Why Amazon Canceled I Know What You Did Last Summer After One Season

Here's why Amazon canceled the I Know What You Did Last Summer series after only one season. While IKWYDLS was a 1973 novel by Lois Duncan, the main question most people had going into Amazon's TV take on the property was how it would match up to the movie version. Released in 1997, the I Know What You Did Last Summer movie was but one of a slew of imitators that appeared after Wes Craven's classic Scream suddenly revitalized the teen slasher genre in 1996.

While not a great film, I Know What You Did Last Summer was probably the cream of the Scream-clone crop, partially due to its decision to eschew Scream's jokes and meta humor, becoming one of the few slashers of the time to play its story straight. Also helping make I Know What You Did Last Summer memorable was a great cast of young stars, headlined by Jennifer Love Hewitt but also including Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar, her future husband and Scooby-Doo co-star Freddie Prinze Jr., and Ryan Phillippe.

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The I Know What You Did Last Summer movie, drew mixed reviews from critics but became a box office hit, and a 1990s staple. Unfortunately, Amazon's I Know What You Did Last Summer series drew similarly mixed reviews, but this time without the audience support needed to overcome that. While Amazon hasn't specified exactly why it chose to cancel I Know What You Did Last Summer, and streaming viewership numbers aren't available, it's not hard to surmise that the blame lies somewhere in the general lack of enthusiasm surrounding the show. It never really became a buzz-worthy production, coming and going with a whimper.

Amazon's I Know What Did You Last Summer TV show accrued a range of complaints from both audiences and critics, many revolving around poor acting from the cast, plot holes that never got resolved, unsatisfactory twists, and perhaps most of all, a distinct lack of slashing from this version of the slasher. Instead of going the slasher route like the movie (albeit with a fairly low body count), the I Know What You Did Last Summer series played its hand as more of a mystery but didn't do much to sustain interest. Combine a weak mystery with thinly written characters, and the showrunners had a verified recipe for disaster on their hands.

Amazon's I Know What You Did Last Summer did have its fans, as every show made in the age of divided streaming and TV viewership manages to. Thankfully, those who enjoyed I Know What You Did Last Summer's mystery did get a firm resolution to the story, with the killer revealed during IKWYDLS's ending. Some plot points were left open for a possible season 2, but there was nothing enticing enough to warrant continuing beyond the ending viewers got. Whether people left satisfied with the ending in question is another debate entirely. Still, with such a divided response and presumably unimpressive viewership, it's no wonder that Amazon made the call to cancel I Know What You Did Last Summer.

The I Know What You Did Last Summer series may follow the same basic premise as the movie, but the two are markedly different — which could be a key factor in the show's cancelation. The series diverged from the film in three crucial ways: the characters, the setting, and the killer's identity. The characters and their relationships in the movie were relatively straightforward, bringing the action and horror to the film's forefront. The television show scrapped the original IKWYDLS cast entirely, ushering in a new group with more involved relationships. This majorly and unnecessarily complicated the storyline, which adversely affected the show's viewership. In addition, the adults in the series were far more involved than those in the movie. Making the TV show less teen-centric takes away some of the original's appeal.

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The I Know What You Did Last Summer series also changed the setting, which may not seem like a huge deal at first, but it actually lowered the stakes. In the feature film, the teens were based in a small fishing town — alluding to the fact that they were more "trapped" than their 2021 counterparts. Finally, the IKWYDLS killer's identity is a huge departure from the show's source material. In the movie, the killer is the victim of the car accident, whereas the show presents someone else as the murderer. All of these are viable reasons for the I Know What You Did Last Summer series' poor reception and inevitable cancelation.

Next: Biggest Changes I Know What You Did Last Summer Makes From The Movie

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