Why did Amazon cancel The Romanoffs after one season?

THE ROMANOFFS -- Credit: Christopher Raphael/Amazon Studios -- Acquired via EPK.TV
THE ROMANOFFS -- Credit: Christopher Raphael/Amazon Studios -- Acquired via EPK.TV /

The Romanoffs is one and done. Amazon chose not to renew the anthology series from the Mad Men creators, but why was that the case?

Stories of the Russian royal family are intriguing. They draw many in. You just have to look at Netflix’s The Last Czars and in period drama Facebook groups to see how popular they can be. So why didn’t a show like The Romanoffs work?

From the creators of Mad Men, you would have thought this show would have had people watching in droves. The anthology series was based on people who believed they were descendants of the Russian royal family. There was the chance of political intrigue, danger, and much more.

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In the end, the show just didn’t quite hit its mark. There are a few reasons I think this series failed, and one of them is the format that the show was released.

For those who don’t remember or know, The Romanoffs was released on Amazon Prime Video on a weekly basis. There are very few TV shows that get away with being released in a standard format on a streaming service. The Grand Tour succeeded but I do think that came from fans being used to watching Top Gear weekly.

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Viewers on streaming platforms want to see episodes all in one go. The idea of streaming services is that people get to binge-watch over the course of a whole weekend. We just have to look at the likes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Good Omens, and recently The Boys to see that this is how viewers want to consume content on these streaming services.

THE ROMANOFFS — Credit: Christopher Raphael/Amazon Studios — Acquired via EPK.TV
THE ROMANOFFS — Credit: Christopher Raphael/Amazon Studios — Acquired via EPK.TV /

If the creators really wanted The Romanoffs to be released weekly, it would have been better to find a standard network. I’ll admit that I kept forgetting about tuning into the show because there was just so much other content on Amazon Prime to watch.

Then there’s the need to find an audience. Matthew Weiner’s series was certainly beautifully made. You could tell the budget had been spent, but the reception of the storylines wasn’t that great. I got through two episodes before deciding to move on. I know others who said the most intriguing and promising episode was something like the fourth or fifth episode. With an anthology series, every episode needs to draw you in for its own reasons, especially when released weekly.

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Rotten Tomatoes sees the series get a 51% score from the critics. The audience isn’t even that much better with a 64% score right now. Fans of Mad Men wanted to like it but the quality just wasn’t there.

I just don’t think that the series found its intended audience. Enough people didn’t watch to start with and enough people didn’t keep watching to the end. It was clear that there wouldn’t be the audience for the second season. And then with no Emmy Award nominations, it was clear that this wasn’t the success that everyone hoped it would be.

THE ROMANOFFS — Credit: Jan Thijs/Amazon Studios — Acquired via EPK.TV
THE ROMANOFFS — Credit: Jan Thijs/Amazon Studios — Acquired via EPK.TV /

Personally, I didn’t find it surprising to hear that The Romanoffs was canceled. Amazon is in a habit of renewing shows within two months. In fact, many shows are renewed ahead of release. We just have to look at The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Jack Ryan, and The Expanse to see when renewal notices can come in. When The Romanoffs wasn’t renewed by the end of 2018, I’d assumed the show had been quietly canceled.

Canceling a show like The Romanoffs doesn’t lead to problems with series questions left unanswered. Like Electric Dreams, the stories were wrapped by the end of each episode, for the most part, meaning a second season wasn’t necessarily needed.

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What did you think of The Romanoffs? Which episode worked for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Romanoffs is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.