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Heartstopper fans criticise people comparing it to the cancelled First Kill

Among First Kill fan's complaints was that more people watched it than Heartstopper.

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Netflix

Fans of Heartstopper are criticising those who are comparing it to First Kill which Netflix cancelled earlier this week.

On Tuesday (2 August) Netflix, which produces both programmes, announced it had cancelled the lesbian vampire show after only one season, leaving many fans disappointed. The hashtag #SaveFirstKill then began trending on Twitter. 

Some fans questioned why the series, which focused on a mixed-race lesbian pairing, had been cancelled over the series based on Alice Oseman’s web-comic series when First Kill had been viewed more than Heartstopper.

Heartstopper was renewed for two more seasons in May.

One person wrote on Twitter: “first kill did infinitely better in numbers than heartstopper but yk what the difference is? that its a lesbian show and netflix didnt even give it a budget or a chance just like the other shows they’ve cancelled”

Another person echoed this saying, “netflix renewed heartstopper for two more seasons but not first kill ?? WHEN FIRST KILL HAD WAYYY MORE STREAMS ? does anyone see the issue here or…”

Someone else said they were “so unbelievably tired” of seeing shows like First Kill cancelled.

Deadline, which broke the news of First Kill‘s cancellation on Tuesday, reports that sources say the series “did not meet thresholds for viewing and completion of episodes.”

Variety added that: “Sources close to the matter maintain that Netflix is proud of the work that producers, cast and crew put in on the series, though the decision came down to a matter of viewing numbers versus cost.”

Both shows featured in the streaming service’s top 10 for three weeks after their releases. As recorded by Netflix, the viewing figures for those weeks are:

Heartstopper – 53.46 million hours

Week 1: 14,550,000

Week 2: 23,940,000

Week 3: 14,970,000

First Kill – 97.66 million hours

Week 1: 30,340,000

Week 2: 48,770,000

Week 3: 18,550,000

While the figures support the claims of First Kill‘s fans that it did rack up more views than HeartstopperWhat’s on Netflix reports that there was a big drop off in audience numbers in the third and fourth weeks after the First Kill‘s release. 

Digital I reports that while 100 percent of people watching the first episode completed it, only 43 percent completed the final episode of First Kill. Digital I told What’s on Netflix that, “Historically, under 50 percent almost always leads to cancellation.”

Analysts online appear to agree that, with so much of Netflix’s data being inaccessible, it’s hard to compare the two shows adequately. It’s also worth noting that Heartstopper episodes had a shorter runtime, which may have had an effect on things like completion percentages. 

Other reasons for why Heartstopper has been renewed and First Kill hasn’t could include costs related to CGI/effects as well as source material. 

Fans of Heartstopper called out those comparing the two unnecessarily. 

One person said: “you can hate that netflix cancelled first kill without sending hate towards heartstopper. just- just saying.”

While someone else reminded people “that heartstopper existing has nothing to do with netflix cancelling first kill”

It is a shame that we lost First Kill, especially as it’s a show that put a female same-sex relationship front and centre and for not having ‘coming out’ storylines a big focus or subject of drama, as well as queer identities in general. 

The Attitude September/October issue is out now.