Warning: This article may contain spoilers, mature content and some other pretty weird stuff.
After bad ratings, Syfy cancelled Happy! on June 4, after only its second season. But on a positive note, Universal Content Productions is looking for a new home for Happy! With the rise of streaming, and competition booming, could someone take a gamble to give us the Happy! ending we deserve?
Maybe. But the figures don’t look good.
There isn’t really an audience for it, it seems
The speculation around why it was cancelled surrounds the demographic of the show. While the troubled Sax and his small blue friend certainly make an entertaining and rather unique action-comedy series, it isn’t what you might call mainstream. Being a show aimed at (and some would say, suitable for) mature audiences with an appetite for crude, and sometimes unsettling, humour, it eliminates the child and teenager markets. Instead, it focuses on a market that, despite success in movies and TV shows like Deadpool and Titans, is smaller and more exclusive.
Indeed, Syfy figures show Season 2 of Happy! averaged a 0.09 rating in viewers between 18 and 49. And average viewing numbers were approximately 286,000 an episode. Both of these were down more than half from Season 1. Contrast this with a show like Supernatural, which enters its 15th season in October this year, which enjoyed an average rating of 0.41 in viewers of the same demographic. And on average got more than 1.4 million viewers an episode.
Happy! certainly isn’t for everyone. But with its mix of dark humour, thrilling action and edgy art style (reminiscent of the style adopted by Darick Robertson in the comic), it certainly created a cult following. So when Season 2 came to a close, many were surprised with Syfy’s decision to cancel the show. Especially, so soon after episode nine had been aired. And you can be sure fans hope to see a third, and potentially final, series to wrap up the misadventures of Nick Sax.
So what went wrong?
You can easily compare Happy! to the Deadpool franchise. Both take a simple action-packed premise, and stuff it full of mature and very immature humour for something with a bit more flavour than your typical clean-cut comic book adaption.
Season 2 of Happy! is, in a lot of ways, very similar to Deadpool 2 in its progression from the original. The first subverted expectations, flipped the genre on its head, and gave a very entertaining Mature rated viewing experience. While the second continued to do this, it sometimes feels as though it’s just trying too hard to be everything the first was, but bumped up 200%. The result is something that hits a lot of the same beats, and is plenty enjoyable, but lacks the creativity and freshness which impressed so much in the first outing.
If you want to read more of our thoughts about why Happy! didn’t quite hit the mark, check out my review.