Oh Marco Polo, we hardly knew ye and evidently didn’t really care to. With Netflix churning out content faster than anyone can keep up with lately, it may not seem like much of a loss for the streaming giant. But Marco Polo was one of Netflix’s most expensive series, even though it only ran for two seasons. After Season 1 was met with a less-than-enthusiastic critical response and almost no buzz from viewers, Season 2 was launched with far less fanfare. The presumption was (since Netflix doesn’t release any viewing numbers) that it was the international markets who were keeping the series afloat — the one good thing about Marco Polo was its sprawling, international cast.
In fact, just last month, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told THR that, “Marco Polo is one of those shows for us [where viewership doesn’t matter to international audiences]. It’s hugely popular all throughout Asia and Europe, and there’s a lot of focus on if your neighbors might be watching it. And it’s really irrelevant because it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.”
According to THR, the total losses that Netflix sustained over the series is around $200 million. For a company that plans to invest billions into its slate of original programming that’s not a catastrophic loss, but it’s certainly significant. Netflix has only cancelled a handful of its own original series, including Hemlock Grove and Bloodline (which will end after its upcoming third season), and we still haven’t gotten word on the futures of The Get Down, Easy, or Between yet. So while Netflix does not release their viewership data, they are obviously not ignoring it. But it also leaves fans uncertain of the fate of their favorite shows.
Will you miss Marco Polo? Let us know of its virtues in the comments. To keep up with the renewal or cancellation status of over 150 other scripted TV shows, be sure to check out our TV Lifeline.