When AMC fans talk about the dead coming back to life, they usually mean The Walking Dead, but they might as well be talking about The Killing. After being cancelled, resuscitated and then cancelled again by AMC, The Killing has earned a fourth and final season from online streaming service Netflix.
The relentlessly grim, atmospheric crime drama, which was produced by Fox Television Studios, aired on AMC for two seasons before the cable network first swung the cancellation axe, citing low ratings and viewer dissatisfaction with the show’s downtempo storytelling. Audiences also held the first season’s failure to reveal who killed Rosie Larsen against it, and many chose to pass when The Killing returned for its sophomore run the next year.
However, table discussions with showrunner Veena Sud convinced AMC to give The Killing a new lease on life, and a third season aired this past June, only for the show to get cancelled again in September. Consistently average ratings (the season premiered to 1.8 million viewers and ended with 1.5) didn’t excite AMC enough to justify more episodes.
When the Netflix pick-up was announced, the network made it clear that The Killing has only been renewed for a six-episode final season. Cindy Holland, the company’s vice president of original content, issued the following statement:
The rich, serialized storytelling in The Killing thrives on Netflix, and we believe that it is only fitting to give Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder a proper send off. We are looking forward to offering fans — both existing and new — a series that we know is perfectly suited for on-demand viewing.
FOX TV Studios president David Madden was quick to add that:
It’s a true testament to The Killing creator Veena Sud, and the stellar cast led so compellingly by Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman, that fans remained so passionate about the show. We’re gratified that our partners at Netflix recognized this, and are giving us the opportunity to complete the story in a way that will be satisfying to our loyal audience.
Resurrecting The Killing is a very savvy marketing move from Netflix, as well as one reminiscent of the network’s revival of Arrested Development (also for a limited fourth season). New episodes from both of the series are now only available to Netflix customers, and you can be sure that The Killing‘s small, devoted fanbase will be willing to shell out the money for a subscription, especially if Netflix keeps its current release model and makes all of the new episodes available for streaming at once.
Fans of The Killing will likely be thrilled to see a legitimate finale for the show, and though Holland seems resolute about an end-date for the show, Netflix’s Arrested Development episodes were also intended to be stand-alone. Now, however, Netflix seems to be interested in more Arrested Development as well as a feature-length film.
Are you excited to see more of The Killing? Has this show run out of lives, or will Netflix announce more seasons after this one? Sound off in the comments section!