Too soon, Freeform, too soon. The Disney-owned network, which targets the younger teen demographic, notoriously cancelled the series ‘Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments’ in June after three seasons but announced two extra episodes to wrap up the storylines from the books by Cassandra Clare, on which the series was based. The expensive series had been co-financed by Netflix, but after the streaming service pulled its funding, Freeform determined that it couldn’t continue the show without that additional income.
‘Shadowhunters’ had developed a devoted following, however, and fans of the show have been going to extreme lengths to publicize the show and to either get Freeform to reconsider or to convince another outlet to pick it up. So far, it hasn’t worked, but that doesn’t mean that the #saveshadowhunters movement is dead. No matter how much Freeform wishes otherwise.
On Saturday, December 15, Freeform aired a “POPnKnowledge” version of the first ‘Toy Story’ on which onscreen pop-up captions supply information about the movie or jokes. In one scene, Andy is told by his mom that he can bring one toy with him. Woody picks up the Magic 8 Ball to find out if he will be the one he chooses. That is when Freeform decided to crack a joke, with the caption “Will Freeform save ‘Shadowhunters’ if I keep tweeting about it?” The 8 Ball’s answer: “Don’t Count On It.”
For You – Xfinity Stream – Google Chrome 12_15_2018 4_10_43 PM.mp4
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— bobbi (@bobtwo999) December 16, 2018
It’s pretty mild, but ‘Shadowhunters’ fans didn’t see it that way and took to Twitter to drag the network.
“More than anything, it speaks towards the heartless nature of the TV business sometimes and a lack of gratitude sometimes to the fans who are responsible for making shows successful in the first place,” wrote one fan. Another announced a plan to skip Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins Returns’. “Was looking forward to seeing this but it won’t be happening thanks to the disrespect shown to the #Shadowhunters fans by @FreeformTV during their broadcast of Toy Story.”
Around the same time as ‘Shadowhunter”s cancellation, Amazon Prime Video rescued ‘The Expanse’ after Syfy cancelled it, and Netflix revived FOX’s ‘Lucifer’. But so far, no outlet has come forward to revive ‘Shadowhunters’. Part of the reason for that is possibly because how the show is structured, the added two episodes will complete the story from Clare’s novels. And although the first angry fan tweet stated that the ‘Toy Story’ gag was disrespectful to fans who made it “successful in the first place,” the harsh fact is that ‘Shadowhunters’ wasn’t successful enough for Freeform to continue producing it. Moving to another venue, especially a pay-streaming service is only going to cause those numbers to go down.
But the fans haven’t given up. Among their efforts were paying for an airplane dragging the banner “#SaveShadowhunters” across the sky near Netflix’s LA headquarters, renting two video billboards in Times Square and raised over $20,000 for charity. Efforts haven’t been isolated to the US as similar efforts were mounted in London and Seoul.
But as of right now, the last 12 episodes of ‘Shadowhunters’ return on February 25.