1899 cancelled after one season with creator Baran bo Odar saying “that’s life”

1899  (Netflix)
1899 (Netflix)

The mystery-thriller series 1899 has been cancelled by Netflix after just one series.

In a shared statement, creators Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar said: “With a heavy heart we have to tell you that 1899 will not be renewed. We would have loved to finish this incredible journey with a 2nd and 3rd season as we did with Dark. But sometimes things don’t turn out the way you planned. That’s life.

“We know this will disappoint millions of fans out there. But we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts that you were a part of this wonderful adventure. We love you. Never forget.”

Some fans were left feeling distraught by the news, with one Tweeting “Netflix canceling 1899 after THAT ending will forever be my villain origin story bye,” another commenting, “Netflix cancels the masterpiece 1899 but keeps on renewing garbage series even though the creators said they already planned 3 seasons,” and a third saying, “Please HBO Amazon SOMEONE please pick up 1899 I will give you my organs.”

The mystery series told the story of the undoing of a group of European immigrants. When their New York-bound passenger ship, the Kerberos, came across a seemingly abandoned ship in the Atlantic, strange things started happening including deaths and the appearance of symbols and insects.

1899 had debuted on the streaming site on November 17, and had whipped up a mountain of interest as Friese and Bo Odar’s last major project was the popular science fiction thriller Dark, which ran for three seasons on Netflix from 2017 to 2020. In its first week after release 1899, was number two on Netflix’s most-watched list, and reportedly racked up 79.27 million viewing hours in four days.

1899 (Netflix)
1899 (Netflix)

However, reviews for the show had been mixed. The Standard said: “If it all sounds quite good, simply put, it isn’t – the main reason being that it is unrelentingly grisly. Everyone is deeply messed up, unhappy, ill and paranoid; all relationships are strained and fractious... when deranged individuals start reliving their worse memories, rather than being thrilled or frightened, you feel depleted.” Another UK paper described it as, “dour, obtuse and oppressive”.

Others reviewers were less critical. Empire described the series as “an intriguing, densely layered puzzle-box mystery that defies easy categorisation but somehow works,” while another UK newspaper said “the show succeeds in cultivating an increasingly eerie atmosphere” though later saying it was “disorientating”. TV company Shondaland (which was founded by Bridgerton creator Shonda Rhimes) listed the series in its Best TV Shows of 2022 list, while The New York Times listed it on its December-released 50 Best TV Shows on Netflix Right Now.

1899 (Netflix)
1899 (Netflix)

The eight-episode show was unique in that had a multi-national cast (which included Little Joe’s Emily Beecham, Dark’s Andreas Pietschmann and musical theatre star Rosalie Craig), many of whom spoke in their mother tongues. It was also the first time that a Netflix show had been completely filmed in a virtual studio.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in November, Friese and Bo Odar said they already had the ideas for the next two series of the show laid out in their heads: “We always like to have an ending before we start. We want to know where we are going. We’re moving through a story, and we want to know how it will be resolved in the end,” Friese said.

According to Variety, after the success of Dark, Netflix, Friese and Bo Odar made a deal where the duo would produce content for the streamer, with 1899 being their first project. Their next project is Tyll, a TV series based on the acclaimed novel from Austrian-German writer Daniel Kehlmann, which is partly based on the tales of jester Till Eulenspiegel, from the 16th century.