers to two mysterious crimes.

The two seasons may have featured similar premises, but their approaches were fairly different. While the first focused more on the true crime premise, the second varied closer to a standard mockumentary, but proved a no-less-effective examination of teen culture. This distinction may have helped separate the two seasons and prevented season two from feeling like a stale rehash of the first, but it also removed some of the humor that helped the first season stand out among Netflix’s crowd of hundreds of other shows. Thankfully, for fans that want to revisit one of Netflix’s best show, or new viewers who haven’t gotten to it yet, the first two seasons will likely remain on the streaming service.

Jimmy Tatro, wearing a hoodie and a green baseball cap, looks stunned while reading documents on a car hood, while Tyler Alvarez looks on, biting his nails, in American Vandal. Image: Netflix

American Vandal satirized the true crime genre just as the wave of Serial, The Jinx and S-Town began to crest, but it was also an indictment of two amateur detectives who cashed in on personal information. The first season started with a fairly simple idea: two kids exploring an act of vandalism at their own school and make a documentary about their search for the truth. Rather than simply attempting to find answers, Sam and Peter tore through the lives of everyone at the school, desperate to find any details that could be relevant, but uprooting personal secrets and fracturing friendships in the process. In the end, the series seemed to suggest that the audience, and the creators, cared more about small secrets and white lies from their subjects and those around them, than it did about any kind of truth.

The second season removed some of the more personal elements of the show’s two main characters and played things a little more straight centering itself in on the way that everyone, but especially teens, present themselves on the internet. The show dealt with the idea of catfishing, the realities of sites like 4Chan, the psychology of the internet troll and the appeal of cultivating a public persona both online and in real life and the ways that those two realms can intersect. While it may have been a radical departure from the jokey satire of the first season, American Vandal season two was no less incisive toward its subject. In fact, it’s difficult to think of any other show that so deftly handles the struggles of social media and online relationships, without simply dismissing them as entirely bad.

While Netflix has made it clear that any future American Vandal season will not include the streaming service, The Hollywood Reporter writes that the show’s producers at CBS TV have fielded several calls about potential series revivals elsewhere. Meanwhile, CBS continues to add programming to their own CBS All Access platform.

This cancellation comes as just the latest in a growing line of shows from traditional broadcast partners that Netflix has canceled as the company announced that both Iron Fist and Luke Cage both from ABC Studioswould also not return for third seasons.

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