After one season spent defending the innocence of a penis graffiti artist, then another dedicated to exposing a laxative-wielding criminal known as “The Turd Burglar,” the true-crime mockumentary series American Vandal has offered its fans another compelling mystery: Whether the critically acclaimed show will return for a third season.
Netflix has reportedly canceled American Vandal after two seasons, leaving producers CBS TV Studios fielding calls for a revival elsewhere just as plans for the third season were bing plotted out. The cancellation makes American Vandal the latest high-profile series to get axed by the streaming video platform following the highly publicized cancellation of Marvel-Netflix collaborations Iron Fist and Luke Cage.
“American Vandal will not return for a third season,” said Netflix in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter accompanying the cancellation report. “We’re very grateful to the creators, writers, cast, and crew for bringing their innovative comedy to Netflix, and to the fans and critics who embraced its unique and unconventional humor.”
The first season of American Vandal premiered in September 2017 on Netflix, and received widespread acclaim for its clever spin on the format and tone of true-crime documentaries like Making a Murderer and Serial. The first season (which holds a 98 percent positive score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes) followed a pair of high school friends and A/V enthusiasts whose investigation of an incident in which faculty cars were vandalized with spray-painted penises calls into question the guilt of a teenage slacker who was accused and swiftly expelled for the crime.
The series cleverly blended comedic elements with narrative twists in the style of true-crime shows and the seemingly simple case unearthed a far more complicated web of lies, conspiracies, and revenge set against the backdrop of high school drama.
The second season of the series premiered a year later and brought teenage investigative documentarians Peter Maldonado (Tyler Alvarez) and Sam Ecklund (Griffin Gluck) to a Catholic school tormented by a mysterious vandal known as the “Turd Burglar” who contaminated the school’s lemonade with laxatives. The pair finds no shortage of suspects as their investigation intensifies and the story that unfolds touches on issues of economic disparity, online culture, and bullying as they get closer to the truth.
The second season of the series received similarly high praise from critics and audiences, and a third season was expected despite the lack of formal confirmation of the show’s renewal. According to the cancellation report, American Vandal co-creators Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda, as well as showrunner Dan Lagana, had been developing the premise for season 3 when Netflix decided to end it.
It’s been suggested that the cancellation of American Vandal, as well as that of Iron Fist and Luke Cage, are part of an effort by Netflix to cut ties with projects produced by outside studios as more of those studios have begun launching their own streaming platforms. CBS currently has its CBS All Access streaming service, while many Marvel and ABC Studios projects are being consolidated under parent company Disney’s upcoming Disney Play streaming service.