Okay, Happy seems to have had all the elements of a hit series. It’s based on a famous graphic novel, and it plots the life of a former cop turn hitman, turn vigilante. And there’s a larger-than-life sidekick in the form of a super cute cartoon unicorn. So what went wrong?
The following sections aim to provide the answer and help you guess if Netflix is going to shoot season three. At the time of writing, the first season is available on the platform, and it seems to be doing pretty well. But this is only part of the story.
Ratings, Ratings, Ratings
Happy premiered on Syfy at the end of 2017, and like so many other series, it was off to an excellent start. The first episode was just in time for the holiday season, and it struck a chord with the targeted demographics.
The future of Happy appeared to be promising, but the ratings for the season two paint a different picture. The data shows that the viewership dropped by a staggering 57%, and the plunge is similar for the demographics.
To be exact, season two had an average rating of 0.09 for the targeted demographics, which is the audience between 18 and 49 years of age. In general, a bit more than 280,000 viewers tuned in to watch the episodes as opposed to more than double that number in season one.
But what are the reasons for that?
In Search for the Unicorn
If you’ve seen the second season, it’s evident that very little has changed in terms of the cast, plot, and aesthetics. Like season one, the second plots around a holiday. This time, however, it was Easter as opposed to Christmas.
The drama is equally quirky, and the episodes had been directed and cut to match the comedy/conflict tempo of the season one. Nonetheless, the ratings were disappointing, and Syfy’s production scheduling is the likely culprit.
The channel failed to capitalize on the initial traction of the series. To be exact, they had waited for 14 months before the release of the second season. And the efforts to entice the audiences back were few and far between.
But Syfy isn’t the only one involved. The channel’s sibling UPC was responsible for the production. For comparison, UPC was also behind Deadly Class, a Sony Pictures TV series that got canceled due to poor ratings.
However, series cancellations in this day and age are more like temporary breaks than permanent halts. And UPC and Sony Pictures TV keep shopping around for partners that might turn the shows around.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
At this point, the first season of Happy has a second life on Netflix. According to the network’s ratings and data, the series is the top performer in its category. The views are neck and neck with You, another rebound drama that found its popularity on Netflix. Not only that, but You became a Netflix original in season two.
On the other hand, Happy isn’t there yet, but it’s hitting the right demographics (teens and males). That prompted UPC, which owns the rights for Happy, to shop the series around for partners that are willing to take over the project. Netflix is the logical choice, though it has so far avoided the UPC’s offers to pick up the series. There are even some rumors that Netflix isn’t going to take over despite the UPC’s best efforts. However, there’s no official statement to confirm this.
Is the Future Going to Be Happy?
If you were to search for Happy Season 3 on Google, one of the first hits is the online petition to bring the series back. By the time of completion of this article, more than 10,500 people signed the online petition.
Admittedly, it took eight months to get that many people, but the number signals that there’s a fanbase. From the production perspective, there is little to repair. Maybe bring in a new director to liven things a bit more and proceed from there.
The main challenge is to stay true to the original idea. That is to plot the entire season around one holiday. Since Christmas and Easter were already done, maybe Thanksgiving would be the perfect timing for the next one.
These are all just speculations and assumptions based on the previous seasons. And there is no official confirmation from either UPC or Netflix. Nonetheless, this series has something producers seem to overlook.
The branding and monetization potential of Happy, the unicorn character, is substantial. But this would require entirely different demographics and a few compromises in the story. That said, it’s not impossible.
Sing the Happy Song
Finally, know that Happy stands a good chance of being picked up, either by Netflix or another studio. But when this is going to happen and under what conditions are entirely different questions.
What do you like about Happy? Can you name another combination of quirky companions like Happy and Nick Sax? Give us your two cents in the comments, and share your feelings with the rest of the TJ community.