Here’s a random thought: Cable channels appear to be losing the peak TV wars, largely based on poor marketing of their product. Excellent series come and go on channels buried deep in cable TV lineups because, frankly, viewers don’t hear about them. Case in point: the recently canceled USA Network show Dare Me. The one and only season of this highly-rated coming of age high school cheerleader drama flew under the radar all last year until Netflix began airing it this week. While the streaming giant rarely, if ever, releases viewer numbers, this show immediately hit their top 10 list and might be in line for a second season now.
Based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Megan Abbott, Dare Me follows the lives of competitive high school cheerleaders in a small Midwestern town. Well written, well acted, and incredibly addicting, it straddles the line between Glee and Thirteen in its tone and pacing. IMDB describes Dare Me exploring the fraught relationship between two best friends after their charismatic new cheer coach arrives to bring their squad to prominence. Boundaries are crossed and the young women’s lives are changed forever when a shocking crime rocks their quiet suburban world.
If we’re lucky, Dare Me will follow in the footsteps of You, a 2018 psychological thriller series about a serial killer that attracted a limited audience when it originally aired on Lifetime. When the first season re-aired the following year on Netflix, it attracted over 43 million viewers and earned a second and third season. Another example is Cobra Kai, the acclaimed and extremely popular follow-up series to the Karate Kid franchise of the 1080s. The series launched on YouTube TV with the first two seasons being released in 2018 to 2019. But without the subscriber base to support it, the streaming channel decided to get out of the scripted series business. In June 2020, Netflix acquired the series and the third season was released on January 1, 2021. In October 2020, the series was renewed for a fourth season ahead of the third season premiere.
According to Looper, “Dare was averaging around 400,000 same-day viewers by the time its first season finale rolled around. Immediately, fans took to social media in the hopes of rallying a second season. Equally immediately, the show started making the rounds, looking for a network to breathe new life into its chances of continuing on.”
Given the apparent ratings season one is getting now, Netflix may just be that network. UPDATE: A petition has been launched to renew the show for season 2.
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