“I thought success would protect us”

The critically acclaimed new comedy from the creator of “Ten Percent” epitomized a renewal for Netflix. This Thursday 12 May was canceled shortly. Meeting with the maker, “disappointed. And sad”.

Fanny Herrero signs (finally!) Netflix’s first good French series”, titled Telerama on March 18 when the release of Funny† A current theme – the stand-up –, engaging characters, an original social subtext, dramatic promises for the future… Almost the entire press had welcomed this bet from the platform American, which until now had accustomed us to either tacky projects, such as she-wolfor hastily done, like Marianne† Netflix would finally take advantage of its popularity to also offer more atypical series, works by authors. To do what we had hoped for since its launch, playing not only an economic but also an artistic role in the world of French series. The rapid abolition of Funny, which we learned on Thursday, May 12th would not have a second season, after less than two months online, without even the slightest chance of determining its length, arouses fears of the opposite: pure accounting logic. Fanny Herrero returns to this disappearance, its causes and consequences.

Did you expect this cancellation?
It’s hot and cold. At the launch of Funny, we were euphoric, and so were the Netflix teams, who kept telling us how much they loved this project. We had a very warm time in this house at the time. The press was enthusiastic, the reactions of the spectators numerous and very positive. I got loads of messages from people who finally felt represented, underlining the individuality of the series… As a result, I’m disappointed. And sad. It’s such a commitment to make a series, to project oneself in time, to come up with a sequel! To see it suddenly canceled my legs are a little off. I knew that Funny wasn’t meant to be a hit. It is a series of characters, without star actors, but with artistic ambition. We remain artists, including on Netflix. Since their French series rarely received unanimous critical acclaim, I thought maybe this critical success might protect us, allow us to hold on a little…

But of course that wasn’t enough…
We didn’t live up to the expectations of Netflix audiences, by their standards and their algorithm, which no one really knows. I had access to the numbers of Funny, but i can’t communicate them. All I can say is it’s still busy! It’s sad to think that all these people will be withheld from the rest, as if we owe them nothing. But for sure we don’t have as many views as she-wolf or Family business. An editorial line can be more than the idea of ​​performance…

“The series still has time to live […] but what matters most, it seems, was his start.”

How are you aware of this cancellation?
Netflix kept us updated as it went. A week after the launch, we had the first trends, which are not numbers but indications, a feeling, about the performance of the series. It’s been twenty-eight days Funny was online when we were told she would not proceed. Which is extremely fast. Perhaps their decision was made earlier. The series still has time to live, it is still available online, but the most important thing seems to be the beginning.

What signal do you think this decision sends to the authors of French series?
Funny is a small school suitcase. When Netflix comes for me, they expect me to take artistic risks, do creative work, surround myself with talented people. But all this is carried away by a single marker: has it made the “volume” that Netflix expects? The series is of course an industry, but also an art that conveys ideas, a vision of society, etc. From this point of view, I thought that: Funny belonged on Netflix. There are boxes like wolf, and that’s very good, with an emblematic character carried by a great popular actor, an effective but sometimes predictable dramaturgy… and at another point of the spectrum there is Funny, more modest in appearance, which provides the aura of an author. It is alarming to think that there is no room for both.

Isn’t that a bit naive, in today’s highly competitive world of series?
Sure, but you have to be idealistic! What else are we good for? A first season is a prototype. We did it, it touched people, and that’s a good thing. But maybe we needed more time to impose ourselves.

Where were you writing season 2?
We had made good progress, two-thirds of the episodes were written and again validated with great enthusiasm by Netflix. In the world of series, it is common not to wait for the broadcast and move forward with writing, so as to create a rerun without waiting two years between each season.

Will these episodes end up in the trash?
It’s too early to say. Funny belongs to Netflix. In the United States, it is common to resell a series to another broadcaster because the market is larger. In France I don’t think so.

Will you continue to work with Netflix?
I’ve only interacted with them in this series. I tend to see the glass half full, to draw positive lessons from this experience. I’m going to take the time to dissect all of this, including my relationship with the platform. This cancellation causes the cards to be reshuffled. Things are very open now…

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