Jessica Toonkel, Tom Dotan and Beejoli Shah for The Information:
[Netflix] now routinely ends shows after their second season, even when they’re still popular. Netflix has learned that the first two seasons of a show are key to bringing in subscribers – but the third and later seasons don’t do much to retain or win new subscribers.
Despite any PR work to the contrary, Netflix is a subscription machine – not a storytelling company. The latter is just a means to an end, no matter how attached people get to the shows they produce.
It diminishes the artistry but it won’t stop people from producing great work. Creators will make some amazing shows if they go into them expecting a two-season arc. And there will still be people making eight-season epics. They just mightn’t be available on Netflix.
But there’s still reason to be cynical:
Ending a season after the second season saves money, because showrunners who oversee production tend to negotiate a boost in pay after two years.