A month after AMC announced the cancellation of the whodunnit series just two seasons (and one murder) in, reports are emerging that two different companies are considering making a bid to bring the show back to life: DirecTV and Netflix. But why would anyone want to do that, exactly?
The Killing, which debuted on AMC amid much fanfare in 2011, is an American remake of a Dutch series titled Forbrydelsen(which translated, literally, as “The Crime”). The show centered around the investigation of one murder, that of Rosie Larson, a teenager whose body is found in the trunk of an abandoned car just outside Seattle, Washington, and followed the format of the Dutch original with each episode taking place in a roughly 24 hour period within the investigation (It alienated a number of its fanbase by not following another of the Dutch show’s conventions and wrapping very case up within a season at the most; when Larson’s killer wasn’t found by the end of the first season, there was considerable outcry amongst viewers). After debuting as AMC’s second-highest rated premiere behindThe Walking Dead (2.7 million viewers), ratings dipped throughout its two-season run until it was cancelled with a series low of 1.59 million viewers.
According to TV Line, however, that’s more than enough people for both DirecTV and Netflix to consider bringing the show back for a third season. This isn’t the first show that Netflix has been linked to in terms of cancellation rescue – Even if you ignore Arrested Development, currently in production for a new run years after being dropped by Fox, the company has previously publicly flirted with resurrecting both supernatural ABC drama The River and Fox’ sci-fi dinosaur series Terra Nova immediately following those shows’ announced – and, of course, DirecTV has famously saved both Friday Night Lights and Damages from early conclusions to great success for all involved.
And yet – The Killing? That’s a show that lacks the critical acclaim or ratings of any of the shows previously been considered by either company, and bringing it back for a third season seems somewhat counter-intuitive, given the fact that the second season effectively ended the storyline that had run until that point (Lead character Sarah Linden was even seen to refuse a follow-up case in the final episode). Is there really that much value in the show that it’s worth resurrecting?
I suspect that the answer is yes; if nothing else, Netflix has the numbers on how many people have rented/streamed the first season, which has been available from the service for some time now. It’s possible that The Killing is, instead of something that’s neither a critical darling or ratings success, something that’s enough of both to be seen as investing in and reshaping to hone into a particular edge and relaunching. After all, 1.59 million viewers isn’t a lot for television, but it’s almost certainly more streams than Lilyhammer got when it launched – and just being able to use the hook of “You probably heard of this, now we have it” is enough of an advertising lure that either DirecTV or Netflix would likely get some new customers as a result…