Jeff Smith’s BONE Series Canceled at Netflix

In an extremely disappointing turn of events, the adaptation of Jeff Smith’s beloved comic Bone is no longer happening at Netflix. The streaming platform first announced the adaptation in 2019 to a whole lot of excitement. Bone, one of the most celebrated comics ever, has yet to see a screen adaptation. The news of the Bone series’ cancellation arrives during a particularly rocky period for Netflix. According to a report from The Wrap, Netflix laid off Netflix’s director of creative leadership and development for original animation Phil Rynda and several of his staffers. The Bone adaptation is one of several series axed by the streaming platform.

An illustration from Jeff Smith's Bone series
Scholastic/Jeff Smith

For the last decade or so, the streaming platform appeared to be soaring, reaching new altitudes with each passing year. But it finally hit a nasty bit of turbulence. Its Q1 2022 report saw a subscriber dip for the first time in a decade. The company added that it expects to lose a whole lot more in Q2. In the wake of the announcement, the company’s stock immediately dropped by 35%. Now, you don’t have to be a numbers person to understand this is not good.

The company first alluded to the rocky quarter in March 2022, when it started cracking down on password sharing in Chile, Peru, and Costa Rica. But upon the subscriber dip, Netflix also announced plans to launch an ad-support subscription tier to its offerings. This is all to say, Netflix is going through a bit of an identity crisis right now. And unfortunately, the animation department is among those shouldering the initial fallout.

An illustration of one of the Bone cousins looking into a valley in Bone by Jeff Smith
Scholastic/Jeff Smith

The Wrap‘s report further delves into the company’s support—and especially lack thereof—for the animation department. In fact, the report goes as far as to suggest the DreamWorks Boss Baby series—which is part of an established franchise—as its metrics target. (We first saw this at  A.V. Club.) During Netflix’s first few years churning out content, it developed a reputation for giving most of its shows a few seasons to find their footing. And that’s not to mention its penchant for saving gone-too-soon series. But over the last several years, it has shifted and now even the most beloved show isn’t guaranteed a future.

Bone is a delightful fish-out-of-water story following the three Bone cousins through their magical, and sometimes spooky, journey through a fairy-tale valley. And it deserves an adaptation that can properly deliver a story worthy of the beloved comics. For that to happen, it needs a company behind it that fully supports the genre and its artist. While Bone is no more at the streaming platform, I fully believe it’ll find a home elsewhere. In fact, it may even be for the best.

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